I have seen the above construction only twice online, but it sounds like one of those sentences where the word order has been moved around in order to give it maybe a Shakespearean effect, or samurai effect or who knows.






I think it means, " reckless can be said that plan to challenge", but that obviously makes no sense.

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    This seems like a pretty normal relative clause to me; what do you think a standard word order would look like for these sentences? – Darius Jahandarie Feb 9 '19 at 0:40
  • What specifically is your question? It would be helpful to have one or more specific points to responded to so that the discussion doesn't get too broad to be useful to you. – sazarando Feb 9 '19 at 1:10
  • Compare いまだ成功した者 to ムボウとも言える計画 – Ringil Feb 9 '19 at 1:17
  • I understand that this construction is probably natural sounding Japanese, but putting it to english is something which I think a professional, expensive translator could only do. Reporter: No one has journeyed to Forbidden Island and returned to tell the tale. But today, two men who have devoted their lives to studying that infamous island... My attempt: As of yet, no one has journeyed to Forbidden Island and been successful. A plan that one could even call reckless challenge Verner Von Bluecher and Professor Barrell Caskett have... – SomaRise Feb 9 '19 at 1:54
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    @DariusJahandarie I think it's pretty straightforward grammatically, but if I had to guess, it might be その that's tripping up the OP. In English, we can say that red apple but not *red that apple, while in Japanese there is no such restriction. Sometimes when (English-speaking) learners see modifiers to the left of words like その they can't make sense of them at first. – snailplane Feb 9 '19 at 2:33

The whole text

I suspect this might be easier to parse if we view this as a single piece of text, rather than four statements.


This is complicated grammar, but essentially this is a long descriptive set of dependent clauses that all modify the subjects of the sentence,


Working backwards from the subject, we see that they are 挑む-ing a 計画. Everything before the 計画 is one long clause modifying (describing) the noun 計画:


A direct translation of this whole text would be clunky as all get out.

Yet succeeded person there isn't → no one has yet succeeded

Adventure to the "forbidden land"

Taking on a plan that could be called reckless

Von Müller and Professor Barrel are ...

... But as you can see, if we translate it as chopped-up bits, it loses all flow and is quite difficult to understand in the English.

Handled as a single text then:

Von Müller and Professor Barrel are [に挑む → daring to take on] what [とも言える → could be called] a reckless plan, an adventure to a forbidden land [いまだ成功した者はいない → literally, "no one has yet been successful", or idiomatically → from which no one has returned] ...

The construction XX とも言える YY

The crux of your question seems to be about this construction. This basically boils down to "YY, which could be called XX..."

A note about localizing

The translation you provided from the "reporter" takes some liberties with the text, but this is generally unavoidable with localization, where the goal is to produce a target text that reads like something written natively in the target language. For languages as far apart structurally and idiomatically as English and Japanese, localizing almost invariably means some deviance in word choice and construction.

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    Wow, you guys have blown me away! Thanks for the help! I thought at best I was just going to get some tiny answer that may or may not have been satisfactory, but this is way beyond my expectations. The professionalism and quality of your reply itself shows me that you know what you are talking about and have good knowledge of Japanese translation. I must repeat, I am humbled and grateful for your response. It makes me almost feel ashamed for asking such a cumbersome question. – SomaRise Feb 9 '19 at 12:13

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