When translating how does one deal with contrasts best satisfied with English expressions that not the naturally translations from Japanese. In the following example:


The current stock market is assigning an unjustifiably low value on the dedication of workers and the (correct) strategies adopted by the management of Japanese companies and therefore we consider stock prices to be anomalously low.

I wanted to structure the sentence with "Given that A, B is..." because it allowed me to connect the full phrases before 「に対して」to the after it. However this is not true equivalent of 「に対して」. Instead I have cheated by putting "correct" in parentheses but I am not sure what best practice would be.

  • 5
    Unfortunately, there is no "correct" answer to your question. There are two schools of thought in translation, 意訳 vs.直訳, and this depends on the context and many other things. I personally, have come to the conclusion that Japanese and English are too different and the best you can do is get the "gist" of it.
    – Jesse Good
    Aug 23 '12 at 6:46

The best practice is to give the listener the best understanding of the concept and not worrying about the actual word for word translations. Understand both languages well enough to know the different nuances in each and when you go to translate, present that thought as if it was your own in the words you would have said it.

I was watching a movie where a guy was shooting at another guy and missed all his shots. He hands the gun to his assistant and says "dame da kono teppou!" and the English translation was "It's useless!" Yes, that was technically correct, "dame" means useless, and used with the motion of handing the gun to his assistant it might have been understood that "it" was referring to the gun, but the way it came across was "it is useless to peruse this man any further." Knowing the character and how a similar character in an American movie would have talked, I would have translated it is "This gun sucks!" I know the Japanese word for "Sucks" was not said, but that was how it should have been translated.

  • 1
    I think this is good advice in general except when you get into legal documents, patents, technical documents, etc. or in other situations where details matter.
    – Jesse Good
    Aug 23 '12 at 6:48
  • 2
    I was answering as if he wanted the "best" way to translate and not necessarily the "correct" translation. In legal documents and other such translations, your best bet is to consult a lawyer and not a bunch of computer nerds... ;-)
    – BillyNair
    Aug 23 '12 at 7:06

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