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I came across this sentence "予報外れの雨が降った" in a manga, and it's translated as: " It rained despite the forecast for today". Few things I want to ask:

First, a look up in the dict tells me that "外れ" means "edge, outskirts", but that combined with "雨" doesn't make sense to me.

Second, I don't get where the structure "despite" stems from. I initially thought it meant "I predict that...", but it turned out completely different. Is there a contraction of some sort going on here?

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  • See the definitions of 外れる. Does it help clarify it for you?
    – istrasci
    Apr 15 at 15:56
  • Thank you for the quick reply! So, if I were to put it in a literal sense, would "The rain that took place was a wrong prediction of the forecast" be a decent translation? And sorry to bother you with yet another question, but I'm just wondering why there isn't some sort of connector between "予報" and "外れ". From context, the meaning is clear but just to be clear, I don't get why they are just put side by side like that.
    – smeraldofw
    Apr 15 at 16:13
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Let's break 予報外れの雨が降った into its two basic parts.

The core sentence is just 雨が降った, "It rained." And so any translation should reflect that this is the underlying sentence.

The second part is 予報外れ. This does mean "the forecast got it wrong". However, it's actually not a sentence; it's a noun phrase. A rendering that would better reflect this would indeed be something like "despite the forecast". Since this fragment is functioning grammatically as a noun, it needs something to connect/bind it to the core sentence. This is the の that joins the two parts. (In other words, this is the connector you asked about in your comment.) This の makes 予報外れ a modifier for 雨. Thus 予報外れの雨 is "rain which was outside the forecast".

外れ thus can be variously translated here: despite, outside, contrary to. They all capture the right meaning. But when we break the sentence apart or put it back together we may discover that some renderings into English sound better to our ear than others.

Thus 予報外れ + の + 雨が降った means

It rained despite the forecast.

In your comment, you asked "So, if I were to put it in a literal sense, would "The rain that took place was a wrong prediction of the forecast" be a decent translation?" You've flipped the structure of the sentence around. So this is not a literal rendering; it's a reinterpreted rendering. The literal meaning is the one given above and in the manga.

The rain that took place was a wrong prediction of the forecast

would correspond to something more like

降った雨は予報外れだった

(which I suspect sounds just as clunky in Japanese as the English it's being translated from.)

Notice how your "literal" rendering has flipped the sentence structure around.

Fundamentally, the meaning may be the same but, if you want to make sure your understanding of the Japanese is correct, you want to be able to structure the translation as closely as possible to how it's structured in the original language.

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  • I still think the ~外れ is a noun incorporation somewhat like "government-run" or "god-forsaken". So 予想外れ "prediction-missed", 期待外れ "expectation-missed" unless we don't say such things in English... Apr 19 at 4:32
  • @brokenlaptop I agree with you, but "prediction-missed" doesn't really sound good. I think in this sort of circumstance, you'd say something like, "this rain wasn't supposed to happen" or "the forecast just got it wrong". But for the sake of the answer I wanted preserve the structure of the Japanese as best as possible in English to help the OP. And, I think "outside the forecast" or "despite the forecast" would sound natural enough in English.
    – A.Ellett
    Apr 19 at 14:02
  • Of course, but as OP cares about structural problem, the prepositional explanation might not be ideal. I just noticed I should have said "except" instead of "unless". Apr 20 at 5:00

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