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I've tried to translate the following phrase into Japanese, but I feel like it sounds very direct and loses some of the meaning, but I'm not too sure as to where in the sentence I could add to.

Original sentence:

A person who uses mirror pronouns wants to be referred to with the same pronouns as the person talking.

My translation:

ミラープロノウンを使用している人が、話している人の三人称代名詞を使います。

Which I feel translates more closely as "A person who uses mirror pronouns is one which uses the speaker's pronouns." which, though retaining the same meaning, it does feel a little off. Any ideas?

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  • @user3856370 The original page is here if you want to have a look! en.pronouns.page/mirror
    – CtrlAltGr
    Feb 10, 2022 at 19:30
  • @user3856370 When you refer to someone who prefers mirror pronouns, you use your own pronouns. So let's say if you are referred to by those who know you as he/him. Then when you talk about mirror pronoun user A, you say "He is over there!". But your friend Jane (she/her) should say "Yes she is!"
    – Eddie Kal
    Feb 10, 2022 at 19:31
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    @user3856370 What I meant to say is simply: please don't hold your tongue if you want to ask; just ask away. I appreciated your question. Sorry if it seems to have caused an adverse effect. Again, I wouldn't worry too much about asking such questions.
    – Eddie Kal
    Feb 10, 2022 at 22:31
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    I wonder what happens when two mirror pronoun users talk to each other...
    – naruto
    Feb 11, 2022 at 0:17
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    @EddieKal - Do English speakers understand this sentence with no trouble? I find it very hard to understand and harder still to translate. First of all, “a person who uses mirror pronouns” is not the one actually using those pronouns. A third person is. Besides, “the person talking” would use “you” to refer to “a person who uses mirror pronouns” unless they are talking to a third person. Either way, a third person’s involvement is necessary for any “mirror pronouns” to come into the picture, yet the sentence says nothing about it.
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 11, 2022 at 8:25

1 Answer 1

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The biggest problem of your translation attempt is が. It should never be used to introduce a definition of something (or known characteristics of something in general). That is to say, the first sentence of a Wikipedia article normally contains は or とは, but never が.

  • ミラープロノウンを使用している人、話している人の三人称代名詞を使います。
  • ミラープロノウンを使用している人とは、話している人の三人称代名詞を使う人のことです

The latter sounds better and explicit as an introduction of a new concept.

There are other minor problems, too. You have no reason to use the teiru-form here. You have ignored "want" and "same". Pronoun is usually プロウン if you need to katakanize it, but it's hardly understood by average Japanese speakers.

I suggest something like these:

  • ミラープロナウンを使う人は、話している人と同じ三人称代名詞を使って自分のことを指してほしいと思っています。
  • ミラー代名詞を使う人とは、話者と同じ三人称代名詞を使って自分のことを指してほしいと考える人のことです。
  • ミラー代名詞の使用者とは、会話の相手が自らを指すのに使ってほしいものと同一の三人称代名詞を、自分に対しても使ってほしい、と考える人のことです。(free translation, but most comprehensible)
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    By the way, Japanese speakers don't need gender-specific pronouns like 彼/彼女 at all to speak naturally. I always feel it's an irony that many people who are most concerned with these kinds of problems have to use English, which is not gender-neutral at all as far as personal pronouns are concerned.
    – naruto
    Feb 10, 2022 at 23:44
  • Thank you! Whoops, I didn't notice the misspelling of プロナウン, I have ミラープロナウン as the term, but use 三人称代名詞 to mean third-person pronouns. I understand that third-person pronouns don't often come up within regular Japanese speech, I actually talked about that in ja.pronouns.page/english but with the English locale of the site containing mirror pronouns, it felt appropriate to give a definition for concepts which may be unknown to a Japanese-speaking audience.
    – CtrlAltGr
    Feb 11, 2022 at 0:48

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