An interactive and taboo-free journalism based in Japan

Welcome to TokyoFreePress Sunday, March 26 2017 @ 06:39 AM JST

Getting killed as a translator, too

Four years ago a political "analyst" who actually can't analyze a thing thwarted my plan to establish myself in the United States as a professional writer. When I needed some pull, I got a lot of push from him.

That wasn't a big deal, however, except for this destitution that followed the loss of my last chance. I knew that the scum, or anyone else for that matter, couldn't change who I really am. Admittedly, though, I've since had great difficulty explaining what exactly I am to people in the local community.

Am I a nobody who ended up a loser in a fair competition overseas to elevate himself from a mere translator to an independent writer? Nope, nothing is farther from what happened to me.

I have never been a professional translator in my lifetime. Yet, throughout my career I've been deeply involved in translation in one way or the other; not only between two languages but also between two cultures or even two different groups of people in the same culture. In that sense, I think I am better defined as a full-time communicator than a part-time translator.

As I always say, thoughts and words are inseparable twins. This should also mean that contrary to the general perception, man's thoughts are really language-independent.

For that reason, when a translator wants to work on a book, or any other type of literature authored by a first-rate writer, he should keep in mind that his qualification all hinges on the full comprehension of and resonance with the whole idea laid out in the subject material because just converting it from one language into another is not what translation is all about. If an unqualified person dares to do it, he is doomed to destroy everything he puts his hand on.

In fact, I have known very few translators who didn't spoil a great idea they dealt with. Ian Hideo Levy, who has translated dozens of soul-stirring poems from Manyoshu (Ten Thousand Leaves), is one of the very few exceptions that I know of. That's why mindless destruction of invaluable thoughts happens so frequently.

On the contrary, when a first-rate translator somehow feels an urge to work on an intellectual crap just to make his living, it's the translator himself that is subjected to destruction. But this doesn't happen very often because unlike second-rate translators such as Edward Seidensticker, he has an eye to distinguish the real thing from fake, such as Yasunari Kawabata.

Here's a translation trivia: Kawabata was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1968. At that time the Japanese legend of literature gave Seidensticker 50% of the prize money because he thought he had owed the translator that much. I sometimes think the self-deprecating Japanese writer might as well have retained a computer as a translator because that way he would have pocketed every single buck he earned from his literary rubbish.

I don't know if I am a good translator myself, but up until recently I often had to moonlight, and sometimes daylight, on translation of a wide range of materials from computer-related documentation to anthropological essay. Most of the time I was mercenarily motivated, but my customers often appreciated the mentally unrewarding and physically exhausting efforts I made for what I called "value-adding translation."

But for my part, it was always a nightmare.

Back in 1999, then president of the rotten Japanese subsidiary of SAP AG, German software giant, offered me a post-retirement job in the translation department of his company. Until I decided I couldn't take it anymore and moved on to oversee the "University Alliance Program" of the same company, I was working on the E-to-J translation of the GUI (graphical user interface) of SAP's flagship software product and its system/user documentations.

An added difficulty came from "Trados" - a translation management software developed by Trados GmbH. I was always told to ensure consistency between my translation of terminologies and those accumulated in the database from the previous versions. My problem was that most of my fellow translators had an extremely poor understanding of the source language (unorthodox German-English) and the target language (see NOTE below.) And more importantly, their knowledge in the system and its application areas, such as order processing, inventory control, accounting, and finance was also way below standard. As a result, the vast reservoir of terminologies in the Trados database was full of shit.

NOTE: Our target language was supposed to be Japanese. But actually it had to be something else. Apart from the fact that a good part of Japanese words were originally borrowed from Chinese, they are now mixing tens of thousands of Katakana Eigo, i.e. Japanese transliterations of English words into the "Japanese" language. As a result, Toransureetaa at SAP Japan were told to strictly adhere to the standard ways of mixing these different elements depending on the context. Also they were supposed to respect another set of standards for transliterating Ingurisshu words. Examples: Kasutama for customer(s), Benda for vendor(s), Paachesu Ooda for purchase order(s), Inbentori(i) for inventory, etc.

Basically it is true that translators, especially those working on technical literature, should stick with the consistency rule. But there are times when they have to say the right inconsistency is much better than the wrong consistency, as I did to my boss at SAP. But at the end of the day, I was always coerced into conforming to her sacred dung pool in order to preserve Wa, or false harmony.

I hear through the grapevine that even today SAP Japan refuses to listen to the voice of reason from real professionals. This way the company keeps wasting what little resources it has. No wonder it still remains the black sheep within the group of innovative software companies.

Now in dire poverty six years after retirement, I still think I would rather work part-time on the cleaning of the public lavatories in the Yokohama Chinatown where I live than do translation at a slightly higher hourly rate. Thanks to my experience with SAP, I'm so used to handling someone else's crap. But unfortunately, the job opportunity seems to be closed to the ailing 76-year-old.

Last week a local friend offered me an "E2J" gig. He runs a matchbox company that provides translation services along with guitar lessons for wannabe musicians. When he got an order from NEC, he thought it might help alleviate my financial difficulty if he subcontracted a smaller part of the job to me, which he actually did. I wasn't sure if I could meet the October 15 deadline for the 75 slides of the presentation material assigned to me.

But when my friend learned I'm physically too weak and my vision is too impaired to do the tedious job all by myself, he kindly sent me a rough translation he had already made using "ATLAS", a translation software developed by Fujitsu. I know from my past experience that normally I would be much better off without the assistance from the computer than with it. But I thought the ATLAS thing might help because in the narrower context of a specific technology, computerized translation could work a little better than Trados did for my former employer.

POSTSCRIPT October 2: As I said paragraphs earlier, the local fallout of my failure overseas is the huge perception gap about translation between my partners and myself as their contractee or contractor. As I told my audience one year or so ago, I had to farm out to my local friend I just mentioned above a voluminous transcript from a symposium organized by up-and-coming anthropologist Lara, Chen Tien-shi. The quality of the transcript was extremely poor except for Lara's speech. But since my subcontractor at that time doubly messed up the Word document with his lack of professionalism, I had to struggle at the last minute totally redoing his substandard J-to-E translation as if from scratch. Yet I paid him fully. Now I'm supposed to act as his subcontractor. Can I expect him to act like a professional this time around? No way. He had his ATLAS roughly translate the material for me. That's no harm; so far, so good. But yesterday, several days later, he said, "By the way my client (NEC) asks us to strictly adhere to its glossary for about 160 'special' words and phrases. NEC calls the attached Excel sheet the Kamisama (God) file." I replied: "No, I don't want to kiss Kamisama's ass because none of these words are associated with NEC's proprietary technology. You better reassign the job to a younger translator because a young one has much more stamina and a far better eyesight with which to do ass-kissing more efficiently than I. Besides he doesn't care too much about job satisfaction and self-esteem." He doesn't seem to have understood my point. Just one hour ago, he sent me a mail to say, "Yu, yes, please kiss Kamisama's ass as they require us to." It really sickens me to know one of my local friends is another male prostitute, and treats me like yet another.

Despite all the favor my friend did for me, this brought me back to the nightmare I have experienced in the past with computer-assisted translation.

Also I remembered that last October I took up the same topic on this website. At that time, some of my regulars kindly cooperated with me doing reverse-translation of some articles written in English and then translated into Japanese. We had no time to do the opposite (i.e. J-to-E, and then E-to-J) but we found out language translation is almost always doomed to failure, whether or not it's computer-assisted. We also learned it makes little difference whether it's from a high-context language to a low-context one, or the other way around. In short, language conversion works only when both the author and the translator are human beings with an exceptional ability for creative thinking. Those who lightly claim that they are contributing to further transcultural understanding should feel ashamed.

A couple of days ago, I gave another try to the language translation services provided by Google Japan because I wanted to know, for one last time, if the learning curve of the Internet service provider has picked up a little in the last 11 months. But it came as no surprise that the Japanese translation of my most recent post didn't show the slightest sign of improvement. As you can see in the Japanese text pasted at the bottom of this post, it's still much worse than if you give a chimp an E-J dictionary and tell him to translate my essay.

It's unfair to put all the blame on the primate because the disastrous situation with translation, and communication at large, exactly mirrors the inside of the skulls of all the human beings involved in this business. They include software engineers who developed the system filled with logical flaws, executives at Google Japan who gave a green light to the defective translation service, and equally important, customers who still think they are being served, rather than ripped off, by Google.

Nobody seems to have noticed that exactly the same thing is happening to YouTube, Google Analytics and all other services provided by the company. More or less the same thing can be said of the likes of Yahoo! and Microsoft. With a lot of spaghetti stuffed in their brains they have stopped thinking, learning, and communicating altogether. Now all they can do is to deal with the billions of birdies who keep tweeting all the time.

I don't know if the organization named Asia-Pacific Association for Machine Translation is still active today. But according to the chronology given by AAMT, Japan's first prototype machine for automatic translation was unveiled in 1959 when the supercomputer and database management systems were still in the fledgling stage.

Let's face it: the 53 years of the futile efforts are more than enough. It's about time we stopped talking about the progress of humankind through cross-cultural communications, with or without the help of the computer. Simply it's an illusion.

I leave it there because now I'm going to have to go through another ordeal with the PowerPoint file, while at the same time fending off the sadistic attacks by tax collectors from the City Hall. In the meantime I hope you will enjoy the big treat given below by the Google chimpanzee if you are a bilingual, or equipped with a software product for J-to-E conversion.


精神病院の院長は、受刑者に向かって、彼の父親のような思いやりのために知られている。 ある日、彼は庭の周り散歩したときに、彼はプールに釣り糸をキャスト入院患者を発見しました。 ディレクターは、患者によって停止。 故意に笑顔、彼は"あなたがここに魚の種類は何に捉えてきているのか"と言った。 狂人はこう答えた: "は、docばかなことしないでくださいあなたがプールで魚をキャッチすることはできません。"

Mの 箱舟は私の言葉。 それはまだ呼ばれるに値する場合、日本の文化は、それは、すべて偽物です。先端からつま先まで腐ってる。

について語るときに僕が指摘したように日本のミュージシャン 、 彼らは一緒に自分自身を持って来るために音楽をやって 他の文明国にある間、 人々は、少なくとも大人で、音楽をするために一緒に来る 。 これはただその事実から放射性降下物である1の問題であり、半世紀の間、日本人は、ヨハン•セバスチャン•バッハからレディー•ガガへの西すべてからとても熱心にインポートしました。

あなたはどこでも同じ反転を確認することができます。 スポーツも例外ではない。 あなたはすでにお気づきかもしれませんが、世界には他の人々は非常に多くの種類のゲームもしません。 あなたがプレーすることを選択したゲームの種類は本当にここには関係ありませんので、それはです。 実際に、それはあなたがゲームを選択することはありませんが、ゲームはあなたを選択します。 結果として、それはあなたがゲームに勝つかどうかにかかわらず、いずれかの問題ではありません。


先日私の住んでいる同じ村の居住者であるアメリカ人の友達は、私へのリンクを送っ記事 NYTの記者デビッド•スタインは、彼がに移行する前に、黒田が通過しなければならなかった試練についての興味深い物語するが米国

ワルトシュタインは誇張することなく、描いて、どのくらいの頻度で黒田、今ではニューヨークヤンキー、野球のバットでフラフラ夕暮れまで朝からファウルポールの間実行するように強制し、彼だけが脱水症状になったときに汚染された川の水を飲むことを許された。 この国では懲罰的なコンディショニングは若い選手に自己犠牲と禁欲主義の精神を浸透させる最も効果的な方法の一つであると考えられている。

それにもかかわらず、作家は、彼が記述することを意図したと思われる非常に質問に対して答弁をせず、 "それがために、または彼がついにメジャーに満開になってきたことを彼の野球人生の早い時期に経験した虐待いじめ、にもかかわらずです? " 違った同じ質問を入れて、 "なぜ彼は彼が後輩をいじめるために彼のターンを取ることになっていたとき、日本のPuroの野球に滞在することを選択しなかったの?"

なぜなら、彼はただのシングルのうち日本語のトレーニング法の最も明白な側面が微妙にそれにかかわる多くの重要な機能の上を通過しながらワルトシュタインは失敗します。 この国では、望ましいプロファイルに成形人々の抑圧的な方法はスポーツに限定されていません。 それはそのような政治、ビジネス、ジャーナリズム、科学、学術や芸術などの生活の他のすべての散歩でも当たり前だ。 これは、スポーツライターの理解を超えて目の前の問題や、歴史的、文化的な文脈でそれを把握することはできません他の誰かになります。

多くのアメリカ人は野球と日本の同等の野球の違いについて話をしている。 彼らはボビー•バレンタイン、現在ボストン•レッドソックス、マーティKuehnert、東北楽天ゴールデンイーグルスの元GMのマネージャー、仙台大学教授、ロバート•ホワイティング、Waと菊とバットをしなければならないと思うあなたの著者が含まれています。 明らかに、これらの人々日食ワルトシュタイン彼らは日本ではスポーツや文化へのより深い洞察を持っている、と彼らははるかに広い視点から同じ問題に取り組んだ。

彼らは、あまりにも、問題の最も複雑な側面を見落とす傾向にあったので、まだ彼らは時々 、完全に答えた質問を取得するには及ばなかった。 具体的には、彼らはしばしば非常に多くの平凡な男が物理的および精神的な虐待を受けることなく、スターダムに先輩を超えて巡航した理由についての質問を残しました。

1967年、中根千枝、東京大学で人類学の教授は、 縦社会のテート•shakaiという本がない人間Kankei、または個人的な関係を公表した 。 彼女の人類学的なごみは、それが今では日本学の古典となっていることを西洋ではとてもよく売れた。

それは表面上、日本の"一元的な封建制度"が垂直に整列するように見えたことは事実である。 それが本当にあったならばしかし、実際に屈した場合、将軍の隔絶された体制、 砲艦外交 、そう簡単には、ペリーの到着前に、よく内部から崩壊している必要があります。



昭和天皇は 、 東京の路上で彼の主題で逆さ吊りされている必要があります


問題の事実は、日本が水平に統合されている国であることに変わりはない。 それは神の天皇とその対象との間の垂直かどうか"個人的な関係を、"見てとんでもないことだ。 仲間からの圧力は、この国で数えることのすべてです。 一日の終わりには愚かな教授がちょうど歩行者ビューにサブスクライブ。

私を信じて、日本は階級社会である。 そして、それはまた、指揮者であることを意味します。 指導者であると主張する人がいるなら、彼らは最高の状態で、シャーマンより少しであるか、モデレーター、その唯一の役割コンセンサスを構築することで時間のほとんど。 いずれにせよ名目リーダーは彼の組織が 行うことになっている活動で優れた知識やスキルに裏打ちされた指導者と彼の組織をリードする必要はない。 彼の究極の目標は、彼の人々の間で和を保つために常にである。

辞書には、Waは単に調和を意味言う。 ロバート•ホワイティングが観察されたようにしかし、ハーモニーは1つの事であるとWaは全く別です。 長い日本人を苦しめた病的な平等主義の強迫観念は、17条憲法で、その起源は7世紀に聖徳太子の王子によって公布されました。

Waのこのマントラを考えると、満たすために日本の指導者のための唯一の前提条件は、出る杭は巧妙しかし容赦なく打たれることを確認する機能です。 (下記の注を参照してください。)そのために、彼はプロ意識が偽の調和の上に構築コミュニティにとって最も危険な脅威を与えているので、個々のメンバーの一部に急成長しているプロ意識のわずかな兆候を識別することができるはずです。

注: ペルソナノングラータを ostracizing場合に最も一般的に使用される方法があったし、今でも文字通りように翻訳いくつかの農村、 村Hachibuと呼ばれる手順に残る"村から80パーセントをパージする。" 残りの20%は、消防活動への参加や被写体本人又はその親族が死んでいる死体の埋葬を表しています。 古代アテナイ人が行ったように100%に限り行く理由から日本のリフレインは2つあります。 彼らがそこまで行けばまず、Waの非常に原則が脅かされる可能性があります。 第二に、すべての日本の個人は、村八分や、死後に神になると信じられていません。

あなたは、一つの方向に個々のベクトルをもたらす上に不和を大切に世界のどこかで人々のグループを想像することはできません。 しかし、他の国ではハーモニーは唯一芽内の個々の創造性と自発性を挟持することによって維持される。


彼のエッセイのプロテスタンティズムの倫理と資本主義の精神では、マックス•ヴェーバーは依然として必要とする"世俗通話"として現代の職業を定義する"禁欲的な献身を。" 野球選手に公言仏勤王家と実業家に引退した実業家は、すべての専門家、政治家から、ウェーバーの言葉として、私の解釈では、精神病院の入院患者のように行動しなければならない。 彼は彼が何をしているかを真剣に考えてのろわれ、それを非常に誇りにすべきである。 しかし同時に、彼は冷静さと謙虚さを失ってはならない。 彼はいつもそれがよくプールで大漁を期待するような錯覚することができますことを心に留めておくべきである。 私がいつも言うように、最も重要なことは、自分の人生の等身大の景色を維持することです。 あなたが最後に小さな行動しようとしている場合あなたは今まで、大きな話をしないでください。

幸いなことに、ゲームに、妥協のない冷静かつ十分に焦点を当てた献身と日本人スポーツ選手の一握りがあった。 黒田前に、我々は持っていた野茂英雄を 。 控えめに言っても、野茂は、日本がこれまで持っている、非常に例外的な才能の持ち主だった。 彼は1995年に母国を逃れていなかった場合でも、実際に、彼はfullfledgedプロとして開花することはなかっただろう。 彼は同じ年に年賞のナショナルリーグの新人王を獲得した後にのみ、日本人は本当の才能を手放すだろうことに気づいた。

彼はいつもマエストロのことを思い出す小澤征爾 1961年、NHK交響楽団で日本から追い出されました。 純正のようにヘルベルト•フォン•カラヤン、レナード•バーンスタイン認定才能の同類後、NHKはお詫びを提供し、彼を再インポート。 彼は、以来、クラシック音楽の自家製皇帝として祭られています。 ちなみに、歌舞伎を知っている必要がありますまたはおそらく西に向かって、日本の伝統的な"文化"を表し、他のものはすべて逆輸入のこのギミックによって作成されます。

それどころか偽アスリートの人口が依然として増え続けています。 彼らはすべての野茂英雄の成功物語から間違った教訓を得ました右にならえの大リーガーの数十があります。 イチローは、1つのため、すでに彼はまだおそらく野球栄誉の殿堂入りをされる前には長い道のりを持っているにもかかわらず、日本の野球界で議論の余地のない神に昇格されています。 あなたはまだ日本に儒教の影響について誇張した概念を信じている場合は、38歳の世界的に有名な年功序列の原則を覆す神格化することができるか疑問に思うでしょう。 しかし、実際にそれがこの国を支配老衰の原則だ。

2001年、シアトルで任天堂が所有ballclubは逆輸入の全体のプロセスを開始した。 大リーグでシーズンの彼の最初のカップルで、鈴木は多くの拠点だけでなく、毎年70代のホームランを打つこれらのステロイドポンピングアップPopeyesにうんざりしていたアメリカの野球ファンの心だけでなく、盗んだ。

初期の成功の余勢を駆って、日本のメディアは、私が痩せ男の日の丸有利子ヒーローを作るために、スズキへの文化的なステロイド呼ん投与続けた。 しかし、実際には、理由のではなく、真の来る彼のアメリカDoriimuにもかかわらず、マリナーズは年後にALの順位の年に沈没を続けた。

彼はこのシーズン途中でニューヨーク•ヤンキースに移した時点では、スズキは他の8人の男が彼のためにゲームをしていたことが愚かな考えではなく、他の方法の周りを開発していました。 ジョー•ジラルディ監督、ヤンキースのマネージャは、今つらい時は、彼がすべてのこの誇張することなく、彼はただの平均的な野球選手であることを認識しようとして抱えているのはこのためです。

私が言ったように、抗プロフェッショナリズムの流行はスポーツに限ったことではない。 あなたは同じことがどこでも起こって見ることができます。 しかし、他のもののうち、Waido翔の増殖は、日本の翻として"ワイドショー、"彼らは最後の13世紀に、本 質的に変わっていないという紛れもない兆候です。

毎朝、その日の残りのためにも、すべての全国的なネットワークは、同じ形式の別のまさに後一ワイドショーを放送しています。 スタジオは、常に専門家は、実際のガキアールTerebiタレントの数十(タレント)、政治的/経済ニュースからすべてのものを混合でのみ巧みで頭が空っぽの司会者であると主張する低能で過密されます(下記の注記を参照して下さい) 、Entame(エンターテイメント)、スポーツに、血液型とスターのサインに基づいて今日の運勢に、常に必要不可欠な機能として洗濯のヒントやドレッシング推奨されている、2つ以上のかわい子のシロップのような声で与えられた予測を乗り切るために。 そこには、日本の文化が長い間死んでいたことを確認できます。

Story Options


Trackback URL for this entry:

No trackback comments for this entry.
Getting killed as a translator, too | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Getting killed with tanslation
Authored by: Diogenes on Wednesday, September 26 2012 @ 08:44 PM JST
I went through a period of attempting to read Russian poets through English translations. One poet that seemed interesting was Anna Akhmotova. The biography and explanation of her life and when the particular poems were written seemed to grease the skids for me. Big mistake. It was a lure leading to a dead end. The translations were awful, and while I forced myself to read the whole book, hoping that something might be good, in the end, it was futile.

Eduardo Galeano, the Uruguayan writer and political cartoonist, wrote a huge trilogy on the history of the Americas from the Latin American perspective. He was lucky to have found a fine translator, Cedric Belfrage, for all his works that were converted into English, but as such things go, time eventually caught up with his translator, and he died.

My ex-wife was from Argentina. We used to like to watch Spanish language movies, with subtitles in English for me. There wasn't one movie that was translated properly. Right in the middle of the movie, sometimes, she'd shout, "That's not what he/she said! God, what a rotten translation."

Technical manuals for electronics equipment are something that I've had years of experience with. In thirty years of working with technical manuals, there was only one company, a television microwave transmitter company, that wrote a decent manual. I was so impressed that I called the owner and told him that he should treat that technical writer well. He had a gold mine in his office.

My guess, not being bilingual, is that expressions in one language do not match the other because the concepts originated from different influences that are culturally based. I had a girlfriend one time that lived in Tokyo for three years. She said that in Japanese, more words are spoken than in English to express the same concept, but in Japanese, it is more rich and full. She said that, compared to the Japanese language, we speak like someone that is retarded. Too bad that I'll never know what she meant.

Also, there is research that is implying that written languages that use symbolic images like ancient Egyptian and Asian scripts are closer to the oral traditions from which they sprang. In fact, some ancient societies banned the use of written language in an effort to protect subjects like the law, so everyone had to memorize it. This way there were supposedly few disputes. Once something is written down, it may be forgotten by the masses, and thus, the keepers of the laws could alter them. This can't happen if there is no writing, where everyone must memorize the actual laws.
Getting killed with tanslation
Authored by: Y.Yamamoto on Wednesday, September 26 2012 @ 11:41 PM JST

Very interesting.

I don't really agree with your former GF in Tokyo. In a high-context culture like Japan's, the shorter your message is, the more effectively you communicate with others. Even Haiku is not short enough. That means a total silence is the ideal way to convey your message.

On the other hand I agree with your ex-W. Japanese singers sing American songs in what they think is English. And "professional" translators never fail to give Japanese subtitles at the bottom of the screen. The other day someone was singing Richard Rodgers' My Funny Valentine. When the song was reaching its climax ("don't change a hair for me"), the subtitle read "Anata-no kamigata-wo kaenaide" which would be reverse-translated as "Don't change your hairdo."

I'm not a nitpicker. But it always amazes me that not a single TV viewer complains.

Getting killed with tanslation
Authored by: samwidge on Thursday, September 27 2012 @ 11:50 AM JST

You bring up interesting ideas on translation. My limited experiences are in French, Spanish and German... and those are definitely weak experiences. They cross only small chasms of understanding and I know little of each language.

For you to cross the vast chasm of an Oriental language to European languages represents phenomenal skill. You have my respect!

I find it pleasant to read the short (and low-budget) translations at They translate only the words and not the ideas. Even just a few sentences reveal vast differences behind the thinking. The disparity in logic tells something about how two people speaking the same words even in the same language may misunderstand each other.

In your book, "Unviable Japan," you spoke of a "salad" of ideas. We native speakers of English could figure out what you meant but we lost time trying to make the expression fit our own preconceptions.

Coming out of that gentler verbiage of Japanese, your people pose legitimate pictures that quick English cannot grasp. It is that gentler verbiage that gives you music groups like, "Pink Lady" and cars named for flowers.

Each was a marketing ploy that failed when it reached the states. The originators had no idea of causes behind those failures. They could not quickly explain or correct.

Not only are words different but the phrases behind the words are different. Worse yet, the concepts behind the phrases are those that have evolved over long centuries of living in isolated hamlets. Like the heads on Easter Island, we can precisely describe what we've got but we cannot say what it means.
Getting killed with tanslation
Authored by: Y.Yamamoto on Thursday, September 27 2012 @ 07:28 PM JST

Thanks, samwidge.

I opine that these chasms you talk about are more or less imaginary things.

For one thing, if there is such a thing to be called a language barrier, anybody needn't overcome it because 1) it's useless and 2) it's impossible.

It's useless to overcome the barrier because that wouldn't solve any problem facing us. It's also impossible as was proved by a bunch of computer scientists, knowledge scientists and linguists in the last half century.

Maybe it's a different story when it comes to international business. But I think communication gap and perception gap have been narrowed very quickly, or even closed thanks to the big wave of "globalization." Americanization of the Japanese keep accelerating and the same is true of Japanization of the Americans.

In business, we still see chasms, here and there, now and then, but they don't cause any serious problem. One such example is the popular "sports drink" being marketed by Japan's Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. since the '80s. The beverage funnily brand-named Pocari Sweat (to be pronounced Pokari Suetto) is now popular in some Asian countries and part of the Middle East. But it has failed to penetrate the American and European markets. Some Americans living here attribute the failure to the brand name. They say the Westerners will never accept any consumer product that reminds them of secretion or excretion. But so what?