A view of the world through Japanese ears

I think I’d like to write a short story using the linguistic world view of the Japanese language. The sheer contrast in the way things are phrased and the polite/casual, and humble/honorific spectrums are somewhat alien in English. So the challenge then is, how do I represent these things paying due to the Japanese without using Japanese? Well, that is the challenge, and I’m usually up for a good challenge. Let’s see if I can give you a taste of the sort of flavor this short story might have.

「山下さんの荷物を運ばせてください。」

“If you would lower it to my level, let me carry Mr. Undermountain’s baggage.”

「どうも、助かります。馬場さんは元気でしょうか?」

“How much so, I’m helped. Would Mr. Horsegrounds be lively?”

「おかげさまで。これからもよろしくお願い致します」

“Only under your shadow I am. I put forward my good will from now on and hope you will extend the same to me.

Basically what I did was translate the meaning of the words as directly as possible while being a bit loose in terms of grammar and phrasing. The use of names in this case is meant to represent how the Japanese usually refer to their people they’re talking to by their last name rather than a second person pronoun. I didn’t stick to that throughout though since subjects aren’t required in Japanese. So in the cases where I needed to fill in a subject for grammaticality in English I did use a pronoun. I’m happy to hear your comments, feelings, and corrections, though keep in mind I’m taking liberties with both languages here.

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2 Comments

Filed under books, film, Japan, language, media

2 responses to “A view of the world through Japanese ears

  1. Jasper

    Interesting mate 🙂 Thanks! Liked the translation of the names too hehe!

    How goes the life in Linux?

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