Translations-When You Don’t Speak Japanese
OK, I don’t know about you, but recently I’ve been stuck in translation hell. My Japanese is limited, though I am saving up my spare change to try Rosetta Stone for Japanese. That being said, I’ve had a serious need for translation, since I am writing a novel with Japanese elements and characters (ahem). Yes, yes, I know I might have tried to stretch it a bit, but seriously, I love all things Japanese, even if I did let my basic Japanese get so rusty it creaks.
So, on to my subject. What DO you do when you need to translate correctly, and you’re trying to avoid offensive or ridiculous translation errors? Use Google Translate? Well, it’s a start. Let’s face it, the site is not always accurate. And there is never a truly literal translation function between a language whose syntax is radically different from English. And whose characters can often mean multiple things. So…..um, yeah. There it was. I was stuck with translations that changed from one month to the next.
Then I found other sites. Not necessarily better than Google Translate, just…different. And then I found one that translates the English into kanji/katakana/hiragana, and approximates the changed syntax. Using two (or even three) translation sites at once gave me the means to cross-verify what I was trying to say.
And hopefully to minimize really embarrassing or offensive translations.
Of course, none of this compares to a living breathing human, a native speaker, but since I have the great misfortune of knowing no such person myself, I have to rely on the friends of relatives. Awkward face palm here.
But I muddled through, and I feel relatively confident in my translations. So long as no one assumes I’m a native speaker.
Now for Rosetta Stone. When I have the money….