Dec 5, 2009

メモ書き、Nihongo Muzukashii Desune...

I've help out some proofreading of a translation of DramaCD and also asked to write a footnote for some Japanese phrases used in the story. I'm so poor at explaining things, though...got to do somehow...

-お疲れさまです。otsukare sama desu.

"Tsukare" for "otsukare sama" comes from "tsukareru" meaning to get tired.
It is used to express thanks to someone who have finished their works of the day. You have worked hard, so you must be tired.
However, this phrase is quite often used in daily life. For example, if you go to a department store, clerks often say "otsukare sama deshita" to customers, because customers are thought to be important for the stores, even customers don't do anything to get tired, just having tried on some clothes in a fitting room.
Another example is the hair salon. A hair stylist would say "otsukare sama" to a customer after cutting hair. A staff may be thankful for the customer sitting quietly during the hair cut, but it's rather used just to be polite.

-よろしくお願いします。Yoroshiku onegai shimasu.

"Yoroshiku" means "I'm pleased to meet you," "best regards," "please take good care of me" "I'll appreciate your help," "please do what you can for me," "I leave it in your hands," etc., depending on the circumstances. "Yoroshiku onegai shimasu" is more polite way of saying "Yoroshiku." It's said that "Yoroshiku" is one of the keywords, key concepts, that someone dealing with Japan should learn as early as possible.

-おじゃまします。Ojamashimasu.
Please excuse the intrusion.
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-上がってくれ。agattekure.
I think "come in" is good enough.

The reason why "agattekure, come up" is used to let people come in is because Japanese houses are used to be highly-floored till insecticide for termite control is developed. It's very humid during the rainy season in Japan, so Japanese houses made from wood become an easy target for termite. Highly-floored houses can be ventilated well and prohibit the houses from getting damages caused by termite.
To enter such a highly-floored house, we needed to literally go up the first step and enter the room. But, nowadays, we have very strong insecticide, so our houses are not highly-floored anymore, so I think com in is okay.

-futarijime, hitorijime

I can't tell how strong the word "monopolize" sound, so I like the idea "bi-polize" and "mono-polize." But also I think it's okay to go with "futarijime" "hitorijime" and you add some footnote such as;
hitorijime = hitori + jime = one person + occupy (the scenery)
futarijime = futari + jime = two persons + occupy (the scenery)
"futarijime" doesn't exist in Japanese.
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As for the English title, I'm can't come up with any good idea, but I found an interesting essay by an Japanese translator about "Kotodama" "言霊” which means similar? equivalent to "Kotonoha."

"Every old society has a traditional way of influencing people by words and thereby influencing themselves. In Japan we have a system called "Kotodama," word spirit. The Western equivalent would be the genius of language-English has its own cultural genius that you have inherited from Indo-European languages. The English language is a hodgepodge of different cultures. Thus it is very hard for them to come up with the spirit of on language. No one can say that such and such is the spirit of the English language. But in Japan since it is such a homogeneous society, we value very highly the spirit of language, which means what you speak is what you get. So if you use dirty words you can expect to get a dirty result..."

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