"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I've been edited

    I've been edited. My smugly memorized passage now reads, 


       Last night Michiko, my long-suffering contact person with the Monument Committee responded to the Japanese translation of my upcoming speech, "We think there is nothing wrong in [H's] translation, but we, the Committee,  took  the liberty of revising it and added some words to make it easier for the audience to understand or to suit the Japanese custom." 

     She attached an edited version of the speech which consisted of passages like this: 

     She added tactfully, "Just one point I am not sure. Near the end of your remark, you wrote: She is a symbol of hope because anyone of us who humbles himself to listen to the "still, small voice" of our Heavenly Father can make a mighty difference.  H's translation was  “に耳を傾ける者は、とても大きな違いを生み出せる希望があるからです。=because there is hope that anyone can…And  one of our committee members insisted that it should be changed into 違いを生み出せる仕事を成し遂げることができると信じておりました”  But this means that Barbara believed that anyone could make a mighty difference…This is not what you said.  Literally, you said “に耳を傾ける者は、とても大きな仕事を成し遂げることができるという希望の象徴なのです。希望(きぼう)=hope 象徴(しょうちょう)=symbol  I think word by word translation is better, but I don’t know.  It’s up to you, you can take whichever you like."

     I woke at five this morning (before a call from a free-lance writer in Japan would have wakened us anyway thirty minutes later) in mid-panic over my need to compare and choose between three translations of my sentence above (among other things). It's all straightened out now. I found a local Japanese woman who graciously let me read my romaji version (which took 13 minutes) as she followed along in the kanji/kana version. She caught and had me correct many minor errors. Then she read it aloud to me so I could hear the flow and emphasis. That was so helpful! She said it was very formal in style and impressive in content (both thanks to the Monument Committee). I owe her a box of See's chocolates!
     I'm still feeling confident about the speech--but a lot less cocky.

1 comment:

  1. I'm finding out that translating even something as simple as my SIMPLE SIMPLE policy for my TINY English school is ...difficult. If you do not say what you want to say-with the right words....things can get very misconstrued. Very. I had no idea it was so difficult to get the point across-even for something seemingly "simple". I can imagine yours is ....hard to say the least! The one I am working on is really really really simple and the other day I felt so frustrated I almost cried.