Translating and writing2

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Translating and writing2

  1. 1.    Translating and WritingTranslating and Writing in Japan:in Japan: A Foreign Reporter’sA Foreign Reporter’s ExperienceExperience By Eric Johnston Kansai Gaidai University April 16th, 2008
  2. 2. Getting Started:Getting Started: Tools of the TradeTools of the Trade  Nelson Japanese-English Character DictionaryNelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary (Classic Edition)(Classic Edition)  The New Nelson Japanese-English CharacterThe New Nelson Japanese-English Character DictionaryDictionary  Kenkyusha Japanese-English DictionaryKenkyusha Japanese-English Dictionary  A 15 year old, many-times-photocopied selectionA 15 year old, many-times-photocopied selection from the ‘from the ‘ ’和漢ローマ字代’和漢ローマ字代  The InternetThe Internet  --No, I don’t have an electronic dictionary--No, I don’t have an electronic dictionary
  3. 3. My JobMy Job To report, when possible, on major news events in the Kansai region and west Japan (to Okinawa). To do on-location reporting and write feature stories on a range of social and political issues affecting Japan. To work with Tokyo reporters on the Political, Social, and Business desks on stories of interest.
  4. 4. The Japan Times: Basic FactsThe Japan Times: Basic Facts  Celebrating our 110th anniversary this year.  Owned by NIFCO Co., a Japanese manufacturer of auto parts.  President: Ms. Yukiko Ogasawara, a 44 year old Japanese-American woman.  Circulation: 50,000 copies daily.  No. of people in Editorial Dept: About 30 full-time, plus a number of part-timers.  Member of Nihon Shimbun Kyokai: Have reporters stationed at press clubs with: the Prime Minister’s office and the Diet, as well as the Foreign, Finance, Justice, Trade, Health, Welfare and Labor, and Defense Ministries, as well as the Tokyo District and High Courts, the Tokyo Government, among others.  OSAKA OFFICE: Staff Reporter: Yours Truly. I cover Osaka city hall, Osaka Prefecture, Osaka District and High Court, as well as the Kansai Economic Press Club and the Kansai Energy Club (nuclear power). Have a separate part-time translator for events listings, plus an intern.
  5. 5. The Top Ten Most Difficult Things About TranslatingThe Top Ten Most Difficult Things About Translating and Writing for the English News Media in Japan:and Writing for the English News Media in Japan: 10. Translating and shortening official titles. 9. Translating and quickly summarizing court cases. 8. Translating the direct quotes of politicians. 7.Determing the sex of the person just by reading a newspaper account. (Do I use he’’ or ``she’’ for second reference?) 6. Ensuring that titles on the business card match the officially approved translation. 5. Ensuring large numbers have been transposed and translated correctly. 4. Ensuring Japanese personal names, especially surnames, are translated correctly. (Is 俊一、 ``Shunichi’’ or ``Toshikazu’’? Is 正 一 pronounced ``Shouichi’’ or ``Masakazu’’?) 3. Getting the correct English spelling for the name of a foreigner. (Um, what’s the spelling of the Romanian panelist カトクヌブイ ス・リヴェンスキャネーフー ?) 。 2. Ensuring that kanji names for Koreans or Chinese are rendered into the correct English spelling. 1. Listening to a speech in a third foreign language with simultaneous Japanese, but no English, interpretation, and then turning that into English.
  6. 6. The Top Five Most Difficult Kinds ofThe Top Five Most Difficult Kinds of People To Interpret into EnglishPeople To Interpret into English 5. Senior politicians from the ruling parties 4. Local politicians and bureaucrats 3. Certain NGO types who don’t know how to deal with the media 2. Lawyers and academics who use specialized language and speak very vaguely 1. Anybody who has something to hide!
  7. 7. From Idea to Story:From Idea to Story: 1) Straight News Stories (Official-type `just-the-facts’’ reporting of news events that I cover directly.) 2) Feature Stories (Ideas for feature stories come from:) A) The Japanese Mass Media –stories that have already appeared in Japanese newspapers, magazines. Initial work involves translation and confirmation of basic facts, doing additional research. B) The Press Clubs: Official announcements, statistics, surveys, notices of upcoming symposiums, conferences, or meetings. Work involves translation and interpretation. C) Personal Contacts
  8. 8. The Japan Times Editorial ProcessThe Japan Times Editorial Process For the News Dept.For the News Dept. STEP I: Agreed upon story is written by the reporter and sent to the editor-in-charge of politics, society, or business. Length of stories is usually worked out with desk editors before we file. Usual length is between 400 and 1,000 words. STEP II: Japanese editor fact checks story and cuts, or adds, for space. Questions about the facts presented, necessity of additional information or background, or the meaning of unclear sentences are then raised by the Japanese editor with the reporter by telephone, and, sometimes, e-mail. STEP III: Once those questions have been answered and the Japanese editors have finished making initial changes, the article is passed off to a Native Speaker Editor, who checks for grammar and overall comprehension. STEP IV: If Native Speaker Editor has questions, they either raise the question with the Japanese desk editor, who may then call the reporter. Or, they may call the reporter themselves. STEP V: Once the final version has been agreed upon by the desk editors in Tokyo, it’s usually FAXed to the reporter for a final fact and grammar check. Depending on the deadline, the editors will or will not agree to changes in style.
  9. 9. ADVANTAGES OF THE SYSTEM:ADVANTAGES OF THE SYSTEM: It allows a very thorough process for fact- checking by Japanese editors when translation from Japanese to English has been made (as is usually the case). It minimizes the risk of miscommunication and lengthy clarification time by phone between foreign editors and Japanese reporters.
  10. 10. DISADVANTAGES OF THE SYSTEM:DISADVANTAGES OF THE SYSTEM:  The end product can sometimes appear similar to what free news web sites on Japan are offering. (Do readers buy newspapers for ``just the facts’’, or for background, analysis, and sharp and witty prose that can’t be found elsewhere?)  It can mean sentence structures appear strange or stilted because deadline pressures meant editorial concentration was on basic grammatical structure and fact-checking, not on style or sentence structure.
  11. 11. PARTICULAR CHALLENGESPARTICULAR CHALLENGES OF WRITING FOR AN ENGLISH NEWSPAPEROF WRITING FOR AN ENGLISH NEWSPAPER IN JAPANIN JAPAN Writing For Two Basically Different Sets of Readers, Japanese and Non-Japanese.  Japanese:  Often See an English paper as, first and foremost, a study tool.  Often want an English newspaper that focuses less on Japan and more on the outside world (they get their Japan news from vernacular papers).  Non-Japanese  See a newspaper as a source of news and as a good read.  Non-Japanese residents often want more news on Japan than Japanese readers.
  12. 12. Foreign Media in JapanForeign Media in Japan  No. of Japan-based foreign journalists registered with the Foreign Ministry: approx. 400 (down from over 1,000 in 1991) (Foreign Press Center Japan)  Estimated number of foreigners working at least part- time for overseas media: 1,000 nationwide (includes all print and broadcast media, Westerners and Asians, but not Internet bloggers) (unofficial FCCJ estimate)  No. of foreign journalists currently working full-time for a major foreign news media organization who are highly fluent in Japanese: between 50 and 100 (my estimate)
  13. 13. THE GREAT DEBATE:THE GREAT DEBATE: Is Japanese Fluency Necessary For WorkingIs Japanese Fluency Necessary For Working as a Foreign Journalist in Japan?as a Foreign Journalist in Japan?  YES: How can you possibly report and understand what Japanese people are saying and thinking if you don’t speak and read Japanese? Fluency in Japanese allows a foreign reporter to not only understand the country better, but also to work more easily, efficiently, and accurately.  NO: A foreign journalist is an outside observer of the particular country he or she is stationed in for a few years, during which there is not enough time to become highly fluent in Japanese. Of course, it’s important to get the main facts right, or, rather, the facts most interest editors back home. But a minimal amount of Japanese is sufficient for that.
  14. 14. Those Who Say ``YES’’. . .Those Who Say ``YES’’. . .  . . .Point out that one cannot possibly understand what one is reporting on without fluency.  . . . Note that although all Japanese study English, relatively few speak it well.  . . .Argue that basic common sense dictates one has both a practical and a moral obligation to become as fluent as possible.
  15. 15. Those who say ``NO’’. . .Those who say ``NO’’. . .  . . . Point out that fluency in Japanese takes years of study that make attaining it financially, and logistically, impossible.  . . .Note that, given English is Japan’s second language, one can cover the country (i.e. Tokyo) sufficiently in English, and that most official government agencies and major corporations have sufficient English materials, and English-speaking representatives.  . . .Fear spending too much time becoming fluent will raise concerns in the head office that the reporter has gone native or has lost his or her ability to explain things ``to the folks back home’’.
  16. 16. And One More Excuse…And One More Excuse… ``Many Japanese, especially those in positions of power, don’t like foreigners, especially nosy foreign journalists, speaking their language. The most important thing for a journalist is to get information, and you can’t get information if top sources don’t like you.’’
  17. 17. How The Foreign Media in JapanHow The Foreign Media in Japan Deals withDeals with Translation/Interpretation IssuesTranslation/Interpretation Issues  Wire Services (Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg Business News, AFP) have ``local hires’’, bilingual people who live in Japan who serve as reporters and, often, editors.  Major Newspapers: (New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times, Times of London, Financial Times) often, but not always, have Japanese assistants for their expatriate correspondents, whose levels of fluency vary.  Other correspondents (full-time and freelance, newspaper and magazine) have no assistants and various levels of fluency, ranging from basic conversational Japanese only, to close-to- native speaker ability in speaking and reading.  Television (ABC, CBS, BBC, CNN) has some correspondents who are bilingual, but many have Japanese assistants.  EAST ASIAN MEDIA BY AND LARGE HAVE BILINGUAL CHINESE-JAPANESE, OR KOREAN-JAPANESE REPORTERS STATIONED IN JAPAN.
  18. 18. In Conclusion . . .In Conclusion . . . Emerging Trends  1) From Print Only To Print, Blogs and Podcasts – Technology is changing the way journalists worldwide do their jobs. Traditional print journalists must now find time for on- line articles as well as stories for their print editions. What will this mean for accuracy in J-E translations?  2) ``Punditocracy’’ vs. ``Reporting’’ -- How can traditional journalism compete economically if everybody gets their information from Website or TV pundits who tell you what you need, or want, to know for free? Will people still care enough about the checks and balances, both in reporting and translation/interpreting, that newspapers like The Japan Times have in place? Will they care enough to either subscribe or take out advertising?
  19. 19. THANK YOU!!!THANK YOU!!!

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