The Kyoto Linguist

Musings of a translator and travel writer enjoying life and business in the Land of the Rising Sun

Page 2


Crafting Natural English from Japanese - Episode 9

Screenshot 2020-05-08 11.09.48.png

Welcome back to our series on creative J>E translation, where we translate the idea behind Japanese words, not merely the words themselves. If you’d like to go back to the first episode, click here. For the full episode list, click here.

Today our word is 機能. But first:

A Note Before Continuing
The examples below come from actual projects that I have worked on for my customers, although I have modified the text to some degree in order to maintain confidentiality. Also, keep in mind that when it comes to translation, especially creative translation, there is usually more than one right answer. You may have different ideas for how to render these examples into English that could be just as valid or even better than mine. Much like writing, I’ve always thought of translation as an art, not a science. Of course, it also helps to have a good editor, so I’ve only selected examples from...

Continue reading →


Crafting Natural English from Japanese - Episode 8

Screenshot 2020-05-01 09.37.54.png

Welcome back to our series on creative J>E translation, where we translate the idea behind Japanese words, not merely the words themselves. If you’d like to go back to the first episode, click here. For the full episode list, click here.

Today our words are 視点 and 観点, which both have pretty much the same meaning, although 観点 tends to appear more in formal contexts. But first:

A Note Before Continuing
The examples below come from actual projects that I have worked on for my customers, although I have modified the text to some degree in order to maintain confidentiality. Also, keep in mind that when it comes to translation, especially creative translation, there is usually more than one right answer. You may have different ideas for how to render these examples into English that could be just as valid or even better than mine. Much like writing, I’ve always thought of translation as...

Continue reading →


Crafting Natural English from Japanese - Episode 7

Screenshot 2020-04-20 12.38.18.png

Welcome back to our series on creative J>E translation, where we translate the idea behind Japanese words, not merely the words themselves. If you’d like to go back to the first episode, click here. For the full episode list, click here.

Today our word is イメージ. But first:

A Note Before Continuing
The examples below come from actual projects that I have worked on for my customers, although I have modified the text to some degree in order to maintain confidentiality. Also, keep in mind that when it comes to translation, especially creative translation, there is usually more than one right answer. You may have different ideas for how to render these examples into English that could be just as valid or even better than mine. Much like writing, I’ve always thought of translation as an art, not a science. Of course, it also helps to have a good editor, so I’ve only selected examples from...

Continue reading →


Filling the Hours as a Freelancer in an Economic Downturn, Part 2: Investing in Your Happiness

In my previous post, I shared how I’m taking advantage of the slowdown in my business to invest in productivity gains that will yield returns down the road when the economy recovers. This time, though, I want to talk about taking our minds off of work.

Many of us freelancers busted our asses during the long run of economic growth over the past decade-plus since the global financial crisis (or the “Lehman shock” as they call it in Japan). Now it’s time get our work-life balance back into sync!

Obviously, we all have different things that make us happy, but maybe by sharing my experience, you’ll find some ideas for injecting a jolt of joy into your lockdown lifestyle.

The Great Outdoors

Okay, I know that not everybody is allowed to go out and enjoy their local parks and wilderness, depending on what measures your government has put in place. Over here in Japan, the government hasn’t...

Continue reading →


Filling the Hours as a Freelancer in an Economic Downturn, Part 1: Investing in Your Business

The coronavirus has turned the world on its head and thrown businesses of all stripes and colors into chaos. My translation practice has also taken a hit, though not a fatal one. I would say I’m operating at about 80% capacity. I was expecting a sustained drop of around 50% for two to three months, which I experienced after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the Japanese consumption tax hike of 2014, but for now the impact hasn’t been so great.

Even so, my calendar is not as packed as usual. You would think this would give me more time to write this blog, but I haven’t updated in over a month. Since the pandemic spread like wildfire across the world, accompanied by a steady stream of jaw-dropping news coverage, I have felt a lethargy that has prevented me from putting out the extra effort to do things like writing or exercising. The travel industry is in the dumps, so I have zero...

Continue reading →


Crafting Natural English from Japanese - Episode 6

Screenshot 2020-03-09 13.47.57.png

Welcome back to our series on creative J>E translation, where we translate the idea behind Japanese words, not merely the words themselves. If you’d like to go back to the first episode, click here. For the full episode list, click here.

Today our word is 防災. But first:

A Note Before Continuing
Keep in mind that when it comes to translation, especially creative translation, there is usually more than one right answer. You may have different ideas for how to render this word into English that could be just as valid or even better than mine. Much like writing, I’ve always thought of translation as an art, not a science. Of course, it also helps to have a good editor.

Let’s get to it!

Japanese word: 防災 (bousai)

Overly common translation: disaster prevention
Suggested alternatives: disaster preparation; disaster preparedness; disaster readiness; disaster mitigation; disaster...

Continue reading →


Dark Themes and Backgrounds

1024px-Yin_and_yang.svg.png


For those of us who spend all day staring at a computer screen, we may not be completely aware why our eyes are getting so tired. This is something that has always concerned me, so for a long time I have taken various actions to reduce the strain on my eyes.

One obvious option is to lower the brightness of my monitor. I remember when I slaved away at my first job fresh out of college in a horrible position as a “data entry specialist,” I would turn the brightness on my monitor down so low that people passing by my cubicle could barely even see what was on my screen. They were amazed that I could work this way, but your eyes gradually adjust to it. (Besides, I wanted to be able to play video games at home without a burning sensation in my eyes.)

Nowadays, we have many more ways of tackling the problem. Here I would like to show the methods that I use, but before I do, I should let you...

Continue reading →


Crafting Natural English from Japanese - Episode 5

Screenshot 2020-02-28 10.43.29.png

Welcome back to our series on creative J>E translation, where we translate the idea behind Japanese words, not merely the words themselves. If you’d like to go back to the first episode, click here. For the full episode list, click here.

Today our word is 温泉. But first:

A Note Before Continuing
The examples below come from actual projects that I have worked on for my customers, although I have modified the text to some degree in order to maintain confidentiality. Also, keep in mind that when it comes to translation, especially creative translation, there is usually more than one right answer. You may have different ideas for how to render these examples into English that could be just as valid or even better than mine. Much like writing, I’ve always thought of translation as an art, not a science. Of course, it also helps to have a good editor, so I’ve only selected examples from...

Continue reading →


Getting Fired, the Greatest Turning Point in My LIfe

0702a236-ea74-4525-a538-f3ab376c1cc3.png
Caption: The list goes on…


What is the greatest turning point in your life? In my case, some really important moments that immediately come to mind are meeting my wife, getting married, and the birth of our son. However, I would not call any of those the greatest turning point in my life — much to my wife’s disapproval — because there is another one which had a far larger impact on how events have unfolded for me this far.

You might guess that it was the decision to move to Japan, where I embarked on a new career and built up a business in translation (and occasional travel writing) which I am quite proud of, but that is not the case. The thing that got it all started was getting canned.

Let me backtrack a bit. When I was growing up, people all around me always told me that so long as I could get a college degree, I would be good to go. So, when it came time to enter college and...

Continue reading →


Crafting Natural English from Japanese - Episode 4

aboutdimension.png

Welcome back to our series on creative J>E translation, where we translate the idea behind Japanese words, not merely the words themselves. If you’d like to go back to the first episode, click here. For the full episode list, click here.

Today we are looking at について and 異次元. But first:

A Note Before Continuing
The examples below come from actual projects that I have worked on for my customers, although I have modified the text to some degree in order to maintain confidentiality. Also, keep in mind that when it comes to translation, especially creative translation, there is usually more than one right answer. You may have different ideas for how to render these examples into English that could be just as valid or even better than mine. Much like writing, I’ve always thought of translation as an art, not a science. Of course, it also helps to have a good editor, so I’ve only selected...

Continue reading →