private remark

My English.

   My mother tongue is Japanese and English is my second language. I think the difference between these two languages are huge. Learning German at my university days, I found out similarity of them, their words order, pronunciation, spelling and so on. When I was young, I was impressed by an European or an American speaking two or three languages. But looking back, it shouldn’t have been so admirable. That they do so is the same level as that I speak standard Japanese and my dialect.

   By the way, English is my second language. It is difficult for me still now. when I translate some, I am always confused. For example, there are two words which don’t have much different meaning, but one is positive and the other is negative, and I have no measure which is which. What can I do?

   On the other hand, “the” makes me sick. Do I need “the” here or there? Why does he/she use “the” with this word? I feel difficulty. If someone whose mother tongue is English reads my translation, he/she will notice some parts whose meanings are not clear. At that time, please let me know it without hesitation.

4 replies on “My English.”

Hi, you know when I read Hisho no tori the first time I found it a bit confusing, but indeed, English is really confuseing, I have been studeying it sinse 2000 and there is some things I still don’t understand. I would like to take the oportunity to tell you that is very nice to see that there is an other person translateing twelve kingdoms histories, I am translateing them to (español)spanish. And yours translations are cool. So, have a nice day 😀

The difference between Japanese and English is indeed very substantial. I’m a native English speaker, and I’ve studied Japanese some, and it’s amazing how different the two languages are! (My Japanese is not very good, I’m afraid.) I think it’s very admirable you’ve been able to learn a language so different from your own.
And I’ve read your “Hyohaku” translation (I’m so glad you did! I thought it would never be translated) and, on the whole, you did very well. I was really impressed. It was readable, and though I admit some parts didn’t flow in English as well as they could, I was able to read the story and understand what was happening and the meaning in the words.
As for the “the” problem, articles like this do tend to be confusing for non-English speakers. “The” tends to be used when the speaker and listener is familiar with the object in question. It’s why it’s called a “definite” article. Because we definitely know what it is.
A/An is an indefinite article which denotes unfamiliarity. So if the speaker/listener is unfamiliar, “a/an” is usually used.
For instance, I could say to you, “I saw a cat yesterday, and I was able to play with it.” I use “a” because you aren’t familiar with this cat.
Then if I decided to talk more about it, I would say, “The cat sure was friendly, wasn’t it?” I use “the” there because both you and I know the cat that I’m referring to now. Does this make sense?
A good rule is the first time someone/something new is introduced, use “a/an” and follow it with “the” after.
By the way, if you would like smoothing out your translations, I’d be happy to help and answer any questions about English you may have. I left my e-mail if you’re interested. (Or you can just reply to the comment.)

Hi, gkatar.
I haven’t seen you in awhile. How have you been doing?
> I have been studeying it sinse 2000 and there is some things I still don’t understand.
All Japanese learn English at least for three years because it is a required subject in a junior high school which is compulsory education in Japan. But most of Japanese don’t speak or write it very well.
Yes, as long as a person lives in Japan, especially the countryside, he/she has no trouble and seldom has a chance to use it. I am just the person who lives in the countryside. So I am translating. Of course, I love Ono sensei’s story though.
> I am translateing them to (español)spanish. And yours translations are cool.
I’m glad to hear it and keep it up!

Hi, Saff,
thank you very much for your offer.
> I’m a native English speaker, and I’ve studied Japanese some,
In my humble opinion, if a person want to cooperate with some translation the person needs to know languages relating to it. So, you are perfect for it.
> As for the “the” problem, ~use “a/an” and follow it with “the” after.
I know about it, but sometimes I am still in trouble. And I feel some difficulties that I didn’t write here.
So, I’ll send you a private mail later. Please wait for a while.

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