Friday Musings

Last night son had yet another must meet school deadline which he waited until the last minute AGAIN to do.  When will he freaking learn?! 

 It was a history project, taking events from personal history, starting with one's birth and others, and linking these to other historical events.


Read his draft as he wanted me to help him proof it.  I was surprised that one he chose was his first day at school.   Like many, he was filled with trepidation, but for him particularly, it was still, even though it had been 4 months since he stepped off the ANA flight to Dulles, a somewhat foreign experience.  He also found he could not communicate well either; his spoken English skills were still developing at that time, but he had good aural skills

He  included a couple of his infant photos in his report, such as this one.  Told him not to use this one as if I know teenagers, particularly boys, he's going to get all sorts of grief over it.  But he said he didn't care as he thinks this photo is funny. Ok, so…….


Finished a J-E translation yesterday. Had thought it fairly straightforward, but in fact it turned into a grueling slog. A good analogy is of the Greek titan of myth, condemned for eternity to pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to have it fall down as he approached the summit.  Part of the problem was the original was in Excel.  Why Japanese companies use Excel to generate documents is beyond me, but…  The rate is 0.7 cents a word, which I do not know if it is good, bad, or indifferent.    The company wants 3 more done by Monday hmmmm.

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7 Responses to Friday Musings

  1. pamik says:

    Seven cents per word? Not character? You should be charging at least double, if not triple that.

  2. An Ex-Expat says:

    Thank you. I had the feeling it was a low ball figure. Perhaps it is ameliorated in that a 'word' for this company's purposes can be a noun, verb, conjunction, particle so perhaps its a wash. Am familiar with the practice of counting words and, for example, 5 characters = 1 word.

    Will keep this in mind as, if this continues. Right now I'm just happy to stay away from the TV (its still raining here) and income, even if somewhat meager.

    The most challenging part was that these were essentially Japanese A3's with much corporate shorthand for which I had to sit, and use my business sense to figure out what it was. I skipped translating Japanese corporate titles. Explained that in my experience, while the Japanese titles are uniform, the English equivalents are all over the place. F'r example, and for humor, the English title for Shoichrio Honda, of Honda Motors, (相談役) came out as The Supreme Consultant. Still smile over that one! But I have been asked to do my best……
    A fellow Sake Dojo alumnus, who does J-E patent translation, suggested I cut and past the Excel worksheets into word and go from there and thus spare myself the agony of doing cell by cell edits. Still I've never thought of Excel as a program to create documents -guess corporate Japan doesn't.

    How was your kid's trip to this neck of the woods?

  3. pamik says:

    I figure your Japanese skills must be much better than what that rate pays for. I've never heard of the 5 characters=1 word way of counting. Whatever the document word count feature says is the word count is the word count.When it comes to titles I just do my best guess and most clients know that it varies by company. If I'm doing a translation for a particular company and have access to their terminology I'll use it, but otherwise there are some standard translations to fall back on. There is a ton of work out there via multiple agencies right now. Seems to be a lot of corporate documents for litigation discovery. Japanese companies love to create text documents in Excel. Maybe the cells remind them of 原稿用紙 or something. The girl had a fun trip to DC, but said a lot of the historical stuff was "boring." Gotta love the teenage perspective…

  4. An Ex-Expat says:

    原稿用紙. Never thought it that way, you might have a point. The remaining docs are more spreadsheet-like with terminology repeated in many, many of the cells, so a swift 'find & replace' works wonders. Just one term which I swore I saw in another original and for which I found a translation on-lione, but not now. hmmmm At least your daughter is not old enough yet to hang out around Adams Morgan (supposedly THE 'hip' area in DC) for 'adventure' 😉

  5. Waterbaby says:

    my sympathy. i worked many years with translations of japanese into english. it's grueling, arduous and far more work than most realize. i no longer do it. 🙂

  6. An Ex-Expat says:

    Don't get me wrong,
    its not that I hate translating, this particular piece was pretty onerous
    in the way the material was structured and expected to be delivered. AS the
    fellow Sake Dojo Alumnus told me once, there are good clients and crappy ones.
    He's been at it and competent at it too, for many, many years and I guess he's in
    a position to pick and choose.

    Did much translation as part of my duties at Large international
    automobile manufacturers 1 & 2, public documents to the federal government
    & sometimes Congress. To me it was part puzzle-solving, artistic license
    and a pinch of black magic.

    There was also pride in taking something not well put together
    in Japanese (Japanese engineers too, generally can't write worth a damn) and
    mold into a coherent reasoned statement.
    And there were some glory moments too, once in a notice in the Federal
    Register, what I had put together was nearly quoted word for word. That was a 'Cool!' moment.

    But yeah, I can see burn and other reasons to stay away from

  7. Waterbaby says:

    I hear ya loud 'n' clear. Any pride I had in a fine work produced out of crap, the lotus from the mud, was over time diminished. I don't miss it and don't long to return to it.

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