Transperfect - the umbrella organization

English: Graph showing U.S. dollar and Japanes...
English: Graph showing U.S. dollar and Japanese yen exchange rate from January, 1990. 日本語: 1990年1月からのアメリカドルと日本円の為替レートのグラフ。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today I received a mail from one Japanese translation agency, that informed me, that they will next be operating "under the umbrella" of Transperfect. That makes them a:
affiliated business●affiliated enterprise●controlled company [corporation, firm]●subordinate business●subordinate company●subordinated firm

Wonderful. To me this looks like Transperfect "took then over" (more likely a "hostile takeover".

This means for translators working for that Japanese agency a 10-fold (!!!) increase in bank fees -> when working for a Japanese agency, they charge you the bank fees for the money transfer (which in itself is NOT very user-friendly), approximately 4-500 Yen. Working for Transperfect -> you are requested to set a minimum amount = default value 100 USD, for which Transperfect charges 20 USD. The bank here WILL (!) charge me at least another 15 USD for putting that money into your account AND another fee for converting USD into YEN.
So, let's say you do a 100-USD job. Then you will have to PAY 40 USD to get the 100 USD -> leaving you with 60 USD. For this job not less than 40% !!!!!!!!!! will be deducted from the value you have worked for.

Not to speak of the exchange rate. The mail said, the exchange rate valid on July 1 will be used for determining the "rates" and reviewed in case of "major fluctuations". No definition given for the latter concept.
Based on 27 years of experience (EXCLUSIVELY bad experiences working for Transperfect!) I am quite certain, that this means, the translator, the last and lowest part in this slave labor food chain, will have to bear ANY AND ALL extra costs arising from variations in the exchange rate. In the past I have NEVER (!) experienced, that those variations worked in my favor.

Isn't that nice.
Real incentive to work!
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Register first ...

I have seen/experienced the following so many times, it makes me sick.
The following is a summary of mail communications. Since the first message was in Japanese, I take the liberty of summarizing its contents in English.
Here I refrain from naming the company or involved person.
I am called a "rude, impolite person, giving inappropriate answers".
Is that really the case???
I wonder if someone not involved here could provide some feedback, since I don't like to be rude, but am tired of being "requested" to go to all sorts of trouble, only to be told later: "this won't work".

First message:
We are a newly established company in Japan. Having a look at your profile on a translators directory, we would very much like to establish a business relationship with you.
First of all, please register with us, by clicking on the following link. Our coordinators will provide support with the registration process.

My response: (also English transcript of Japanese message)
Good morning
Thank you for the invitation.
However, I checked your website and tried the "instant quote" function.
This shows, that your customers would have to pay 50% of my usual rate, meaning that you would most likely offer me something like 30% (maybe less) of my usual rate.
Working for so low rates would make me homeless, even during fulltime occupation.
Unless there is some room for negotiations about the rate, I believe, registering would be a futile effort.

Since the company in question did not respond at all,
I sent a second short message:
Good afternoon
No response to my mail ...
I presume this means, my assumption about the rate(s) was correct.
But I have to survive too ...

Second message from that company:
After receiving your second mail I checked the first message once again and hardly could find any questions there that I should answer. You refused to register in quite impolite manner, which is not very appropriate in business world and I understood your position.

As per German language rates, we are in the process of reviewing our rates because as you probably noticed the company is very new and we empirically learn how to match the market in Japan.

Thank you for informing us your opinion and we wish you all the best in your translation activity.

My response to that message:
Good evening
Thank you for your feedback.

With all due respect, but I do not think there was anything "rude" in my first mail. It was also not intended to be impolite, offensive etc.
Since I am working in this "business world" for over 27 years already, I believe, I have had sufficienct chance to learn a few things, including "appropriate" answers to mails.
In my long experience the following has happend MANY times:
1) I get a mail offering me work / collaboration
2) This mail requests (often demands) that I "first of all" register.
3) I take the trouble (trouble it often is; sometimes also very time consuming) to register.
4) Later I get a mail: "you are too expensive" (stated often in a language you would consider (to put it mildly) impolite )
-> All the (my) effort was in vain.

Here is the exact same scenario.
I just took the liberty of checking the information listed on your website before registering - based on above mentioned experience.
The results showed, that the effort of registering would most likel y be in vain.
Then I informed you of that result. There was not anything impolite or inappropriate.
I can assure you, I have seen MANY(!) VERY rude mails in my time.
Mine was not one of those.

Thank you.
A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.
Albert Einstein
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先日何となく - 細かい理由は今忘れた - アメリカの国歌に出てくる "... the land of the free ..." について調べようと思って国歌の歌詞を探した。

ドイツの「女、酒、歌が気に入った」表現私も結構気に入った 。。。






ドイツ語 日本語訳
Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
Über alles in der Welt,
Wenn es stets zu Schutz und Trutze
Brüderlich zusammenhält.
Von der Maas bis an die Memel,
Von der Etsch bis an den Belt,
Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
Über alles in der Welt!
Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang
Sollen in der Welt behalten
Ihren alten schönen Klang,
Und zu edler Tat begeistern
Unser ganzes Leben lang.
Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang!
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Für das deutsche Vaterland!
Danach lasst uns alle streben
Brüderlich mit Herz und Hand!
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Sind des Glückes Unterpfand
Blüh' im Glanze dieses Glückes,
Blühe, deutsches Vaterland!

Oh, say can you see,
by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed
at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
through the perilous fight.
O'er the ramparts we watched
were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare,
the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that
our flag was still there,
Oh, say does that star-spangled
banner yet wave.
O'er the land of the free
and the home of the brave!
自由の地 勇者の故郷の上に!
On the shore dimly seen
through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host
in dread silence reposes
What is that which the breeze,
o'er the towering steep.
As it fitfully blows,
half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam
of the morning's first beam.
In full glory reflected,
now shines on the stream.
'Tis the star-spangled banner,
oh, long may it wave.
O'er the land of the free
and the home of the brave!
自由の地 勇者の故郷の上に!
And where is that band
who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war
and the battle's confusion.
A home and a country
shall leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out
their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save
the hireling and slave.
From the terrors of flight
or the gloom of the grave.
And the star-spangled banner in
triumph doth wave.
O'er the land of the free
and the home of the brave!
自由の地 勇者の故郷の上に!
Oh, thus be it ever
when freemen shall stand
Between their loved ones and
wild war's desolution.
Blest with victry and peace,
may the heav'n-rescued land.
Praise the pow'r that hath made
and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must
when our cause it is just.
And this be our motto:
"In God is our trust!"
And the star-spangled banner in
triumph shall wave,
O'er the land of the free
and the home of the brave!
肝に銘せよ 我々の大義とモットーは
自由の地 勇者の故郷の上に

起来! 不愿做奴隶的人们!
起来! 起来! 起来!
前进! 前进! 进!
いざ立ち上がれ 隷属を望まぬ人々よ!

Allons enfants de la Patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Contre nous, de la tyrannie,
L'étendard sanglant est levé!
L'étendard sanglant est levé!
Entendez-vous, dans les campagnes,
Mugir ces féroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
Egorger nos fils et nos compagnes!
[ Refrain ]
Aux armes, citoyens !
Formez vos bataillons !
Marchons ! marchons !
Qu'un sang impur abreuve nos sillons !
Que veut cette horde d'esclaves,
De traîtres, de rois conjurés ?
Pour qui ces ignobles entraves,
Ces fers dès longtemps préparés ?
Ces fers dès longtemps préparés ?
Français, pour nous, ah ! quel outrage !
Quels transports il doit exciter !
C'est nous qu'on ose méditer
De rendre à l'antique esclavage !
Quoi ! ces cohortes étrangères
Feraient la loi dans nos foyers !
Quoi ! ces phalanges mercenaires
Terrasseraient nos fiers guerriers !
Terrasseraient nos fiers guerriers !
Grand Dieu ! par des mains enchaînées
Nos fronts sous le joug se ploieraient !
De vils despotes deviendraient
Les maîtres des destinées !
Tremblez, tyrans et vous perfides,
L'opprobre de tous les partis,
Tremblez ! vos projets parricides
Vont enfin recevoir leurs prix !
Vont enfin recevoir leurs prix !
Tout est soldat pour vous combattre,
S'ils tombent, nos jeunes héros,
La terre en produit de nouveaux,
Contre vous tout prêts à se battre!
Français, en guerriers magnanimes,
Portez ou retenez vos coups !
Epargnez ces tristes victimes,
A regret s'armant contre nous.
A regret s'armant contre nous.
Mais ces despotes sanguinaires,
Mais ces complices de Bouillé,
Tous ces tigres qui, sans pitié,
Déchirent le sein de leur mère !
Amour sacré de la Patrie,
Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs !
Liberté, Liberté chérie
Combats avec tes défenseurs !
Combats avec tes défenseurs !
Sous nos drapeaux, que la victoire
Accoure à tes mâles accents
Que tes ennemis expirants
Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire !
Nous entrerons dans la carrière
Quand nos aînés n'y seront plus;
Nous y trouverons leur poussière
Et la trace de leurs vertus.
Et la trace de leurs vertus.
Bien moins jaloux de leur survivre
Que de partager leur cercueil,
Nous aurons le sublime orgueil
De les venger ou de les suivre !
我々は進み行く 先人達の地へ


google translate

I have heard about "google translate" before, but never used it before. Recently an acupuncture colleague sent me an English text, which he "put through google translate" and wanted me to have a look and if necessary iron out mistakes.

Well, what I received is frankly unintelligible! I have to translate the whole thing myself from scratch.

To check, I copied a 2-line Japanese text into the translation field and selected (a) German and (b) English as the target language.
The results are shown below.

Neither can be understood, unless you KNOW the Japanese meaning or else someone provides extensive explanations.
This proves, that "machine translation" will for some time NOT become any sort of thread to the service I provide.

Source text:

Wir verdanken.
Von Zeit zu Zeit tut mir leid, was kann ich den Scheck wieder.

We indebted.
From time to time I'm sorry, what can I have the check again.

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Why do I still do this?

Keyboard-of-Japanese-language (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today - again - I got an inquiry from a German company about a medical translation from German into Japanese. Naturally(!), as a native German I am NOT SUPPOSED to translate into Japanese.
In the mail I was asked, whether I can do it, of if not, maybe recommend someone who can. The rate offered was about 25% of what Japanese companies usually pay me for a Japanese-German translation.

Since I do not translate into Japanese, I offered to asked someone else.
Response: "YES. Please do."

So, I actually contact a colleague, write some mails, even get on the phone.
Naturally, even for a Japanese translator in Japan working in the German-Japanese language pair (which is cheaper than the other way round), the offered rate was still well below 50% of the "normal" rate.
And that from a rich country like Germany!

My colleague recline the offer. No wonder.
And I communicated these things to the company in Germany.

I ***DO NOT*** mind referring jobs to colleagues at all.
What I ***DO MIND*** is the fact, that the company in questions did not even say thank you.
I spend "considerable" time and effort - even phone costs - to find THEM(!), not me or my colleague, someone who can help out and do not even get this little "thank you".

I should probably stop being so nice ...

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With all due deference ...

Human brain
Human brain (Photo credit: EUSKALANATO)
Ishibutai Kofun in Asuka, Nara Prefecture, Jap...
Ishibutai Kofun in Asuka, Nara Prefecture, Japan. 日本語: 石舞台古墳, 奈良県明日香村 Camera: Sony DSLR-A700 Lens: Sony SAL1680Z (Carl Zeiss) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The entire human race uses "language", with the exception of the comparatively few people suffering from some sort of impairment, as a matter of course. Although there are differences regarding region/land and historical time, people in a specific location and at a specific time take the use of their "native" language for communication with other people of the same time and region for granted. While there are differences among different languages in the way how certain things/concepts are handled, the basic idea of conveying information between people is probably everywhere the same.

To quote from the Wikipedia(1):
"(language as) A tool for communication
Yet another definition defines language as a system of communication that enables humans to cooperate. This definition stresses the social functions of language and the fact that humans use it to express themselves, and to manipulate things in the world."

Again from the Wikipedia, pertaining to communication(2):
"Human communication
Human spoken and written languages can be described as a system of symbols (sometimes known as lexemes) and the grammars (rules) by which the symbols are manipulated. The word "language" is also used to refer to common properties of languages. Language learning is normal in human childhood. Most human languages use patterns of sound or gesture for symbols which enable communication with others around them."

Problems arise, when people of one specific region try to communicate with people in or from other regions. These problems arise already during communication related to common things like food, housing, directions etc., occasionally even among speakers of different dialects of the same language, but become much more complex in areas of high specialization. Oriental medicine is one such area. Even if one assumes, that the people who try to study and/or communicate about oriental medicine are already experts in their field, communication of specific concepts using different languages may represent a very challenging task. Assuming that there is a wealth of valuable information, which I will define for the sake of this discussion as information originating in Japan, this is and remains of very little use. That is because it is (encrypted) in Japanese, which mainly precludes access to it by most people of the world and information becomes only then really useful, if it is made available/accessible.

I am not a scholar and do not speak on behalf of any particular group of people or organization, but would like to formulate a few of my personal concepts related to this topic. In particular I would like to focus on aspects of the Japanese language, how it seems to be currently handled and understood in this field of learning and what potential future students of oriental medicine might expect or would like to see.

As stated above, language is used to convey concepts among people. This is an extremely simplified statement, but since I do not want to/can delve into all the complexities of research into language, communication and information exchange, I would appreciate, if you will permit me to leave it standing as it is.  

The Japanese language is quite different from both English or other European languages and other oriental languages like Chinese. It does not use articles, rarely distinguishes between plural and singular and handles nouns and verbs differently from the way this is done in English for example(5). This may contribute to the impression, that Japanese is complicated and so difficult to learn, that most foreigners are not expected to have much success. Yet, Japanese is a highly developed, delicate and elegant language. Examples of highly refined typical Japanese literature like the "Genji Monogatari" for example, even though they use the writing system imported from China, antedate comparable works sometimes almost by centuries.

Yet, the Japanese people themselves seem to suffer from an inferiority complex about their language precisely because it seems to be so difficult and inaccessible. In a very illuminating book written by the linguist Suzuki Takao "The World of the Closed Language Japanese"(8) the author points out, that Japanese is actually one of the top 10 most spoken languages of the world. In his book he cited Japanese to be on rank 6, but while the rank has dropped  to "9"(6) since its publication 30 years ago, it still remains among the most frequently, widely spoken languages of the world. There is nothing to be ashamed (shame is also a concept of special cultural significance in Japan) of. Rather on the contrary: I firmly believe that Japanese people should take more pride in their language and their achievements, which are largely expressed through this language. This in turn suggests, that materials explaining these achievements should be made assessible to the world through translation.

However, because of their fear, that other people/languages may be superior to their own and in conjunction with the aggressive promotion of a "standard TCM terminology" by the Chinese through the WHO(7), the Japanese have adopted a quite restrained behavior of promoting/displaying their own concepts and practice of oriental medicine through the use of Chinese dominated language. The result is an almost unbearable mixture of expressions, circumscriptions etc. that make even comparatively simple ideas almost unintelligible for many students of the matter throughout the world. I will try to illustrate with a few examples.

Occasionally I translate Japanese articles meant for magazines etc. that have the purpose of promoting the Japanese concepts pertaining to the use of Chinese herbal medicine, called Kampo, as well as research into acupuncture and oriental medicine in a wider sense.

Yet, while the use of Chinese herbal medicines in the Japanese way, namely Kampo, should be considered an original Japanese application, editors sometimes/often cling to the Chinese form of an alphabetical notation (there are different version in use) of the relevant terms. For example, certain editors follow the recommendations by an authoritative (Japanese) academic society for the research into Kampo medicine and thus demand from me, that I write the name for prescriptions as ONE word, listed in third place after English and Chinese like:
* Cassia Twig and Tuckahoe Pill plus Coix Seed  
* Gui-Zhi-Fu-Ling-Wan-Liao-Jia-Yi-Yi-Ren
* keishibukuryoganryokayokuinin
(the Chinese characters for the prescription are NOT given)

Here I can understand the use of an English translation. That certainly facilitates access to this information. The Chinese notation at least shows the breaks between individual characters, helping the student to search in dictionaries and possibly also provides clues about the pronunciation. While the Japanese ... (12)

The above shown Japanese "word" has 29 (!) characters. There are even longer ones, like for example “ryokeijutsukantogotokishakuyakusan” with no less than 34 characters or even "yokukansankachinpihangegotokishakuyakusan" (41 characters). And, while the English and Chinese terms are treated as proper nouns and thus capitalized, the Japanese term appears here (not in all publications) only in lower letters, as if it were no proper noun.

I once asked a scholar about the necessity of expressing the Japanese terms as single words. The answer was, it would be very difficult to decide, where to put any possible breaks. Again, I have great difficulties in believing, that the current approach will facilitate the declared purpose(9) of disseminating relevant information.
For example, one could easily break down the expression for the prescription called "Keishikaryukotsuboreito"in the following way:
*    Keishi        =    drug name
*    Ka                processing instruction
*    Ryukotsu borei    =    names of TWO drugs
*    To             =     drug form.

Not even Japanese persons would consider "Keishikaryukotsuboreito" to be ONE word, even if it is ONE name. For a Japanese person the term becomes immediately intelligible by looking at its elements, in particular since the Japanese know the associated Chinese characters for this term. This latter information and the underlying structure is presumably NOT available to many possible students of the material, unless they have previously acquired a considerable knowledge of the Japanese language, and thus makes comprehension very difficult, it not impossible. This includes also the difficulties encountered during attempts of looking up the term in dictionaries, that are newly created by this notation.

When I showed terms like "ryokeijutsukantogotokishakuyakusan" to Japanese people and asked them to read that for me, ALL were struggling very hard or could not figure it out at all, although they could read, naturally, the term when it is written in Chinese characters. Even if the above are treated as 'single terms', I am convinced that native speakers of the respective language pronounce these terms with a certain intonational structure, revealing to the listener clues about the makeup of the relevant terms.

A little search about the use of long words in the English language showed, that the longest non-coined and nontechnical word is "Antidisestablishmentarianism" with 28 characters and the longest word in Shakespeare's works is "Honorificabilitudinitatibus" with 27 characters(4). So, for any "reasonable" discussion words of less than 20 characters should be suitable/comprehensible. "yokukansankachinpihangegotokishakuyakusan" (41 characters) is simply incomprehensible. The use of notations like "Thisisalonggreenhouseattheroadside” or "Lelangageestunsystme de signesidentifis permettantunecommunication entreune ouplusieursentits" would definitely NOT help any learner of English of French respectively. Further, I believe that MOST people will have difficulties pronouncing the English word "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (pronounced /ˌsuːpərˌkælɪˌfrædʒəlˌɪstɪkˌɛkspiːˌælɪˈdoʊʃəs/) with 34 letters, that was in the song with the same title in the Disney musical film Mary Poppins(10), without any practice.

Following the same argument, I think it would help both foreign students as well as ultimately also the Japanese practitioners, if terms related to acupuncture like "Seppi", "Hinai Shin" etc. were left in Japanese and maybe provided with a descriptive English translation. In a similar fashion the technical terms related to Judo or other forms of martial arts are used WITHOUT translation. If the provision of such word pairs would be too difficult to integrate into every text, it should be no problem at all to set up a frequently updated online database with the relevant terms. Personally, I would like to see such an online dictionary as soon as possible.

After all, anyone who starts learning a certain subject, here oriental medicine, or a particular language, here Japanese, WILL have to refer to dictionaries and other reference materials. In this respect, with all due deference, I am under the impression that the highly educated scholars who have apparently been working on the above mentioned standard terminology, or representatives of the academic societies that strive to study oriental medicine and disseminate the relevant information, may have lost touch with basic problems learners have to face. In particular regarding the use of terminology, I firmly believe that the currently used Japanese approach is wrong.

Let's consider the use of dictionaries in an attempt to find out more about "keigairengyoto" = Jing-Jie-Lian-Qiao-Tang.
If you use a Chinese-English dictionary that provides alphabetized entries, you will know, that you are looking at a term consisting of 5 characters and can look up each according to its reading. However, there are naturally a large number of characters reading "Jing" and in ordinary language most probably no combination like "Jing-Jie". For that purpose you need a special dictionary.

The Japanese is worse, much worse. Here you are offered only ONE term. Even if the learner suspects, that this term consists for more than one character, HOW should this learner look for the relevant characters? The term could be split like:
  • ke iga iren gyo to
  • kei gairen gyoto
  • keiga iren gyoto
  • keigai rengyo to    etc.
That gives the student many possible dictionary entries to look up – a largely futile effort.

For anyone who does not know the language (Japanese), all of the listed divisions are equally possible. Depending on how the individual terms/characters are listed in the particular dictionary, this may render a search almost impossible. If the particular dictionary does NOT provide alphabetized notations, most foreign readers are denied access to this information right from the start. I have experienced this myself many times. Unfortunately, to my knowledge there are, with one little exception(11), no Japanese-English dictionaries that would help foreign students getting access to the required information. The shortest, and only, way would always require the combined use of several Chinese-English, Chinese character, Japanese-English dictionaries. Sometimes more than one of each type.

Apart from the standard dictionaries of the relevant languages there are a number of special dictionaries for oriental, in this context mostly Chinese medicine. Sometimes the tycoons in the field publishing those dictionaries argue about who has the “right” translation, which will invariably be different from what is found in dictionaries published in China and among the latter ones again, each gives something different and here the English rendition itself more often than not appears to be rather dubious. What the WHO has published recently as the “agreed upon standard terminology” still feels in many instances not right, at least to me. And, naturally, that terminology apparently assumes that everything must be based on Chinese concepts.

Since people are basically dealing with “Chinese medicine”, this consensus is of course not wrong, but what happened to the Japanese views and all those aspects special to Japan? The basic concepts of acupuncture and herbal medicine have initially been brought to Japan about 1,500 years ago and subsequently over centuries through imported books and by practioners who studied in China. Yet, that is a long enough period for some original, independent developments to take place. Take for example the use of guiding tubes for acupuncture: a purely Japanese invention. In conjunction with cultural, climatic and geographic differences and not least the mentality of the Japanese people this period of 1,500 years of development has led, I believe, to the establishment of conceptional systems and practical applications that are clearly distinct from the Chinese practice – even though many Japanese practitioners strongly assert, that they are practicing CHINESE medicine.

In spite of the thus historically formed system of a typical Japanese approach to oriental medicine, the insistence of leaders in the field to NOT make this information publicly known, or to choose deliberately expressions/notations that are/will be incomprehensible for many/most non-Japanese persons, is a waste of very valuable resources.

I do hope, and possible can help to stimulate the process to adopt a more enlightening approach to the “dissemination of information”, that the mountains of  intellectual treasures currently hidden behind the veils of the Japanese language will be made more easily accessible to the people of the world.

(4)    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longest_word_in_English
(5)    An Introduction to Japanese Syntax, Grammar & Language
    by Michiel Kamermans;     grammar.nihongoresources.com
(6)    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_number_of_native_speakers
(7)    WHOIST
    WHO International Standard Terminologies on Traditional Medicine in the Western Pacific Region
(8)    鈴木孝夫: 閉ざされた言語・日本語の世界  (Suzuki Takao "The World of the Closed Language Japanese")

(9)    From the JSOM HP:
    The intention of the society is to hold research presentations and seek communication, tie-up and promotion concerning oriental medicine and contribute to the progress and dissemination of oriental medicine, and thus contributing to the development of scientific culture."
(11)    Japanese-English Dictionary of Oriental Medicine; written and compiled by JONG-CHOL CYONG M.D. & Ph.D.; Oriental Medicine Research Center of the Kitasato Institute, Tokyo; ISEISHA

(12)    Comment pertaining to: "WHO International Standard Terminologies on Traditional Medicine in the Western Pacific Region":
*    In this dictionary the items are listed in the order "Code – Term – Chinese – Definition/Description". "Term" represents the column with the English terms and "Chinese" lists the corresponding Chinese terms ONLY in Chinese characters. That means, users cannot search the dictionary according to reading/pronunciation of Chinese terms and MUST know, what they are looking for in English. Or else they have to read through entire sections of the book.
*    The only section, that provides "pronunciation" is the one listing classical medical texts. However, this too looks to users who are NOT very familiar with the different involved languages like a deliberate attempt at making things as incomprehensible as possible:
Chinese:    素問玄機原病式     = Suwenxuanjiyuanbingshi
    "Suwen" may be known well enough, but xu-an-ji or xuan-ji?
Japanese:    百腹圖説     Hyakufukuzusetsu
    Should it be "pronounced" Hyakufu kuzu setsu or Hya kufu ku zusetsu?
    萬安方 Man’ampo – the approstrophe is almost a relief and very helpful!!!
Korean:    鄕藥救急方  Hyangyakgoogeupbang – I have no idea at all how this is         supposed to be pronounced!
Vietnamese:    保嬰良方 Bao Anh luong phuong – even though I do not know how to pronounce that, I can clearly infer, that the term is made of 4 characters and look up their respective meaning, if I have Vietnamese dictionary (with alphabetical notation).

Even if the above are 'single terms', I am convinced that native speakers of the respective language pronounce these terms using a certain intonational structure and thereby revealing to the listener clues about the makeup of the relevant terms. Without these clues, in the above example the apostrophe shows the listener/reader, that there is a break after "Man" and the term is not read Manam Po. Considering that even native speaker among themselves use these intonational structures, imagine what will happen, if someone, who does not know the proper pronunciation of the relevant languages, tries to read those terms / pronounce / use them during communication with other practitioners.
Thomas' Acupuncture Clinic
Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.
- Japanese proverb
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Cheap bus tour results in an accident killing 7 people

The other day an accident occurred on a Japanese highway, killing 7 people. The driver of a bus - a driver hired by the day - fell asleep. Apparently, there was no co-driver on the bus, and the entire tour designed to be "first of all cheap", specifically targeting Chinese customers.

The accident is one thing, but what struck me this morning was a TV show where one of the commentators said:
"It is this fierce competitions nowadays for providing cheaper and cheaper services/product, REQUIRING to cut costs where ever possible, to has finally led to poor safety measures, the use of insufficiently qualified personnel etc. that led to the tragedy"

THIS sounds like something that could be applied IDENTICALLY to the translation business:
"lower your rates", "cut costs", "do NOT charge extra for rush jobs etc.", "no special expertise needed (= everybody can do it = makes prices cheap)".

Well, I tried to point this out many times already. Cutting costs to the bone, forcing "real" translators into starvation etc, WILL in the end lead to the use/employment of untrained, unskilled personnel with "no special expertise", whose inadequate translation make even lead to the death of people. Who knows??

Is THAT what clients want? It will certainly give them a few headlines.
Starving the real people in the end will force them to "recruit the crew for a space shuttle from a pool of cheap physical laborers with no special expertise". It will definitely cut costs, but will it benefit the space program?


cheap translation?

A colleague has posted something on a mailing list I subscribe to.
Apparently I am not the only one addressing certain topics.
Since I consider my colleague's message very valuable, I take the liberty of reposting most of it here:

Dear Colleagues,
Aren't you tired of people telling you:
"Now that there's Google Translation, your job must be easy"
"Why is your translation so expensive? Someone did the last 10 pages for 20€"
"My secretary is bilingual. She says you're wrong" etc... etc...

I thought we should spread the message to the general population, that translation is a job (amazing, isn't it?)
and that you get what you pay for.

Check it out here and let me know what you think:

Do you have ideas for new slogans I could use?


Nikon D800 Technical Specifications
Nikon D800 Technical Specifications (Photo credit: Marco Crupi Visual Artist)
Filename (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


* 郵便局の窓口で「速達」を頼むが、速達料金を安くしろと議論するか。
* 深夜のタクシー乗って「深夜割増料金」に関して文句言うか。
* 翻訳を依頼するクライアントが製造/販売している製品、提供するサービスは特定の価値/値段があると判断しているはず。その半額で売れば倒産する。
* 例えば Nikon がプロようのカメラを通常20万円で販売。Nikon で問い合わせて、この商品は何で9800円で売らないか。Nikon は「はい、喜んで」と答えると思われるか??
* クライアントが製造している製品は例えば通常3週間が掛かるようであれば、同じものを1週間で作れと言われたと同時に通常の半額でやれだったら - 喜んで引き受けるか。* クライアントの社長はベンツ(腕時計なら Rolex 等)を乗っていると想定する。それでは何で格安の中国製海賊製品より何百万もする「本物」を選ぶでしょうか。

それでは「非常に短い期間でかつ高品質の**格安**翻訳」と言うイメージを残してしまうならば - 少なくとも私は製品を見ればそのように反応する - 製品そのものも信用できないやすものだと考えられる。
* それが得策だと思われているだろうか。余り賢くない。


ヴィジョン (= vision; 直接「視力」でもあり、将来をある程度見通せる能力)のない対応だとしか思えない。ま、携帯電話の時代では皆さん(!)常に目から30cmしか離れていない画面をしか見ない時代。

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