Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Japanese Thank You - どもありがとう (ございます)

Sometimes, I am reminded that Japanese is often more formal than English. To properly express a given meaning in a given situation, sometimes you need a lot more talking.

Bill Murray's character demonstrates some of what might get lost in translation during an aptly named movie (er, "Lost in Translation", for those of you asleep in your sashimi). During this scene, Bill Murray's actor character (Bob) is trying to shoot a commercial with a Japanese Director.

Here's the scene, translated fully into English. (Thanks Wikipedia!)

Bob: Does he want me to, to turn from the right or turn from the left?

Interpreter (in formal Japanese, to the director): He has prepared and is ready. And he wants to know, when the camera rolls, would you prefer that he turn to the left, or would you prefer that he turn to the right? And that is the kind of thing he would like to know, if you don't mind.

Director (very brusquely, in colloquial Japanese): Either way is fine. That kind of thing doesn't matter. We don't have time, Bob-san, O.K.? You need to hurry. Raise the tension. Look at the camera. Slowly, with passion. It's passion that we want. Do you understand?

Interpreter (In English, to Bob): Right side. And, uh, with intensity.

I'm pretty sure this is spot on.

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/of course, they might just be giving additional instructions here, like "On alternating Juesdays, this walkway is flooded with molten lava. Please use the other exit."


Anonymous said...

ah...merryman, why havent u been updating? :(

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