The Japan Times newspaper has a feature column on Japanese to English translation in which an old newspaper article is presented together with a translated, English text version. I thought I’d try my hand at J>E translation too. The text below is my rendition, which probably doesn’t mean much to my readers who have no access to the newspaper column in question here, but never mind.
I was actually pretty smug about this translation, that is until I compared it to the model answer that was given in the column. My version looks NOTHING like the translation done by an expert, darn!
The problem isn’t that I’m totally hopeless at translation, but that I seem to put too much weight on the profluence of the finished product (don’t snigger, I’m serious). What I find with Japanese J>E translators is that, they seem overly dedicated to reflecting the original text, phrase to phrase. I don’t like doing that. And that is a problem, because if metaphrasing is the norm, wouldn’t my liberal way of paraphrasing look too dangerously unorthodox?
Here is my translation. I have also added a snippet of the model answer that was given in the column. I must admit in advance that I did go overboard with paraphrasing at one point, but then again, I did think it necessary for non-native readers to receive an added insight.
(Translation for an article given in the ‘Communication Cues’ column from the 14th January edition of the Japan Times.)
“An urgent inquiry into bullying found a total of 144,000 cases in schools across the country. In response to the findings, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology issued a notice urging prefectural boards of education to give credit to teachers who, instead of disavowing, take positive measures against bullying that occur in their classrooms.
The ministry called for schools and boards of education to revise the teacher appraisal method whereby the ability of a teacher is assessed simply on the number of reported cases of bullying in class, as this might impair their willingness to tackle the situation. The notice requested for additional criteria to be included so that teachers are given credit on their efforts to take preventative action against bullying, catch early warning signs, and also on their ability to take swift action when problems do arise. Additionally, the notice requested that further surveys be conducted at all schools, and also cooperation be given to local police when necessary.”
(Part of a model translation that was given in the column)
“In the notice, the ministry requested that when evaluating teachers, boards of education and schools should not only focus on whether bullying is happening, or the number of bullying cases, as the target of evaluation, but try to evaluate their efforts in preventing bullying or discovering it at an early stage, and for reacting promptly.”