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Author Topic: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.  (Read 580 times)

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Offline nyarlathotepTopic starter

So I'm in a game on another site. My character has just arrived in Japan and is being shown around by a guide who is telling him some Japanese phrases such as 'Hajimemashite', etc.

He jokingly asked her what was Japanese for 'You're very beautiful, perhaps we could share a drink sometime?'. She didn't *exactly* answer him.

Now I want later on in the game to surprise both the character and the player by having my character say that very phrase back to her, in Japanese, off his own back.

Anyone care to translate?

I could google it, but the sort of translations you get online aren't 100% linguistically or culturally accurate and since the player is actually from Japan they would probably notice a poor attempt at translation when they saw one.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 08:03:32 AM by nyarlathotep »

Offline Vekseid

Re: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2012, 09:30:58 AM »
I'm not sure if "Anata wa totemo utsukushii desu" followed by a request for a date comes off as culturally apropo, which might explain the reluctance for an exact answer. The subject (watashi (I), anata (you), etc) often gets dropped except in very formal or personal speech. So it implies a level of closeness or aloofness that the following request for a date lacks, if that makes sense.

Someone more familiar with Japanese will probably correct me thoughs.


Offline nyarlathotepTopic starter

Re: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2012, 09:49:25 AM »
Thank's for the quick response. I think the reluctance was the character's in game attempt at teasing ;-)

Anyone know if this is a good enough translation? What about requesting a drink afterwards?

Offline Oniya

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Re: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2012, 10:05:34 AM »
Just as a point - the character is not familiar with Japanese.  It might be somewhat more 'endearing' if his phrasing is off by a little bit (like having the contrast between 'formal' and 'informal' that Veks mentions).  It shows 'I'm interested/persistent enough to track down the right information, but I'm not Max Berlitz.'

If that makes any sense.

Offline kylie

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Re: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2012, 10:09:47 AM »
    Not an expert, but I have studied a fair bit of Japanese and basically, I agree with Veks.  Or at least, it's good enough for a game where I'm concerned.  I'd go with that.  At least the spelling is right, which is better than much of the "Asian" talk hopping around Western forums.

    If you're trying to impress a native speaker player who doesn't expect it, then they will probably at least politely act impressed that you bothered to look it up.  Which is sort of what I would expect some random tour guide to do too, although it hardly means that she would be moved to go out with the guy in itself.  You need a whole lot more going on to explain that part.  Unless you attribute some magical properties to the knowledge/language for these particular characters just to be more romantic than much of reality.   

    Japanese is context-heavy and courting/dating itself is very context-heavy.  The real question is not just what words to use.  A lot of it is when, how, and why...   Background info, and saying that with what going on at the time, in what tone and with what mannerisms attached.  Also what results you expect to get exactly.   If you want some "ideal" translation beyond this sort of thing, you would need to tell us the whole story you mean to form -- including a lot of otherwise unstated stuff.

     It would get into something like this:  When did these people meet, through whom if anyone and how long have they known each other?  Has anything else already happened between them (non-verbal also)?  Is she supposed to be dying to be with him already due to some other factor, or what do you expect her to feel like and why?  How are you going to get around the question of why some foreigner knows this language -- just what sort of background does he have and even if he sounds like "some random Japanese man off the street approaching her," then how  will she be positioned to react to that culturally and personally?

    Not trying to be intimidating.  For a story, you can probably go with Veks' suggestion and be just fine.   :-)

Offline kylie

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Re: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2012, 10:19:16 AM »
    As for a suggestion to go out for drinks, the polite form is basically

Issho ni nomi ni ikimasen ka?
 

[ Together - to drink - won't you go? ]  Never minding the "ni" explanation (particles) but note this is typically taken to mean that "won't you" softens the question.

However, if he's a particularly gruff or rugged sort of guy, and/or he thinks they're already hitting it off and isn't afraid to show informality with her, then maybe change the "ikimasen" to ikanai. 

Offline nyarlathotepTopic starter

Re: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2012, 10:22:07 AM »
O.K. that's a lot of work just for a story. but you've given me a great insight into the Japanese mind there which could be invaluable IRL if nothing else.

The game is actually one based on a plot I posted in the 'Solo Roleplay's Wanted' thread here, but it's being done on another site, not here.

My character is an MI5 agent. He's just arrived in Japan. He knows nothing of the culture and / or language. The other character is a Japanese agent. Japan and Britain are co-operating (grudgingly) on a case to bring down a crime syndicate. She's been assigned as his Japanese liason and she's not too pleased to be given babysitting duties. However, she is teaching him how to conduct himself in her country and how to speak the language with an amazing amount of patience...

I figured he could pull some strings with MI6 and get someone to teach him the phrase without the other character knowing.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 10:25:00 AM by nyarlathotep »

Offline kylie

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Re: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2012, 10:38:39 AM »
     He couldn't just look it up in a translator program or phrasebook?  The only questions then would be, has he been trained to read Romaji - the Roman letter version (not such a huge endeavor really) and/or does it give him a sample of pronunciation that he can mimic effectively with little practice?

Sorry if that isn't appropriate to the story for some reason...  Just thinking.

There are actually some marginally useful phrasebooks put out quite some years ago called Making Out in Japanese and More Making Out in Japanese, with lists of things like this (and some rather more risque stuff too).  (I looked for a PDF, but have yet to find a safe link except maybe torrents.)  I say "marginally useful" because again, it's incredibly shotgun to try and use such phrases one after another without building the relationship in other ways (even small talk and subtle flirting could count). 

I would actually say that is hardly unique to Japanese culture...  Although you may get away with murdering realistic culture in the name of making a super romantic or graphic story with quite a few people on adult forums.  It isn't the end of the world either  ::)   


« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 10:40:10 AM by kylie »

Offline nyarlathotepTopic starter

Re: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2012, 10:42:44 AM »
He *could* It's what I'd do, but as I said he's trying to impress her and we've already concluded that online translations don't impress.

I've kind of simulated having him badly paraphrase Japanese by using phonetics. For example, his opening line to the Japanese agent was "Con-nee-chee-wah, Yuko. Oh-Gen-kee Desh-you kaa?"

That's how I *think* such a phrase would sound. I'm probably way off the mark but it actually works because my character knows as much Japanese as I do which is, frankly, nothing at all!

Offline Oniya

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Re: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2012, 10:45:34 AM »
Kind of a 'James Bond, You Only Live Twice' sort of thing?  In the movie, Bond's unfamiliarity with certain aspects of Japanese society (as depicted in the movie - not even going into plausibility here) allowed for some humor at his expense.

(Genki desu ka is actually one of the few Japanese phrases I've heard pronounced.  It actually comes out 'Gen-kee dess ka' with a hard G.)

Offline nyarlathotepTopic starter

Re: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2012, 10:49:59 AM »
I would actually say that is hardly unique to Japanese culture...  Although you may get away with murdering realistic culture in the name of making a super romantic or graphic story with quite a few people on adult forums.  It isn't the end of the world either  ::)

I get what you are saying there but if IRL I was single and I met someone I liked I might still tell them I think they're beautiful and ask them out for a drink, even if I'd only been speaking to them for like ten minutes or so.

You kind of implied that sort of thing doesn't happen much in Japan.

Offline kylie

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Re: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2012, 10:53:51 AM »
He *could* It's what I'd do, but as I said he's trying to impress her and we've already concluded that online translations don't impress.

I've kind of simulated having him badly paraphrase Japanese by using phonetics. For example, his opening line to the Japanese agent was "Con-nee-chee-wah, Yuko. Oh-Gen-kee Desh-you kaa?"

That's how I *think* such a phrase would sound. I'm probably way off the mark but it actually works because my character knows as much Japanese as I do which is, frankly, nothing at all!

     Really, it sounds like you'll be fine character-wise with it.  That's plenty good (forgets English at the moment).

Although in theory...  [Disclaimer: There is nothing saying you must do this!]  He might find himself tied up for an hour in, "Oh you speak so well!  How long have you been studying Japanese?  Why did you want to learn Japanese?  Do you know kanji?  Can you use chopsticks?  Do you like Japanese food?"  One after another, after another, until he has no time to ask more without interrupting her (Japanese pacing barely allows a breath of silence from the "active" speaker, so once you lose initiative look out.)  This is both stereotypical...  And terribly often realistic. 

    Although being a tour guide, she may have some foreign experience -- or she might not be the most conventional person, or really looking for someone now etc... 

    A possible saving grace to conventional pleasantry marathon.  It's kind of a typical question to also throw in, "Do you like Japanese women?" and how she asks this could be sort of a hint.  Or she could take him on the grand tour of polite cultural inquiries as a total distraction.

Offline nyarlathotepTopic starter

Re: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2012, 10:55:20 AM »
Kind of a 'James Bond, You Only Live Twice' sort of thing?  In the movie, Bond's unfamiliarity with certain aspects of Japanese society (as depicted in the movie - not even going into plausibility here) allowed for some humor at his expense.

(Genki desu ka is actually one of the few Japanese phrases I've heard pronounced.  It actually comes out 'Gen-kee dess ka' with a hard G.)

Exactly! Noted on the pronunciation. I'll use that later on in the game...

Offline nyarlathotepTopic starter

Re: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2012, 10:59:20 AM »
    A possible saving grace to conventional pleasantry marathon.  It's kind of a typical question to also throw in, "Do you like Japanese women?" and how she asks this could be sort of a hint.  Or she could take him on the grand tour of polite cultural inquiries as a total distraction.

How interesting. That was almost exactly her response:-

Quote
Yuko smiled and nodded politely as he attempted to memorize the phrases and when he asked his question she laughed with the hint of a blush, "Oh?  You like Japanese women, do you?"  Her smile changed to grin just as the tram arrived.  He couldn't quite tell if her response was avoidance, teasing or a sign of interest.

Offline kylie

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Re: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2012, 11:06:27 AM »
I get what you are saying there but if IRL I was single and I met someone I liked I might still tell them I think they're beautiful and ask them out for a drink, even if I'd only been speaking to them for like ten minutes or so.

You kind of implied that sort of thing doesn't happen much in Japan.

     I didn't say it does or it doesn't...  Although I suppose it's somewhat less common overall (then we get into age groups, urban v. rural, liberal v. conservative etc.)... 

    I was thinking more about how is this going to flow and if he were paying attention to the culture, why or when would he say that if he did.  A few examples:

He certainly wouldn't have to, in my opinion.  He might find it a little safer to start with small talk than to hop right in.  He might point out he frequents or knows some place/someone she would -- again, pointing out this isn't some obviously one-moment deal is not necessarily unique to Japan.  Or complimenting some skill or something about her appearance/possessions might work as well or better -- although it's risky because some people will instead find that too much "friendly" or "feminine" as I expect you might imagine.  But there are different ways to enunciate a word, like the slightly soft but fake-nonchalant "I think you're really beautiful," as opposed to "I think you-'re rea-lly beau-tiful!" which again might be said gushingly excited or might be fall over itself sloppy.   

   But I didn't realize that you wanted him to actually have very limited ability.  I might have just read it wrong.  I first read it more as, oh he somehow "magically" knew a bunch of Japanese and about cultural expectations, such that all this might help win her over somehow.  So you may not need to worry about too much of it really.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 11:10:12 AM by kylie »

Offline nyarlathotepTopic starter

Re: English to Japanese (in englishy alphabet) translation required.
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2012, 12:07:13 PM »
Thanks for all the great advice guys. Kylie: I've just gotta go looking for that PDF
 XD