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Tips for English Translators

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Post #777143

6:05 am, May 21 2020
Posts: 36

Hi! I've noticed just a few odd things in translation and just thought I'd provide a few tips that might help:

People sharing a home who AREN'T in a romantic relationship= roommates/rooming together
People sharing a home who ARE in a romantic relationship= lovers/living together

Living together/cohabitating/rooming: I often see stories in which gay couples are described as "cohabitating" when the story is trying to avoid the idea that they're together romantically in the beginning. However, at least in American English, the word "cohabitating" is almost NEVER used. Instead, for those who live together, but aren't romantic, we typically say they're roommates; they ROOM together. Whether they share a dorm room or a whole house, the description still applies. But, it is true that Americans often use "living together" to mean a pair romantically sharing a home.

Suki= like, even in romantic relationships.
Daisuki = I like you a lot
Aishiteru= love
As long as the author makes a point of using these words, most American readers will understand the importance of their difference.

Like vs. love: Some might be surprised to learn that American culture also shares the concept of not saying "I love you" to a romantic partner easily. A number of dramas actually use this as a plot point. I'm guessing some other cultures may have thought Americans express their love easily because many of us are not shy about saying that we love things or friends. However, in romantic relationships, many American couples still go through the process of saying "like" until they become intimate/serious enough to say "love."

Fujoshi is a female who enjoy BL (boys' love) MEDIA.

Defining "fujoshi": Fujoshi is a female who enjoys BL (boys' love) media. Fujoshi is NOT necessarily a female who enjoys gay romance between men. The reason we should make this difference clear is because there are fujoshi who find male romantic relationships acceptable in fiction, but not in real life. This is important because it reflects Japanese culture (and other Asian cultures who've adopted the term or something similar) and the ongoing struggles of their LGBTQ+ communities for acceptance despite the popularity of gay depictions in media 🙁

Brake= a mechanism that stops a vehicle
To brake= to slow or halt
To break= to snap, destroy, crush, mangle, etc.

Brake vs. break: A "brake" is a mechanism to slow a vehicle. "To brake" means to slow or stop. "To break" means to snap, crush, destroy, mangle, etc. "Break" is also rarely a noun. The way I remember this is by using the 'e' in each word. The 'e' acts as a brake. In the word "brake," the 'e' stops and completes the word, right? But, in the word "break," if the 'e' stops the word, it BREAKS the word (bre 😮 ak).

When deciding whether the right word is "bear" or "bare, if you can use the word to describe a bear, use the spelling that matches the animal. If you CAN'T, use "bare." 😉

Bare vs. bear: "To bare" means to expose, reveal, etc. because "bare" means "to be naked, uncovered." "To bear" means to endure, survive, withstand, or carry. The way I always remember it is by thinking of the actual animal, the bear: Most bears aren't naked 🤣 , BUT they are known to endure harsh climates and carry things like fish or logs.

Hopefully these few tips will be of some kind of help to someone! And, thank you to all the translators out there! It's hard work, but so many, MANY of us appreciate it!

Bonus tip:
Keep measurements consistent. For as much as Americans are teased about not using the metric system, we are at least consistent in the system we do use. (There is an exception, but only when writing scientific papers, which would ideally be read by international scientists.) But, we do understand that other parts of the world use the metric system; SO, when translating, either convert to imperial units or stick to metric. DO NOT MIX (this is a UK English thing, and I'm absolutely floored they do not get more grief for that insanity 🤣 ).

Last edited by Carmella at 12:10 pm, May 21

Post #777237

9:20 am, May 25 2020
Posts: 36

Additional notes:


-Junior highs and private schools exist in the US and North America in general. So, the idea that a high school might only contain grades 10-12 is NOT actually a foreign concept. However, this means that labeling students "freshman" through "senior" is difficult. The EASIEST solution is to simply retain the year-numbering system, i.e. "first-year," "second-year," etc. Most readers will get it in time or assume the education system is unique to the place (see Harry Potter).

-But, what about "middle school third-years"? You've just answered the question.

-Alternates for "retard" (because, no, you not have to use this word unless the subject of the story actually refers to mental handicap):


-Alternates for "save face/give face/face" (the most famous example in American English that I can think of for this phrase is from Madonna's "Vogue" when she's referring to a 1930's actress; so, yeah, the phrase is a little old-fashioned):


Last edited by Carmella at 10:03 am, May 25

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