Category Archives: Japanese Study: Advanced

The correct way to describe a negative state using そう (sou): “なさそう” vs. “なそう” (nasasou vs. nasou)

Sometimes in languages there are grammatical rules which are tricky or obscure such that even native speakers have difficulty with them. One example in English could be comma usage (although depending on who you ask, there is some subjectivity involved there). In this article, I’d like to go over an aspect of Japanese grammar that… Read More »

Japanese SF Novella translation: “Two of Six: A Captain’s Dilemma” by Tomohito Moriyama [Chapter 1, Part 1]

I’m always on the lookout for great Japanese works of fiction that I can translate in order for English-speakers to appreciate them as much as I did. The other day I came across one such work, the SF novella “Two of Six: A Captain’s Dilemma” (original title “6分の2”)by Tomohito Moriyama (森山智仁). I was fortunate enough… Read More »

Japanese Literature Review: 「猫を抱いて象と泳ぐ」 (Swim With an Elephant, Embracing a Cat) by 小川洋子 (Yoko Ogawa): A nostalgic ode to chess

Yoko Ogawa (小川洋子) is an award-winning Japanese author who has written over 30 works, with at least eight of them translated into English so far. She is perhaps most known for her novel “The Housekeeper and the Professor” (博士の愛した数式) which was also made into a movie. I read Ogawa’s book “Little Bird” (ことり) last year… Read More »

Japanese Site Review: audiobook.jp (Japanese audiobooks)

While I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving print books (including E-books), Japanese audiobooks have some significant advantages. For a non-native speaker, I get extra information on the nuances of the text, especially for dialogue when there is a good voice actor. I don’t have to look up unfamiliar or forgotten Kanji characters, and I… Read More »

Learn Japanese with a famous Youtuber: Hikakin (ヒカキン)

Compared to learning a foreign language in an environment where that language is spoken daily, learning away from such an environment has several disadvantages. In fact, that was one of the original themes of this blog. (I’m mostly talking from experience about Japanese here, but I believe this applies to other languages) Besides cultural things… Read More »

Japanese literary expression:「〜かのように」 (~ka no you ni)

If you read enough books in Japanese you’ll start to come across certain expressions and grammatical patterns that are used frequently in certain genres. In this post, I’d like to go over the expression 「〜かのように」 (~ka no you ni) which I’ve found to be pretty common in Japanese literature. Before I discuss the pattern itself… Read More »

Be a better translator: 10 tips to take you to the next level

Here are some tips to help you take your translation skills to the next level: 1. Develop your language sense Your sense of language, for both the source and target languages, is one of the core things that drives the quality of your translations. 2. Read often Reading from a diverse set of authors (again for… Read More »

Promising Translators 2018 Entry Feedback: Kisetsu’s translation of “Morning” (by Osamu Dazai)

As a bonus to those who have participated in STJ’s first translation contest, Promising Translators 2018, I have offered to give feedback on the entries. This is the third post where I will give such feedback (this is the first, this the second). Please be aware that much of what I will say in these posts… Read More »

Promising Translators 2018 Entry Feedback: Jennifer O’Donnell’s translation of “The Professor of Magic”

As a bonus to those who have participated in STJ’s first translation contest, Promising Translators 2018, I have offered to give feedback on the entries. This is the second post where I will give such feedback (here is the first). Please be aware that much of what I will say in these posts has a… Read More »

Promising Translators 2018 Entry Feedback: Weining Yu’s translation of “Magic”

As a bonus to those who have participated in STJ’s first translation contest, Promising Translators 2018, I have offered to give feedback on the entries. This is the first post where I will give such feedback. Please be aware that much of what I will say in these posts has a subjective element, and of… Read More »