Category Archives: Uncategorized

Japanese Word Highlight: 超訳 (chouyaku), the “extreme translation”

Recently when I was reading a book with explanations of old Japanese (for example a Matsuo Bashō poem from over 300 years ago), I came across the word 超訳 (pronounced ‘chouyaku’). I had never seen this word before, despite having prepared this vocabulary list which included a few terms about translation. While the word was not… Read More »

The Making of an Ebook: “Classic Japanese Fairy Tales”

Recently I released the book “Classic Japanese Fairy Tales”, a set of English translations of several short stories by Mimei Ogawa, one of the founding authors of Japanese children’s literature. (You can find the original release post here, or direct Amazon link here) In this post I’d like to give some information about how I made… Read More »

Japanese Vocabulary List: Card and board games

This list is about words related to board (Catan, etc.) or card games (poker, etc.). I hope you find  these useful! If you are interested in Chess specifically, I have a vocabulary list for that here. ルール (ruuru): rule / rules 解説 (kaisetsu): explanation 初心者 (shoshinsha): beginner ボードゲーム (boodo geemu): board game 遊ぶ (asobu): to… Read More »

Notable Japanese word: “Shikumi” (仕組み / しくみ) and some ways to translate it

When learning a foreign language you sometimes come across words that, while mostly translatable on a case-by-case basis, are hard to translate literally to your native language (English in my case) such that all its nuances are carried over. If you can understand the ins and outs of these words you can even make them… 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 »

The mystery of public domain, and getting rights to publish works

For those wanting to get their feet wet in translation, public domain works (those who copyright has expired) are great since they are not only legally, freely available, but translations of them can (potentially) be published without having to get permission from the work’s original author. For those translating from Japanese, Aozora Bunko (青空文庫) is… 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 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 »