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Author Topic: Can anyone help me understand Japanese pronouns?  (Read 11850 times)

Ryusui

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Re: Can anyone help me understand Japanese pronouns?
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2011, 12:22:31 am »
And no machine can inject soul into a translation - those little bits of witty writing, the occasional well-placed pop culture riff, or simply the overall tone of the piece. It takes human judgment to create a work of art, rather than a mere tool for understanding.
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geishaboy

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Re: Can anyone help me understand Japanese pronouns?
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2011, 02:18:18 am »
And no machine can inject soul into a translation - those little bits of witty writing, the occasional well-placed pop culture riff, or simply the overall tone of the piece. It takes human judgment to create a work of art, rather than a mere tool for understanding.

Damn that was well put.

Translation programs, files, machines, databases or whatever you want to call them are all bullshit. There I said it. A certain phrase, word or idiom can have multiple meanings depending on the context, which is true for most languages. The only thing I can imagine translation memory software providing is a 100% chance of screwing something up. The sad fact is that such technology is widely used in the world of translation.

I know I'm ranting here but nothing pisses me off like a bad translation, and the cause of a lot of bad translations is the use of translation software.

BRPXQZME

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Re: Can anyone help me understand Japanese pronouns?
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2011, 02:39:08 am »
Try translating an amount of text that can be measured in “Bibles” (as is the case with some games) without a translation memory and see if you can remember how every single line is related.
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geishaboy

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Re: Can anyone help me understand Japanese pronouns?
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2011, 02:56:58 am »
?

Once you have understood and translated the target text, I would expect you to be able to read a line and understand what means and how it is related. Comitting a "bible" worth of text to memory is a little unrealistic though.

Ryusui

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Re: Can anyone help me understand Japanese pronouns?
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2011, 03:27:32 am »
He's saying that while outright babelfishing an entire script is foolhardy, translation tools can help with large (and I mean huge) projects. Consistency can be hard to maintain with bigger scripts.
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BRPXQZME

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Re: Can anyone help me understand Japanese pronouns?
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2011, 03:28:29 am »
No, you aren’t going to remember every single instance of a particular word, even if it is a plot-significant item or someone’s name, or a running gag. You can try, but you will screw up eventually. The computer, however, can constantly look this up and be there to remind you. It can do a better job than you can, in fact, because not only is it relentless, it can see right around typos and guess by looking at similar entries. And if you aren’t the only translator on a project? Well, either you can read everyone else’s stuff and waste time you could be spending translating or revising, or you could just let the computer remember stuff you have never seen in the first place, and get the job done faster.

Technology is not the enemy. You need to apply the right tool to the right job; computers are very good at doing dumb things very fast. I have not used a paper dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopedia in at least a decade for anything other than dead weight, and that’s because a computer can search not only the headings but the entries in a matter of seconds. I do not copy and paste text that I have already translated and is in the exact same context (which happens a lot in games with alternate story paths); I hit the key sequence that pastes it because the computer already has it ready. Anything that can make a stupid job go faster is something that gives me more time to concentrate on finer (smarter) points that a computer cannot do, such as thinking up a better translation, or making a sandwich.

Machine translation has its place, too. You might think that all the garbage text makes it worthless, but frankly there are lots of translation jobs that human translators don’t generally give a damn about. Documentation for a minor program on the Internet, or celebrity Twitter posts, for example. You won’t be able to hire a pro; pros don’t touch that stuff because it’s tedious and the time it might take them to land the job, start, and stop is longer than the work for which they would get paid, and besides, it’d be expensive for you. You could run it through a service like MyGengo for a couple of bucks, or... you could just run it through Google Translate and get the gist of it. We already have smartphone apps that can OCR text and run it through a machine translator or a dictionary lookup. For all the screwups it can cause, the convenience far outweighs stressing that limited commodity that is human thought. Why waste time if there is an easy way to not waste it?
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geishaboy

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Re: Can anyone help me understand Japanese pronouns?
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2011, 03:55:00 am »
Lots and lots of stuff

You make interesting and valid points.

If you are translating something, I would whole heartedly expect you to remember plot-significant items, names or running gags. Especially names and running gags. If you translate something, especially a story, you should come away remembering the plot, the climax, the characters and their names. I may has misinterpreted what you said, but it sounds like you are saying that you don't need to have a working understanding of something to translate it.

You are right when you say that technology is not the enemy, online dictionaries as well as electronic dictionaries make the whole process much faster, but when it comes to translation the best tool you can apply to the job is your own knowledge and ability. Basically I see using things like memory translation and online translation devices as taking a short cut, cutting corners, borderline on cheating. Having said that I do accept that they can come in handy for some things (translating twitter posts never crossed my mind).

But

Through all my ranting and raving I forgot that you guys are translating video games and aren't (I think) getting paid for it. So yeah, any mistakes that are made through translation software aren't going to hurt anyone and can be corrected at a later date.

BRPXQZME

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Re: Can anyone help me understand Japanese pronouns?
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2011, 04:36:35 am »
If you are translating something, I would whole heartedly expect you to remember plot-significant items, names or running gags. Especially names and running gags. If you translate something, especially a story, you should come away remembering the plot, the climax, the characters and their names. I may has misinterpreted what you said, but it sounds like you are saying that you don't need to have a working understanding of something to translate it.
You will mess up over the course of time left to your own devices and not using every backup mechanism you can get your hands on. I don’t think you can really understand how inevitable it is until you actually do this for yourself and pore over megabytes’ worth of copy. Famous and talented writers have made plenty of unintentional errors in their own stories even after they’ve been past tens of pairs of eyes over long periods of time. No matter your working understanding of the work (and really, I wouldn’t argue that you don’t need one, because not having one is also a big-ass waste of time), any leg up you can get will minimize the number of flaws.

You are right when you say that technology is not the enemy, online dictionaries as well as electronic dictionaries make the whole process much faster, but when it comes to translation the best tool you can apply to the job is your own knowledge and ability. Basically I see using things like memory translation and online translation devices as taking a short cut, cutting corners, borderline on cheating. Having said that I do accept that they can come in handy for some things (translating twitter posts never crossed my mind).
No one is infallible and as far as I’m concerned, people are best off minimizing problems where they can get away with it. Ted Woolsey missed blatant Star Wars references in CT and FF6 despite the fact that no pop-culture savvy person could have survived the 80s and missed a Star Wars reference; with today’s Internet, you can’t not catch these things if you take a couple seconds to check up on something you’re not sure about. Some people (translators, even) see it as a crutch, but I belong to the school of thought that sees this technology as a higher point to stand upon.

Through all my ranting and raving I forgot that you guys are translating video games and aren't (I think) getting paid for it. So yeah, any mistakes that are made through translation software aren't going to hurt anyone and can be corrected at a later date.
This isn’t a given, either. Relationships fall apart. Hackers lose interest. Translators get stuck in faraway lands. Backups get lost. People pass away. And most sadly, people don’t really play the damn thing after a couple years.

Mistakes tend to stay around for a long time, particularly if you don’t go back and take time to to correct them—a phenomenon with which I’m sure many of us are all too familiar. By the time you’re done with certain long projects, you’re sick of them; when you go back to them after a while, you can’t stand knowing how you could make it better with everything you’ve picked up since then but can’t bear to spend more time, and in the end, you often don’t want to fix something you know is a bit off even when you have the opportunity because frankly it’s “good enough”.

In short, I think that your statement on translation software—that it leads to more mistakes—is just not so in the hands of the competent. For those who care to treat things the right way, it is another weapon in the armory. A bilingual dictionary can be full of mistakes (early ones in particular), but even in the absence of any error, they do not and cannot give a complete overview of their two languages. And yet, for every “English as She Is Spoke”, there are thousands of books out there that are perfectly readable heavily using the aid of bilingual dictionaries.
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Ryusui

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Re: Can anyone help me understand Japanese pronouns?
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2011, 05:27:21 am »
I'll admit: I'll throw a sentence through Google Translate if I'm genuinely stumped, and it will on occasion deliver me a fresh new perspective that helps me figure out what's being said.

Before that, though, I'll usually rely on this:

http://alc.co.jp/

I don't know if this counts as a "translation memory" by any stretch, but it is a massive collection of cross-referenced snippets of English and Japanese text you can search for phrases in. Often times it's not meaning that trips me up, but context. (It also functions as a dictionary, but if I need one of those, I'll usually just copy text into JWPce and use the one it has built in.)
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geishaboy

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Re: Can anyone help me understand Japanese pronouns?
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2011, 06:02:53 am »
It's true that mistakes can be made by anyone, but screwing up someting like a Star Wars reference is a lot different from screwing up names and story lines. A human mistake is just that, a mistake, something unintentional. when a machine makes a mistake, it's not really a mistake but is infact what the machine "thinks" is right, and will provide the same mistranslation every time.

Quote
In short, I think that your statement on translation software—that it leads to more mistakes—is just not so in the hands of the competent.

This is probably the best point you have made and it made me think. You are right, in the hands of the competent it's probably not too much of a problem. People that are incompetent tend to not just use but depend on translation software, so when both sides of the coin are useless it doesn't matter if it lands on heads or tails. Personally I don't like the whole conept of online translators and memory translation, but if you can find a way to use them safely and for something like video game fan translations, I guess there is no harm.




April 22, 2011, 06:11:35 am - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
I'll admit: I'll throw a sentence through Google Translate if I'm genuinely stumped, and it will on occasion deliver me a fresh new perspective that helps me figure out what's being said.

Before that, though, I'll usually rely on this:

http://alc.co.jp/

I don't know if this counts as a "translation memory" by any stretch, but it is a massive collection of cross-referenced snippets of English and Japanese text you can search for phrases in. Often times it's not meaning that trips me up, but context. (It also functions as a dictionary, but if I need one of those, I'll usually just copy text into JWPce and use the one it has built in.)

Google translate? Don't do it man. You're killing me.

I sometimes use Space Alc as a thesaurus because it normally offeres a lot of different English definitions of words. Be wary of the example sentences it gives you though, I have been stung before. A much better way to find the context, I have found, is to pop whatever you are searching for into google.jp and see what it yeilds. It can be reasonably time consuming though.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 06:11:35 am by geishaboy »

BRPXQZME

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Re: Can anyone help me understand Japanese pronouns?
« Reply #30 on: April 22, 2011, 08:49:33 am »
It's true that mistakes can be made by anyone, but screwing up someting like a Star Wars reference is a lot different from screwing up names and story lines. A human mistake is just that, a mistake, something unintentional. when a machine makes a mistake, it's not really a mistake but is infact what the machine "thinks" is right, and will provide the same mistranslation every time.
It won’t actually! Given a system that doesn’t learn, okay, but most MT solutions are under constant development. Give Google Translate a passage that it has trouble with. In a few weeks’ time, that passage will have a different wrong translation. The machine is never deluded into thinking it is right; that’s not how AI works. Actually, it is always coming up with something it considers “okay”. Such a suspiciously nondeterministic-sounding approach may sound imprecise, but it’s a good enough approach to fix problems with space probes that are too far away to make contact with Earth at the speed of light, and it’s good enough to make the U.S. Army logistics more efficient than any human can manage.

A TM system, on the other hand... garbage in, garbage out. The translations in a TM are typically human-supplied, so anything erroneous is also human-supplied. My own TM has only my errors in it, if it has any (and only contains text from the very same project, for that matter).

People that are incompetent tend to not just use but depend on translation software, so when both sides of the coin are useless it doesn't matter if it lands on heads or tails. Personally I don't like the whole conept of online translators and memory translation, but if you can find a way to use them safely and for something like video game fan translations, I guess there is no harm.
The thing is, a lot of really professional and competent text translators use these technologies all the time—you could say they depend on them, too. Five years ago, a survey of translators revealed that over 80% used TMs. Four years ago, another survey revealed that of 430 translation job postings, 95% listed TM skills as a prerequisite. These trends have only increased since; studies have shown that the use of TMs increase (human) translator accuracy, throughput, and consistency. Since that time-saving factor makes more money, you have the good, the bad, and the ugly all using it these days.

Professional translators use MT, too. Not for anything coming close to a final translation, of course, but they might use it on, say, large bodies of text when they need a general idea without jumping in (for sanity checking, too, since computers don’t accidentally skip over lines). And many uses for MT have really only begun to be exploited.

So you can dislike these things all you want, but you really shouldn’t knock them. They do solve real problems, and yield helpful results in many places. For people who know what they’re doing, these technologies actually decrease the chance of errors.
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geishaboy

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Re: Can anyone help me understand Japanese pronouns?
« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2011, 09:59:19 am »
People that are incompetent tend to not just use but depend on translation software, so when both sides of the coin are useless it doesn't matter if it lands on heads or tails. Personally I don't like the whole concept of online translators and memory translation, but if you can find a way to use them safely and for something like video game fan translations, I guess there is no harm.
The thing is, a lot of really professional and competent text translators use these technologies all the time—you could say they depend on them, too. Five years ago, a survey of translators revealed that over 80% used TMs. Four years ago, another survey revealed that of 430 translation job postings, 95% listed TM skills as a prerequisite. These trends have only increased since; studies have shown that the use of TMs increase (human) translator accuracy, throughput, and consistency. Since that time-saving factor makes more money, you have the good, the bad, and the ugly all using it these days.

Professional translators use MT, too. Not for anything coming close to a final translation, of course, but they might use it on, say, large bodies of text when they need a general idea without jumping in (for sanity checking, too, since computers don’t accidentally skip over lines). And many uses for MT have really only begun to be exploited.

So you can dislike these things all you want, but you really shouldn’t knock them. They do solve real problems, and yield helpful results in many places. For people who know what they’re doing, these technologies actually decrease the chance of errors.

As a professional (well, para-profession now I guess) translator myself, I find this all very suprising.  I have seldom seen MT software mentioned in Job lisitngs over here and even when I do It's not a prerequisite, it normally means that the company either has it at their office or accepts translations used with MT. I often see microsoft word and language qualifications (TOIEC, JLPT) as a prerequisites.

I do think you are telling me the truth, but I am absolutely shocked at the figures you gave me. Are they specific to North America? You say 95% of job lisitings have MT skills as a requirement? What. The. Fuck. Using MT isn't a skill, it's a skill substitute. If a translator can't get the general idea of what they are translating by just reading it, they don't have much business being a translator at all. I suspect that the increase in useage of MT technology has more to do with companies trying to cut costs than MT being an amazing translation tool.

The last thing I translated was a fact sheet and news letter for a non profit organization that is collecting donations of money and supplies for vitims of the Tohoku earthquake. Do you really think collecting money to fund rescue operations and provide a lifeline to earthquake Vitim's risking radiation is something you want a machine to handle? One mistranslated word in the wrong place could cost someone their life. Ok that last bit is a bit of a stretch and highly unlikely, but I hope you get what I'm saying.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 10:08:01 am by geishaboy »

BRPXQZME

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Re: Can anyone help me understand Japanese pronouns?
« Reply #32 on: April 22, 2011, 10:42:37 am »
TM = Translation memory
MT = Machine translation

I did not wish to insult your intelligence by being unsubtle, but I think you are getting the two confused whenever I mention these separately. It is kind of clear from reading your site that you are much more experienced at the Japanese language than I am, so I kind of suspected this translation dealy is a thing you do.

These technologies are very different in application. TM is not at all equivalent to MT (and I guess MT as a job prereq would go in the field of computer science or something rather than linguistics!). Now, it’s not that MT+postedit for serious work doesn’t exist, but it’s not exactly a big player.

At any rate, though, I’m not kidding about pros using MT in a limited capacity. It’s not so much incorporating MT into a real translation—in fact, it isn’t at all. It’s more like kaizen applied to particular workflows.
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geishaboy

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Re: Can anyone help me understand Japanese pronouns?
« Reply #33 on: April 22, 2011, 11:06:53 am »
TM = Translation memory
MT = Machine translation

I did not wish to insult your intelligence by being unsubtle, but I think you are getting the two confused whenever I mention these separately.

It is kind of clear from reading your site that you are much more experienced at the Japanese language than I am, so I kind of suspected this translation dealy is a thing you do.

These technologies are very different in application. TM is not at all equivalent to MT (and I guess MT as a job prereq would go in the field of computer science or something rather than linguistics!). Now, it’s not that MT+postedit for serious work doesn’t exist, but it’s not exactly a big player.

At any rate, though, I’m not kidding about pros using MT in a limited capacity. It’s not so much incorporating MT into a real translation—in fact, it isn’t at all. It’s more like kaizen applied to particular workflows.

Yep, I think I did get those two mixed up  :-[

You have made pretty good points throughout the whole thread and you don't come across as an idiot either. I think, based on your sheer conviction, I am going to at least get my hands on a translation memory program and play around with it. I doubt I will use it on regular basis, but you have made me see that it might just come in handy.