Swet Columns

Word Wise: Baffling by Design

整備 Seibi

By Richard Medhurst


There’s a Japanese Wikipedia article on 整備文, a term devised by Canadian author Iain Arthy to refer to the obfuscatory language deployed by elites in his book Oeragata no Nihongojuku 『政・官・財(おえらがた)の日本語塾』(1996). It singles out words like 検討, 施設, and ... more

2016 SWET Financial Report

The SWET treasurers have submitted a financial report of Tokyo and Kansai activities for 2016.

Japan Writers Conference 2016 Remembered

We asked three people who attended the Japan Writers Conference, held October 27 and 28 at Tokushima University, on the island of Shikoku, to share their impressions and notes from the talks they attended. While by no means comprehensive—and we regret not including reporting on all the sessions—our three authors give us lively and diverse... more

Word Wise: Get a Grip

把握 (Haaku)

By Richard Medhurst

Some words look straightforward enough in the context of a Japanese sentence, but are not always easy to translate. Take 把握, consisting of two kanji meaning to “grip” or “grasp.” This latter word, “grasp,” is a common J-E dictionary entry for 把握 as it has the same connection with physically... more

Word Wise: More You, But in a Good Way

らしい

By Richard Medhurst

When people advise “be yourself,” they certainly don’t want you to follow your worst instincts. The aim is to become more “you” in a good way, fulfilling the potential within you. There is a similar aspirational idea in 自分らしい in Japanese. You are “like yourself” in a positive manner. It is one of... more

Teaching Translation

SWET Presentation by Susan E. Jones
Sept. 25, 2016
Report by Don Todt

If you’re a female college student in Japan who’s interested in becoming a translator, Susan E. Jones wants you prepared.

In fact, she’s so intent on accomplishing this goal that she’s spent the last ten years developing a course in teaching translation at Kobe College... more