Swet Columns

Word Wise: Etc.?


Richard Medhurst

Apprentice translators from Japanese to English soon encounter the など issue. Lists are typically followed by a など, and they may pop up with alarming frequency. Excessive use of “etc.” in English would be considered bad style, but Japanese follows different rules and we must deal with it.

It... more

Essential Weapon for Your Editing Armory

Reviewed by Clare Midgley

Effective Onscreen Editing: New Tools for an Old Profession. 3rd edition. By Geoff Hart. Pointe-Claire, Quebec: Diaskeuasis Publishing, 2016. Printed version: 518 pages, US$33 + shipping from Lulu, ISBN 978-1-927972-04-5; PDF version: 827 pages, US$28 outside Canada, ISBN 978-1-927972-05-2; EPUB version:... more

Word Wise: Covering All the Bases

by Richard Medhurst

When Japanese companies, politicians, or other authority voices seek to reassure, one word they frequently reach for is 徹底. Sometimes it forms an adjective, as in 徹底的な調査, “a thorough investigation.” Depending what it is modifying, “complete,” “comprehensive,” “meticulous,” or “painstaking” are also... more

Romanizing Japanese: Polishing the Fine Points

By Lynne E. Riggs

Whether it’s a book title in a bibliography, a few lines of poetry, or a snippet of dialogue, romanization of Japanese in English text is a skill every wordsmith associated with Japan mobilizes now and then, and though it may seem easy, there are many intricacies the committed editor will want to polish. Close encounters... more

Word Wise: This Month’s Word Challenge

Richard Medhurst

It’s pretty common for loanwords to change their meaning as they enter Japanese from English and these can present translation difficulties. Take チャレンジ, which is used quite differently in its verb form in Japanese, inspiring such errors by Japanese learners of English (and out-of-their depth translators) as “I... more

Word Wise: Spreading the Word

Richard Medhurst

The widespread use of drones could bring economic growth, a recent NHK headline suggested, the Japanese ドローン普及で経済成長を featuring the highly versatile 普及. Given that the word is associated with spread and diffusion, it feels somehow appropriate that it is so prevalent across a range of Japanese... more