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Monday, February 18, 2008

Totally Lost in Translation

A new security system was just installed in our office building. To regulate entry, all tenants were issued individual access cards which automatically open the door when swiped through a machine.

We were not notified early on as regards the changes. So, with many other concerns to discuss, we went to the building administrator. It turned out that he only speaks Japanese.

We tried our best to understand what he was trying to convey. My officemate has been here for ten years but his Japanese is at best, conversational. Me? Nada. I knew no Nihonggo and all I could do was try to decipher the person's hand and body language.

To aid the conversation, the building administrator brought out his laptop and there punched sentences in Japanese. The software was supposed to provide translations.

But it turned out to be of no help. We had exchanges through the computer but it was painfully difficult to reach common ground. Frustrated, we just begged for leave and just return with a Japanese speaking companion some other time.

Here’s a sample of how the translation went. The landlord gave this to us for “guidance”.

“About the unlocking of an entrance

When entering from outside, it enters with the card to hand over.

But to lend but one sheet of the card is free of charge.

Since it, one sheet of issue commissions of 3,000 yen depend.

It requests this of another company and it takes time little to being published.

When desired give news.”

I have resolved to learn Nihonggo as fast I could. Until then, I guess I would need to have a more discerning mind to uncover the meanings hidden under the mishmash of words that technology calls translations. Wish me luck.


Keitaro Hanazawa said...

wag na lang kaya kayo pumasok ng building? Hehe! Mag-aral ka na nga para di ka mabenta sa mga Yakuza! Ingat po kayo jan.


Mahirap pag nagsisimula ka pa lang.. but im sure time will come na you'll be fluent with that language.

carlotta1924 said...

kakaloka nga mga translations madalas. sige mag-aral ka na nga ng japanese :D

Islander said...

hemorrhagic and traumatic... i can relate. hehe

Lawstude said...

Panyero pag nasa court ka na lalo ka mahihilo sa translation with so many dialects having different meanings.

I am now in the land the greets "Sawadee Ka". I'll post some pics when I go back home.

aajao said...

i wish we're all linguists. :D

Rochelle said...

Oh this reminds me of some Tagalog jokes my family shares, and we all know my Tagalog is TERRIBLE, but my family will all be laughing and I won't get it. Then they translate and I say, "HUH?" And then they just say, "Something just gets lost in the translation!" It's funny anyways!!

shiera (bisdakbabbles) said...

Translators are unreliable!
I always get these kinds of translation.
I have to do the translation word per word... *sigh*

Gina said...

Ay, ambot! =))

Coldman said...

haik! haik!

ano daw? lol

Mojo Potato said...

hahaha...parang ginagawa ko rin ang mag awkward gestures pag di ko maintindihan ang pinagsasalita sa mga tribung binibisita ko ah...wahahaha

Megumi's Mumblings said...

That's software translation for you! But I'd definitely encourage you to learn Nihonggo, if you're staying around for some time.
How about a blog on Japlish words you see around Tokyo?

Here's wishing you luck on learning Nihongo! (chizu V fingers!)

tutubi philippines said...

i studied nihongoin college but didn't get to use it. just needs practice pwersa ka matuto

ian said...

reminds me of the japanese or korean stationaries my classmates in elementary used to buy and trade... weird english lines like- fabulous dreams in tomato or-something-to-that-effect... good luck sa iyo =]

Nice said...

pag tinanong ka ng "genki des ka?" sagutin mo ng "genki des!"

un lang po ang alam ko. bow. hehehe!

ay naku, astig na sana ang teknolohiya ng opisina nyo kaso lang dapat may instruction in english sa tapat ng swiping machine. hehehe! mahirap din talaga dumepende sa maxadong advanced technology. nakakalurki!

Nika said...

whoa, naalala ko tuloy when i did some esl teaching sa koreans dun sa skul nila dad. xD when they really can't understand what we are trying to say and vice-versa we end up trying to draw it na lang. haha.