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The Translator

JAPAN | Wednesday, 7 March 2007 | Views [1532]

So it seems as if I am branching out with regard to employment, because recently I scored my first translating job! I am sure the money will be Y0.00, but if I do a good job, I might get a few free dinners....

There is a noodle bar in my neighbourhood which is really good. I usually go there once or twice a week due to my crappy schedule- they are open sometimes at unsociable hours, which lets me fuel up on the way home. This noodle bar has something of a reputation actually, because as it is on the same street as the Four Seasons Hotel, it sometimes gets famous people in, from Aerosmith, Kiss, and some guy from the Rolling Stones called Chuck, although I don't know who he is(!)

Now that I know the owner quite well, I enjoy not only eating the food, but practising my Japanese. Sato-san uses what I can only describe as "old style" Japanese, so it is very difficult for me to understand, but we do manage to have good conversations, usually about the weather (a favorite topic of the Japanese) or the latest trial going on in Tokyo. Once there was actually a car crash involving a RUV and a taxi right outside, which really gave us something to talk about.....

It was in this setting that she approached me to ask me whether I would translate her menu, as she often gets foreigners in, and the ordering process can get a little tricky. I readily agreed, as I am eager to do anything positive in the neighbourhood. So yesterday I went to the shop in order to take some photos-my plan is to make the menu on the computer, using a small picture of the dish, with the Japanese description above the English translation.

Sounds easy right? I am having a nightmare! When you consider all the different sauces, types of noodles, soups, not to mention the actual dishes themselves, accurately translating them becomes very daunting- My Japanese is improving every day, and at first I was very eager to give this a go, but now I feel as if I have bitten off more than I can chew!

Ill let you know how it goes.....

Tags: Culture

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