Tag Archives: translation

Wash the Pandas

I have an obscene amount of work to do, and that leads to stress, so I woke up ridiculously early this morning and washed the pandas. Part of the stop smoking thing is washing everything, all of the curtains, most of my clothes. I finally got around to the pandas. That’s Rufus on the left. She was bought in Japan but made in the good old U. S. of A., which gives you some idea of how long we’ve had her. The one on the right with the fake bamboo was made in China and doesn’t have a name. Suggestions are welcome.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAI continue to be grateful for the work, but I’m a little overwhelmed. Most of it is stuff I have to do here at the computer, alone in my sweats, trying to ignore the incessant construction going on in the neighborhood. Finding the motivation to keep going is hard. We’ve got math again, and while I don’t enjoy that much, I can break it up with checking scripts and writing projects. Variety is the spice and all that.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERASo I hung the pandas out to dry (by their ears, poor things!) and we went for an early morning wake-up walk. It had been such a long time since I’d done that, I had forgotten what early morning smells like, which is pretty much what the rest of the day smells like, just earlier.

Then back home and back to work. As Rochi says, until the math is done, every day is Monday. But sometimes it helps to wash the pandas.


Frog Blog


I bought a rubber frog yesterday.

I didn’t wake up wanting a rubber frog.

I just saw it in the store and had to have it.

Some days are like that.

I’m not usually an impulse shopper.

I don’t even like frogs very much.

I think it was the instructions, yes instructions, on how to use it, bilingual no less.

Since when does one need instructions to play with a rubber frog?



Oh, I see. It means who you could give it to.

1) Persons who like reptiles (surprising)

OK. I can buy that, but aren’t frogs amphibians?

2) Understandable persons (forgiving)


So I read the Japanese original, which said something like “People who like jokes (because you might make them laugh)”.

What kind of translator are these jokers using? Or is the translator the joker?

And finally, my favorite:

3) Hate persons (we do not take any responsibility)

Well, that’s clear enough.

So now I have a rubber frog. Any suggestions for names? Kermit seems a tad too obvious.

Hardtop Swallow

I am ashamed to admit that even after all these years, I still can’t read or write Japanese very well, so I always work with someone else on translation projects. But I’m still learning all the time. During a sudden spate of translation projects recently, I learned some interesting things.

In a guide to healthy living and longevity, it was suggested that one should “practice good alcohol” when drinking. I don’t know how to “practice” alcohol, and what is “good alcohol”? The opposite of “bad alcohol”? Hooch? Rotgut? The translator explained that it means don’t get rowdy and mean when you drink, so I changed it to, “Don’t be a nasty drunk.” It’s interesting that Japanese gives the concept a more positive spin than English.

Then there was the case of a program about a large company that managed to survive the transition from analog to digital because it didn’t succumb to “big-company-disease”. Huh? Corporate Chicken Pox? Business Beriberi? The translator explained that it means the paralysis that sets in when a company gets large and can no longer make timely decisions or take appropriate action. I changed it to, “Don’t get caught up in red tape,” which is really more about bureaucracy, but gets the point across.

But this was my favorite, although it was more of a typo than an idiom problem. An artist “…drank in the hardtop swallow new normal that came rushing in…” after last year’s earthquake. I wasn’t working directly with the translator this time, so I couldn’t ask. I just stared at it for the longest time, totally flummoxed, trying desperately to imagine what that could possibly mean. And then I finally got it. Change “hardtop swallow” to “hard-to-swallow” and everything falls into place.