Posts tagged: BoA

BoA – “be with you.” Detailed Translation, Part 3

As before, I’ve copied the text of the stanza for this week, both kanji and romanization (ローマ字, rōmaji), from the original post.

09 いつか ねぇ、交わした約束をちゃんと
10 憶えていますか?
11 いつか きっと 叶えられる
12 そう信じてもいいよね…
13 あなたとだから 今
14 わたしはここにいる

09 itsuka   nee, kawashita yakusoku wo chanto
10 oboete imasu ka?
11 itsuka   kitto   kanaerareru
12 sou shinjite mo ii yo ne…
13 anata to dakara   ima
14 watashi wa koko ni iru

Line 9: itsuka basically means “someday,” nee is the particle that asks for agreement while suggesting that disagreement would be very unexpected; it also can be used as an interjection of “hey” or “come on,” as it is used here. kawashita is the direct, perfect tense conjugation of the verb kawasu, which means “exchange (messages, greetings, etc),” and as always, the direct-style allows it to modify the noun phrase that follows it, which is yakusoku, or “promise,” here (note that the count of nouns in Japanese is not specified). wo is the indirect object marker, and chanto means something along the lines of perfectly/exactly.

Line 10: oboete imasu is the te-form of oboeru, meaning “remember,” and the distal-style, imperfect aspect form of iru (see footnote #3 of the first post in this series). ka is, of course, the question particle. Over these two lines, then, we have “Someday, hey, will [you] remember, clearly, the promise(s) we exchanged?”

Line 11: We saw itsuka at the beginning of this verse, kitto means “surely,” and kanaerareru is the potential/passive (the two happen to look the same) form of kanaeru, which means “grant (a request, wish, etc).” (The “potential” form is “be able to,” and the “passive” form is, well, passive. For example, the potential form of the verb “protect” would mean “be able to protect,” and the passive form of the verb would mean “protected.”)

Line 12: sou refers to a previously mentioned concept or manner1. shinjite mo ii is a construction that takes the form of te-form + mo (a particle that roughly means “also”) + ii (”good”), and it asks for permission to do the verb, which is shinjiru (”believe”), here. yo is the sentence-final particle that indicates that an assertion or an introduction of new information into the conversation is being made, and ne is the sentence-final particle that asks for agreement; here ne serves to soften the bluntness of the yo. “Is it okay to feel that way, do you think, probably?”

Line 13: anata is a form of singular, second person address, most commonly used as a term of endearment. to is a connective particle, roughly translatable as “and,” dakara is a combination of the direct-style, imperfect form of the copula and kara, which means “because,” here2. ima (we have seen this kanji earlier) means “now.”

Line 14: watashi is the first-person, singular pronoun, wa is either the topic particle or a contrastive particle (emphasizing that it is the noun being referred to, and not some other possible noun). koko is a demonstrative that means “here,” ni is a location particle (see footnote #4 of the second post), and iru is “exist,” for animate nouns only. Thus we have “Because [it's] with you, now, I am here.”

All together, then!

Someday…hey, will you remember, clearly, the promise(s) we exchanged? Someday, I’m sure, [a/my/our] wish will be granted; is it okay to feel that way, do you think, probably? Because [it's] with you, now, I am here.

1 This is actually rather difficult to explain; if my explanation here made it clear for you, please let me know. My only recommendation, otherwise, is to try to find more uses of it and infer the meaning for yourself.

2 kara has a number of usages.

“From” [use after a location]
bosuton kara kuru.
[I] come from Boston.
Ordering (”Then”) [use after the te-form of a verb]
tabete kara, toshokan ni iku.
After eating, I (will) go to the library.
tabeta kara, tabetakunai.
Because [I] ate, [I] don’t want to eat.

BoA – “be with you.” Detailed Translation, Part 2

And this week, we’re on to the second stanza! For quick reference, I’ve copied the second stanza, both kanji and romanization (ローマ字, rōmaji), from the original post.

05 一歩ずつ 重ねては
06 今日と云う日が 明日に変わる
07 ふたりでいる時間が
08 わたしには あたりまえなの

05 ippozutsu   kasanete wa
06 kyou to yuu hi ga   ashita ni kawaru
07 futari de iru jikan ga
08 watashi ni wa   atarimae na no

Line 5: ippo is composed of the kanji meaning “one” and “step,” respectively, and zutsu roughly translates to “each,” so we have here “each step,” more or less. kasanete is the te-form of the verb kasaneru, which means “pile up” or “repeat” — one of the meanings of the original Chinese characters is “repeat” (the other is “heavy”/”serious”) — so I might translate this line as “the repeating of each step” plus a topic marker1.

Line 6: kyou is composed of the kanji meaning “now”/”this” and “day”/”sun,” so kyou means, of course, “today.” The next word, to, is a particle that functions as a verbal quotation mark (with which って — tte — can be used interchangeably), so in conjunction with the following verb yuu, which means “say” (and can also be written using the characters 言う and/or pronounced iu), to yuu refers to kyou as what is being quoted/called. (Yes, I know that didn’t quite make sense. Bear with me and keep reading.) Because yuu is the direct (a.k.a. dictionary) form of the verb (which implies that it is direct-style2 and imperfect/unfinished3), it can modify the noun phrase that follows, which it does here. The noun phrase that follows kyou to yuu is hi, which is the same kanji as the second one in kyou and which I already stated means “day”/”sun.” Thus, the noun phrase kyou to yuu hi means “the day called ‘today.’”

Line 6 (continued): The ga that follows that noun phrase is a subject marker, which means that it is the subject that is carrying out the action of the verb that follows. Ashita, which is made from the kanji meaning “next” or “bright” — here it means “next” — and the kanji for “day”/”sun,” means “tomorrow.” Ni is a direction/destination particle here4, so, armed with the knowledge that the verb kawaru means “change” gives us the meaning of this line: “The day called ‘today’ changes into tomorrow.”

Line 7: Futari is normally written using the kanji “二人,” which mean “two” and “person,” respectively. Here, de is the te-form of the copula5, iru is the dictionary form of “to be” for animate objects (as opposed to aru, which is “to be” or “to have” for inanimate objects), and again, because it is the direct form, it modifies the noun phrase that follows, which, here, is jikan, meaning “time” as a period of time. This gets us “the time during which we were two people” or “the time during which we were a pair, together.” Finally, the line ends with the subject marker ga.

Line 8: Watashi is the first-person singular pronoun, ni is an indirect object particle here4, and wa is a contrastive particle that expresses that “to me” (the preceding phrase) might contrast with “to you,” for example. Atarimae is best translated as “natural” or “ordinary,” na is a pre-nominal form6 of the direct, imperfect form of the copula (da), and no is a nominalizer, i.e. a word that might be translated as “one” (e.g. “the black one,” “a pointy one,” “a heavy one,” etc). Thus, I might translate this line as “to me, at least, it was a natural one (period of time).”

So, to sum up this stanza:

Even as these footsteps repeat one by one, the day called “today” changes into tomorrow. The time when we were together was, to me, at least, a natural one.”

1 Topic markers! Topic markers are a wonderful thing, if you know how to use them correctly. Japanese is what linguists call a pro-drop language, which mostly means, to the general public, that there is not always an explicit subject in each and every sentence. It is perfectly acceptable to say “ate already” in the middle of an ongoing conversation, and it could mean “he ate already,” “I ate already,” etc. The reason for this is because each conversation has an accepted topic, which is generally marked by the topic particle, and the sentences/verbs in that conversation refer to that topic, which can range from “that new restaurant that opened down the street” to “my parents” to “the terrible-looking new hairdo the weird girl in our linguistics class has,” etc.

2 Japanese has two different styles called direct/blunt and indirect/distal. Basically, distal verbs used at the ends of sentences are more polite because they are indirect, or less confrontational. It is important to note that not all appearances of direct verbs means that the overall style of the sentence is direct; direct expressions can be used in a variety of ways, including modifying the noun phrase that directs follows it (as we have seen in this post), and only the style of the final clause of the sentence is used to determine the sentence’s overall style.

3 Similarly to other East Asian languages, Japanese does not have a complicated system of tenses for time in the same way that, for example, romance languages do. (Romance languages usually come with a past tense, an imperfect tense, a present tense, a future tense, and then some.) What Japanese has, instead, is a tense that indicates completion (the “perfect” tense/aspect) and a tense that indicates incompleteness (the “imperfect tense/aspect”). For example, if I have finished doing something, I would use the perfect tense, but if I am currently/planning to do it, I would use the imperfect aspect.

4 There are a number of different uses of ni. It can be used to mark a location, a destination/direction, an indirect object, a passive agent, or a purpose.

daigaku ni iru.
[I] am at college/university.
toshokan ni iku.
[I] (will) go to the library.
Indirect object
kyouju ni kureta.
[I] gave [something] to the professor.
Passive agent
ka ni sasareta.
[I] was bitten by a mosquito.
yoku nari ni renshuu suru.
In order to become better, [I] practice.

5 Copulas are helping/passive/linking verbs that connect a subject to a predicate. “To be” is an English example of a copula. A good way to distinguish between an action verb and a copula is to try replacing the verb with the appropriate form of “seems”; for example, “jump” in the sentence “John jumps into a ditch” is an action verb, while “look” in the sentence “John looks enthusiastic about this project” is used as a copula. Common forms of the copula that are useful to know follow:

  • da – direct-style, imperfect aspect
  • desu – distal-style, imperfect aspect
  • datta – direct-style, perfect tense
  • deshita – distal-style, perfect tense
  • darou – direct-style, volitional mood (roughly translated as “it’s probably … “)
  • deshou – distal-style, volitional mood
  • dete-form
  • (see footnote #6 about pre-nominal forms)

6 There are two pre-nominal forms of the copula in Japanese: na and no. Which of the two forms is used is determined by the noun phrase that precedes it: a subset of nominals (a term I use to refer to a grammatical class of words that are conjugated in a particular way, as opposed to verbals and adjectivals) that usually correlate with words that English-speakers use as adjectives are known as na-nominals. These pre-nominal forms are used to connect two noun phrases, such as “I” and “book” in watashi no hon, which means “my book,” or “beautiful” and “flower” in kirei na hana, which means “[a/the] beautiful flower.” (More on the other usages of no to come….)

BoA – “be with you.” Detailed Translation, Part 1

So I kind of feel like me just doing translations is kind of boring, both for me and for you. Sure, I spend a good amount of time per translation, but it’s hard to let the reader into the process without dumping vast amounts of time into it. Thus, I have decided to focus on a smaller portion of a song and explain the translation process as thoroughly as I can for each installment of this “detailed translation.” Hopefully it will aid people somewhat more in their Japanese-learning process than plain ol’ translations do. Here begins part one.

First off, I found the lyrics for this song online, and then transcribed a romanized version using the Hepburn romanization system. I preserved the spacing, and capitalized the romanization where katakana is used in the lyrics. The spaces between “words”1 are my own, to increase readability, and I have romanized the topic particle (は), the subject particle (が), and the direct object particle (を) as wa, ga, and wo, respectively. I also added line numbers to make future references to various lines easier. Inline romanizations of Japanese words are italicized.

01 さくら舞う この道を
02 あなたと並び 歩いている
03 風はまだ肌寒い
04 けどなんかシ・ア・ワ・セ

05 一歩ずつ 重ねては
06 今日と云う日が 明日に変わる
07 ふたりでいる時間が
08 わたしには あたりまえなの

09 いつか ねぇ、交わした約束をちゃんと
10 憶えていますか?
11 いつか きっと 叶えられる
12 そう信じてもいいよね…
13 あなたとだから 今
14 わたしはここにいる

15 足を止め 立ち止まり
16 あなたは空を あおいでいる
17 風に包まれながら
18 穏やかな表情で…

19 一秒って ほんとうは
20 とっても長い 時間なんだと
21 そばにいてくれるから
22 そう感じられるの きっと

23 いつか ねぇ、交わした約束をちゃんと
24 憶えていますか?
25 いまは まだ 叶えられて
26 いない約束さえ
27 大切なの だから
28 あなたと共にいる

29 この時代 思いどおりの
30 希望なんて持てない
31 そのたびに 不安になるけど
32 あなたがいてくれるから…

33 いつか ねぇ、交わした約束をちゃんと
34 憶えていますか?
35 いつか きっと 果たせたとき
36 もっと深い絆
37 手に出来るの だから
38 ふたりはここにいる

01 sakura mau   kono michi wo
02 anata to narabi   aruite iru
03 kaze wa mada hadasamui
04 kedo nanka SHIAWASE

05 ippozutsu   kasanete wa
06 kyou to yuu hi ga   ashita ni kawaru
07 futari de iru jikan ga
08 watashi ni wa   atarimae na no

09 itsuka   nee, kawashita yakusoku wo chanto
10 oboete imasu ka?
11 itsuka   kitto   kanaerareru
12 sou shinjite mo ii yo ne…
13 anata to dakara   ima
14 watashi wa koko ni iru

15 ashi wo tome   tachidomari
16 anata wa sora wo   aoi de iru
17 kaze ni tsutsumare nagara
18 odayakana hyoujyou de…

19 ichibyou tte   hontou wa
20 tottemo nagai   jikan nan da to
21 soba ni ite kureru kara
22 sou kanjirareru no   kitto

23 itsuka   nee, kawashita yakusoku wo chanto
24 oboete imasu ka?
25 ima wa   mada   kanaerarete
26 inai yakusoku sae
27 taisetsu na no    dakara
28 anata to tomo ni iru

29 kono jidai   omoi doori no
30 kibou nante motte nai
31 sono tabi ni   fuan ni naru kedo
32 anata ga ite kureru kara…

33 itsuka   nee, kawashita yakusoku wo chanto
34 oboete imasu ka?
35 itsuka   kitto   hataseta toki
36 motto fukai kizuna
37 te ni dekiru no   dakara
38 futari wa koko ni iru

And with that, we’re on to the actual translation!

Line 1: sakura can mean a number of things, but here it likely refers to cherry blossoms. Mau is a verb that perhaps desires to be translated as “dance” or “flutter” in this context, so sakura mau is a sentence saying that the sakura blossoms are fluttering/dancing (in the air). Kono is a demonstrative that refers to “this $noun” (which is necessarily closer to the speaker than the addressee, as opposed to “that” that is closer to the addressed party than the speaker — sono — or “that over there” that is not particularly close to either party involved in the exchange — ano), and the $noun is not implied here; kono (as well as sono and ano) must be followed by $noun. The noun that follows kono here is michi,2 which refers to a path, a street, etc. Finally, wo is the direct object marker, so here it indicates that “this street/road/path” is the direct object of whatever verb follows.

Line 2: anata is a term of address for the second person, although most Japanese speakers and dictionaries will also add the information that it is most commonly used as an affectionate term of address between spouses, especially from the wife addressing the husband. to is perhaps best translated as “and”, and narabi is a noun that means “line” or “row.” aruite is the te-form3 of aruku (歩く), meaning “walk,” and combined with the imperfect (uncompleted) form of the verb iru, meaning “be,” aruite iru means that the subject of the verb is currently walking (or plans to be in a state of “walking” in the future3). Thus, kono michi wo anata to narabi aruite iru is best translated as “[I] walk in line with you on this path” (the “I” is implied).

Line 3: kaze means “wind,” wa is the particle that marks the topic of the sentence, mada means “still,” and hadasamui is an adjective that can be translated as “chilly” or “unpleasantly cold.” Basically, “the wind is still unpleasantly cold/chilly.”

Line 4: kedo is best translated as “but” or “however,” nanka is an expression that might be translated as “something like,” and shiawase means “happiness.” I should note that here, shiawase is written in katakana, which gives the word some special emphasis, since it would normally be written using a combination of kanji (漢字, literally “Chinese character”) and hiragana (平仮名, one of the Japanese syllabaries). Hence, interpreting this with the previous line, we get something like “the wind is cold, but somehow [we have] happiness.”

Thus, we have our translation of the first stanza:

The sakura blossoms flutter; I walk in line with you on this path. The wind is still cold, but somehow we have happiness.

1 Japanese, like Korean, is an agglutinative language, which means that most words are formed by joining morphemes together, and thus it is not always clear where words begin and end; by some metrics, most sentences are composed of only a few words, but these sentences can also be said to contain a multitude of morphemes that can be broken apart, analyzed separately, and combined in other ways to create other meanings. Thus, in some places I have broken the morphemes apart as much as I can in order to explain them separately in the future, while in other places I have left the words alone and will explain the entire word in a giant chunk because it’s not necessarily useful to understand the parts of the word out of context.

2 Michi (道) is not to be confused with machi (町/街). The kanji for michi refers to a path, a way (think “The Dao”, as in Daoism — or “The Tao”, as in Taoism, depending on your romanization system), while the first possible (and preferred) kanji for machi refers to a raised path between fields and the second possible kanji for machi refers to a street. In Japanese usage, however, while machi can also be used to refer to a street, it is more commonly used to indicate a town.

3 The te-form of a verb is sometimes called the gerund form, even though this is not entirely accurate. For now, let’s just say that one usage is to follow the te-form with another verb to indicate that the second verb follows the first (kind of — tabete kuru, the te-form of taberu (”eat”) combined with kuru (imperfect form of “come”), is roughly translated as “I will eat and come,” where the act of “eating” occurs before or during the act of “coming” but is definitely finished before one’s arrival at the intended destination). When the te-form is followed by iru, the imperfect form of “be”/”exist” (for animate objects only), it is intended that the subject is currently performing the first verb (e.g. tabete iru can be thought of as “currently in the act of eating”); it is also possible for the intended meaning to be that the subject is planning to be in the state of performing the first verb in the future — the imperfect tense is not always terribly specific, and context is often helpful in determining meaning.

Asian Artists in America

So apparently BoA released an album in Japan in February, and I didn’t even notice. It’s been two years since her last studio album in Japan, and she’s planning to release an album in Korea later this year, which will be five years since her last album there. The reason that she’s been (relatively) “inactive”1 in Asia? She released an album in the States early last year.

She seems to have stretched herself quite thin, working in at least three countries. She collapsed after an awards show in Korea and was generally suffering poor health around 2006, if I remember correctly, because she was working too hard, promoting both “Girls On Top” and “Outgrow” at the same time.

How successful are these crossover attempts, though? When Hikki (宇多田光, utada hikaru) was about to crossover, back in 2004, she pointed out that there aren’t really any Asian artists in the U.S. Her first album, titled “Exodus,” was not the right album to crossover with, though. The melodies she used seemed like they wanted to be expanded instead of squeezed into one song together, in general; for example, “Kremlin Dusk” featured four lovely melodies, but consolidated into one song, the song felt less cohesive. She also used lyrics that were sometimes not what her fans were used to (many of the songs centered around sex) or not what fans of the American music industry might be used to (might I point out the lyric “I need someone who’s true, someone who does the laundry too”).

Her second crossover album (but not second studio album — she released an album, “Precious,” when she was just 15), titled “This Is The One,” released March 14, 2009 (three days before BoA’s album). It was much more well-suited for American audiences, featuring more R&B melodies and catchy hooks, although a few of the songs were still a little on the Hikki-is-still-trying-too-hard-to-stand-out-and-be-unique side of things. The lyrics were also more toned down, less explicit, but still had enough of the sex appeal that I think Hikki was trying to capture in her first album as a change from her Japanese albums written for her Japanese audience. She remarked, in an interview, that she was surprised that people really liked “Apple and Cinnamon” as much as they did; apparently many fans informed her that it was their favorite song off of the album.

Three days after the release of Hikki’s second crossover album, BoA’s first crossover album hit the market. It was not as heavily marketed as it could have been, but her fans generated a lot of interest and roped in many new fans in the U.S. (I actually showed one of the “Eat You Up” music videos to my lab partner who then became obsessed with it, and later he told me that he and some of his frat brothers watched the video on the order of fifty times in one night.) Her album was placed in the “dance” section at music stores when it hit the shelves, and that is definitely what it was: all of the songs had a pretty solid beat and would make pretty good dance music at a club or dance party. Her pronunciation was better than I expected, even in interviews (it’s easier to pronounce words correctly when singing in a foreign language than when speaking in a foreign language), but it’s unclear to me whether it was good enough to impress the American fans she was trying to woo.

(Personally, I think BoA is amazing. One, she’s a good singer. Two, she’s quite a good dancer. Her Japanese dance teachers, who are known for their strictness, have praised her talent and hard work, and the choreographers that have worked with her have expressed amazement at her dancing ability. Three, she’s fluent in Korean and Japanese, speaks conversational English, and has some understanding of Chinese. Four, she’s really hardworking and dedicated to her career.)

Interlude over: I should point out that Hikki has some sort of accent, although it is not Japanese. She is bilingual, having grown up in Tokyo and New York, but she overenunciates her English, which makes her sound non-native despite the fact that she is plenty fluent in English. Anyway, BoA’s album was fairly homogenous in its dance genre, and didn’t have the variety that her fans expected and wanted. Her Korean- and Japanese-language albums have ballads, upbeat dance songs, jazzy songs, R&B songs, etc, allowing her to showcase her singing ability. I think many fans were disappointed that she didn’t show more sides of herself on this album, and she really didn’t give herself a fair chance, marketing only one facet of her many talents.

I’m not sure whether American pop culture is quite ready to accept Asian culture just yet. Here, I feel the need to refer to Maurissa Tancharoen’s “Nobody’s Asian in the Movies”, but this brings us, perhaps, to a slightly different topic than the one I started out with, and it’s late, so I will take my leave and possibly continue this in a linguistic analysis next week.

1 For BoA, “inactive” means that she missed a year in releasing albums, seeing as she’s released a studio album in Korea once a year from 2000-2005, and a studio album in Japan once a year from 2002-2008.

Linguistic Ambiguities

Over IAP, I have decided to teach an introductory Japanese class in addition to my general “Learn Asian” class. For those of you who haven’t heard of “Learn Asian” before, I provide a very basic background in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, and then cross-linguistically analyze them, pointing out similarities and differences. Personally, I found that knowing — or in my case, finding — these similarities and differences help when trying to learn any of the three languages, and especially so when trying to learn more than one.

Anyway, at some point, thinking about my lesson plans, I realized that I really wanted to spend more time teaching the Japanese part of the syllabus, hence the decision to register a new class. Many of you probably know that I listen to Asian music, which is actually how I first developed an interest in the Japanese language (unlike many others who discover Japanese through anime/manga/dramas). Because I am less familiar with anime/manga, I find it hard to bring it to the classroom to capture the students’ attention, so I try to use Japanese music instead. As a teacher, I try to be on the lookout for examples so I can catch them when they occur to me and I don’t have to spend as much time looking for them. Well, I’ve been listening to this lovely song (BoA’s new single, “まもりたい ~White Wishes~”) for some time now, and my brain occasionally latches onto a word or phrase and attempts to pick it apart. If I pick enough of it apart, I may just use it for the class.

I’m sure many of you are aware that the internet is a Big Place where many people post their thoughts and works, and that some of these works are translations. I set off in search of a translation of this song, and found that I disagreed with the translation in several places: one was a misinterpretation of a verbal conjugation, another seemed like the translator confused one word for another. That is, the translation was “I want to keep it, I will keep it,” while I would have translated those two words as “I want to protect you, I am protected.”

There are actually three discrepancies here. One is the verb “keep” versus “protect,” another is the use of the future tense versus the present tense, and the last is the use of active voice versus passive voice. Working backwards: I believe that the third discrepancy is a confusion of verbal conjugation, and the second discrepancy is due to lack of clearer distinction between present and future in Japanese; Japanese mostly distinguishes clearly between the present and the perfective aspect. Now the first discrepancy…that’s interesting.

…Actually, re-reading over the translation, I think there are more problems with it (of course there are). And so far I’ve only talked about translating two of the Japanese words, too…. Well, how about I just post the entirety of the translation and go from there?

01 On the day that I thought this would be the last,
02 Came a elevating start which I can talk about now,
03 My palms which your warmth spread and my empty heart,
04 I’m searching for the paths we walked together by connecting our hearts

05 I want to keep it,
06 I will keep it,
07 Even at times we can’t meet,
08 We are becoming stronger with every passing second

09 Like the accumulating sadness starting to melt,
10 Forever, forever

11 I want to keep it,
12 I will keep it,
13 Even at times we can’t meet,
14 We are becoming stronger with every passing second

15 I won’t forget it,
16 How i was reborn after meeting you,
17 I still believe it,
18 That’s why I want to keep it all,
19 I want to keep it all

I’m going to randomly pick this apart, where I am inspired to do so. So starting with lines 5 and 6 (the material I originally quoted above): the original Japanese is “守りたい, 守られてる”, which are conjugations of the verb 守る corresponding to the “I want to” form and the passive en train de form, respectively. Now, what is the meaning of the verb? Well…one translation is “protect,” but the original meaning (that is, the meaning of the word in Chinese, where the kanji was taken from) is something along the lines of “hold” or “take under wing” or “take in”, which makes this translation of “keep” plausible. The specific verb that is most appropriate in the translation thus depends on one’s interpretation of the verb within the overall context of the song.

…After some amount of time trying to figure out where in the world lines 9 and 10 are translated from, I think I finally figured it out: “降り積もる哀しみをそっと溶かすように, いつまでも, いつでも.” For line 9, I mostly have no complaints, but “そっと” does not play a role in the translated line, so the adverb “softly”/”gently”/”quietly” should be added in there. Line 10, on the other hand…I mean, even an individual who doesn’t know a whit of Japanese can tell, with some examination, that “いつまでも” and “いつでも” are not the same, so why are they both translated as “forever”? If the lyricist used slightly different terms that both approximately mean “forever,” a translator should strive to maintain a slight difference between the two translations so that the feel of the lyrics is preserved. Would you agree? With that consideration, I would translate the two phrases as “no matter until when”1 and “no matter when,” respectively.

Jumping back to lines 7 and 8, which are originally written “会えない時間(とき)もずっと, 一秒ずつ私達は強くなれるから,” the first thing that I notice is that the final verb is definitely mistranslated, because the conjugation is the potential conjugation (”to be able to”), and thus line 14 should be, at least in my opinion, translated as “Because each second we can become stronger” (you’ll note that the “because” is also missing from the translation above). Line 13 is missing a translation for the word “ずっと,” which means “forever.” (See, this is why I disapprove of the translation for line 10: because there are other words which are more appropriately translated as “forever” and therefore these nuances in meaning should be preserved in translation, especially when all of the terms are used in the same song/document/whatever.)

Anyway, I think I’m getting tired of picking apart this translation, so I will conclude with a rant about I simply do not understand why the website provides on-readings for kanji that do not appear next to other kanji, because kanji that stand alone like that are more frequently read using the kun-reading. This is clearly something that needs to be changed in their transliteration algorithm. Maybe I will send the webmaster an email.

1 I asked whether “no matter until when” was considered English on zephyr, and was told “no.” Soliciting suggestions didn’t seem to help, although we came up with the following “alternatives”: “It doesn’t matter until when” and “No matter for how long” (although the second is somewhat more of a freer translation/interpretation). Hopefully you can extract meaning from “no matter until when” given that it is similar to “no matter when”? They are really only subtly different.

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