Fukuyama City, Hiroshima. Business consulting. Translation. Interpreting. Printing. DTP.
Cross-border ramblings


Beef knitting combustion?

How does a simple plate of grilled beef and hamburger get so complicated as to end up as Beef knitting combustion and hamburg steak? The grilled beef is written in Japanese as a description of how it is cooked. Literally it is “beef – (metal grill) – heated/cooked”. It was translated as: The metal grill is pronounced “ami” in Japanese and this is the same pronunciation as “knitting”. The heated/cooked part used the same kanji that is used for burning things. Whoever translated (used it in its widest of interpretations!) did so word by word and came up with the senseless garbage that you see. The bright side is that …

English that leaves a bad taste in your mouth

This is from a menu at Fukuoka airport. It’s enough for you to lose your appetite. [ Click for a larger image ]

JIMTOF is international?

While my company translates a broad range of fields, a lot of my own translation work involves machine tools, machining centers, and related technology. So, when the “Japan International Machine Tool Fair” is held, I try to attend. Not only is it a good way to meet up with a dozen or so clients in one day, but I also get to see the latest developments and technology. This year I flew out from China (just two nights) to Tokyo for the event. It seemed a lot to do for an exhibition, but it is only held once every two years. The usual players were there and, unfortunately, many of …

Drink menu

This is part of a drink menu from a large Chinese restaurant in Dalian. Two things jumped out at me. First is the fact that the only local beer is in fact a Japanese beer. It is, no doubt, brewed locally, but . . . The second curious item on the menu is “Soda Water (no gas)”. What is soda water if you take the gas out? [ Click for a larger image ]

Whose wife?

Japanese has a complex system of honorifics. This can be a wonderful thing when used correctly, but lead to absolute confusion when misused. One example of this is the word “wife”. There are a number of ways of referring to your own wife, with the most common probably being tsuma (妻), and another way of referring to somebody else’s wife which is okusan (奥さん). Even with the latter, okusan, it is unclear whose wife is being talked about without the relevant context or background to the discussion, but it is clear that it is not the wife of the person doing the talking. Although when referring to your own wife, …

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