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Poetic Japanese Mistranslation
February 6, 2003 10:55 PM   Subscribe

The Powell is sent in order to carry the water: I find Japanese "Engrish" websites unfunny and stupidly patronizing but this blog is potential poetry - Surrealist poetry. Whether it was machine-translated or drafted using Breton's, Ionesco's or Burroughs' techniques, it's splendidly memorable: Rather than "I am sad" we need "mush truth". All it needs is some artful, e.e.cummings-like arranging on the page to be transformed into art. [Via Linkfilter].
posted by MiguelCardoso (25 comments total)

 
As we all do,
He has aged
Into
A crisis.

But what high god
Above
Makes it

So?

posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:00 PM on February 6, 2003


"The blogging is large!"
posted by Dick Paris at 11:20 PM on February 6, 2003


Among the links, A-List groupies and snipers might be interested to peruse the fearless exposé of Zeldman's, Kottke's and others' shameless nakedness:

NAKED PICTURES OF WEBGODS MAY OR MAY NOT BE VERY HARD TO FIND, BUT IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THEM THEN YOU WOULD BE MAKING A BIG MISTAKE BY NOT CLICKING THESE LINKS, BECAUSE WE HAVE POLOROIDS OF

Jason KOTTKE.com
he is tiny and kute
AND HAVEN'T YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO SEE HIS ASS?

posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:35 PM on February 6, 2003


The poetic quality reminds me of book on Japanese carpentry I've been reading, translated from Japanese. I love the bit about the large box.
posted by Dick Paris at 11:35 PM on February 6, 2003


I find Japanese "Engrish" websites unfunny and stupidly patronizing but this blog is potential poetry [...]

Oh, but that's what people find intriguing in 'Engrish': common words put together in uncommon ways. I really don't think it's "look at the silly foreigners who are murdering the language."

A friend who taught English to schoolkids in Japan for a year was always fascinated by the ways the kids put English words together, and was almost reluctant to correct them (although she always did -- they were supposed to learn to speak standard English, after all). She found this, on a T-shirt for sale:
ATTACK POSTURE
When it goes, there is no enemy.
As for the position that one is unfavorable, you must set
attack as a breakthrough plan.
I have no idea what it means, but I love it.

'Engrish' brings up thoughts of what creativity really is, and how much of creativity is simply randomness, throwing stuff at a wall until you have an interesting pattern.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 12:06 AM on February 7, 2003


That website is fake Japanese English written by a westerner.
posted by dydecker at 12:23 AM on February 7, 2003


Agreed. The "Engrish" is too stilted to be real.
posted by H.B. Death at 3:28 AM on February 7, 2003


the lisbon lion strikes again ! thanks miguel!
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:08 AM on February 7, 2003


It's real, I can say with 90% confidence. The stiltedness (stiltage, stiltifaction) comes from from trying to translate Japanese into English, rather than thinking in English, which is usually the fault of the Confucian Japanese education system.
Those who excel do so despite the system and its lip-service reforms, or because they went to schools with ENGLISH TEACHERS WHO COULD SPEAK ENGLISH, like Catholic or international schools. When I was a teacher, I had some students whose English writing was consistently poetic like this, so I know what you mean, Miguel-san. Japanese lends itself to a bewildering array of mistranslations. (I am not a translator, BTW, not even close.)
I checked the first graf and two random grafs on the front page, and she checks out (my comments in parens):

My name is the Natsuko Murakami! (Japanese doesn't have a/the equivalents, so mistakes are common). As for me there is from Japan.(As for me is the default, overused translation for watashi wa, and the rest of that sentence is an eye-rolling classic.)

I could go on, but I'm tired. Gambatte, Natsuko. Asobisuginaide, ne.
posted by planetkyoto at 5:37 AM on February 7, 2003


we know what is in zach's mind
BUT WHAT'S IN HIS PANTS?


hahahahaha
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 6:25 AM on February 7, 2003


dydecker's spot on. That is *blatantly and obviously* a fake. Come on, now: would someone that godawful at English have the self-consciousness to title their blog "What a Cute!", or proclaim '"What a Cute!" is attached to just happiness and politics'?
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:36 AM on February 7, 2003


Or bookmark this?

Set bullshit detectors to "on."
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:41 AM on February 7, 2003


Sorry: above link very NSFW...
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:45 AM on February 7, 2003


This is not the first time you've got me into trouble, adamgreenfield, you corrupting angel. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:20 AM on February 7, 2003


Wouldn't this be a "brog"?


I'm sorry.
posted by O9scar at 8:25 AM on February 7, 2003


In A.D. 2101
War was beginning.
Captain: What happen ?
Mechanic: Somebody set up us the bomb
Sadaam: We get signal
Sadaam: What !
Sadaam: Main screen turn on
Sadaam: It's You !!
Powell: How are you gentlemen !!
Powell: All your base are belong to us
Powell: You are on the way to destruction
Captain: What you say !!
Sadaam: You have no chance to survive make your time
Powell: HA HA HA HA ....
Sadaam: Take off every 'zig'
Sadaam: You know what you doing
Sadaam: Move 'zig'
Sadaam: For great justice

posted by blue_beetle at 8:40 AM on February 7, 2003


It puts the lotion in the basket.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:24 AM on February 7, 2003


dydecker's spot on. That is *blatantly and obviously* a fake. Come on, now: would someone that godawful at English have the self-consciousness to title their blog "What a Cute!", or proclaim '"What a Cute!" is attached to just happiness and politics'?

Kawaii (the Japanese word for cute) is used differently in Japanese than it is in English. I'm going to agree with Kyoto and say that this is real. It looks a lot like Japanese sentence structure, with english words.

Japanese is a lot different than English. I've been studying it for 3 years, and I still have a hard time "thinking" in Japanese. Give this girl a break.

Natsuko: Ego no shitsumon ga areba gojiyuu ni douzo.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:13 AM on February 7, 2003


"It is connected to my place now from the great Metafilter where all someone is worst, to think that I do not drive here from Japan!

Clean foolishness! So, this way when my document does not reach from Japan? I so do not think! "


Well, people, I hope you're all satisified now.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:22 AM on February 7, 2003


I-Radio is often Cute and Happy.

Dig the Shibuya sound.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:23 AM on February 7, 2003


As for my presumption and to the English which means that she uses the Babel fish in order to translate the English to Japanese from English.
posted by ubi at 11:37 AM on February 7, 2003


Everything which I can say is as follows: What a Cute! is good, being for the sake of being here, you become like me, but, the fact that I am loved must be learned! Hard!

Indeed.
posted by tranquileye at 12:02 PM on February 7, 2003


the great Metafilter where all someone is worst

Whether she's for real or not (and I agree with planetkyoto and SweetJesus that it seems authentic), she's certainly created the mother of all MeFi taglines!
posted by languagehat at 1:03 PM on February 7, 2003


Maybe it's not a good idea to learn English from warblogs?
[here's the obligatory link to Jimmy James, Macho Business Donkey Wrestler]
posted by Gary at 1:53 PM on February 7, 2003


Does Mefite tranquileye have anything more to say here, seeing as his site is linked from hers? Know anything?
posted by planetkyoto at 5:02 AM on February 8, 2003


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