Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What Is Lost in Translation?

So, as you may be aware, Japanese society is perhaps the most polite society on the planet. There are several degrees of politeness that must be employed to do the simplest things, even when buying groceries.

This politeness-thing is difficult for Westerners to understand and it's really difficult to live here comfortably because we are constantly having to do our best to demonstrate the proper level of politeness (like, "is it okay, when taking off my shoes to enter a building, to turn completely around - and so show my butt to the host? Answer: yes it is).

But there is a reciprocated problem: the Japanese have no swear words. The worst thing you can say is that you will kill someone. Yeah, now think about the massacres that you've committed when you're late to work or someone is too slow to make your Willy's super veggie burrito (mmm, I'd kill someone for a Willy's Superveggie burrito - I'd kill they mama).

So I spend a certain amount of time, every day, trying to educate my (totally fluent) Japanese colleagues. Here is today's lesson, it's about using slang as adjectives:

According to my coworker the title of "Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back" in Japanese is:
ジェイ & サイレント ボブ 帝国への逆襲
which translates to "Jay and Silent Bob counterattack empire"

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