TECHNICAL JAPANESE TRANSLATION

No. 8 — October 20, 1983

This is our eighth issue. The publication is uncopyrighted and free, but readers who want to help may send in money, postage stamps, international reply coupons, etc. to help pay for expenses. (Thanks to those who have sent in items for publication and/or money for the expenses, and dire warnings to those who send neither: your names will be removed from the mailing list.) Editorial policy is to report both technical and cultural information which might be relevant to Japanese-English translators. I am trying in the newsletter to paint a sort of panoramic picture of the universe inhabited by Japanese-English translators, and nothing, serious or frivolous, which I or the readers think might be of interest will be excluded. If you know any professionals who are not on the mailing list, please share your issues with them, or have them drop me a line if they want to get on the mailing list. John D. Lamb of Nagoya is now acting as our distributor in Japan (see his address on the last page of this issue). I am sure that this arrangement will help to expand our circulation in Japan.

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IN THIS ISSUE:

We give an in-depth interview with Alexander Shkolnik, who worked as a Japanese-Russian technical translator in Moscow, U.S.S.R. from 1959 to 1981. I was very impressed by Alexander's broad, encyclopedic knowledge of the field and fascinated by his "specialist" viewpoint, which at first seemed so different from mine (I learned to speak and read Japanese years before I even thought of becoming a technical translator, while he is a technical translator but does not speak the language). Some of our readers are also Russian translators, and I am sure that they will be interested in hearing more from Alexander in our future issues. He has promised to keep us informed about the Japanese-Russian implications of our work. Frederik L. Schodt reviews the book Japan's modern myth: The language and beyond by American mythoclast Roy A. Miller. We continue our debate about women in Japanese translation, and start to discuss the problems posed by another newly emerging group: Japanese-speaking foreigners in general. We have some sets of definitions of the Japanese neologisms nekura, neaka and dasai/daasai/dassai It will be interesting for readers to compare the various definitions of the same words. I try to give a few tips for novices, in response to a reader's request. Bravice International and Computer Services Corporation have signed an agreement about collaboration in the fields of machine translation and artificial intelligence. A new edition of an ecology dictionary has been published. Christopher S. Lotuaco of North Brunswick, N.J. gives us some input about translation rates, and also this issue's bonus, a short glossary of mineral names from his computer files. I would like to ask Christopher about the kind of computer he is using, and whether he has any recommendations about software, etc. which translators could use in their work.

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PAST ISSUES AVAILABLE

If you are a new reader or are missing some past issues of the newsletter, write me with a SASE and tell me which issues you need. I will send you copies of them.

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INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDER SHKOLNIK

Q: You were born in Moscow in 1937 and worked 1959 to 1981 as a freelance translator and patent engineer in Moscow. You learned Japanese at the School of Japanese Technical Translators at VINITI (The All-Union Institute of Scientific and Technical information) from 1963 to 1965, and have much experience in Japanese scientific and technical translations into Russian. You emigrated and came to San Francisco in 1981. Tell me about the importance and the role of the Japanese language in the U.S.S.R.

A: Japan is considered to be one of the main trading partners of the Soviet Union. Having a very developed and sophisticated technology and being very poor in raw materials, the Japanese trade their precision instruments, etc. for Soviet raw materials such as oil, and they consider Russia also as a potential market. Geographically, Japan is a neighbor of the Soviet Far East; therefore there are trade connections between Japan and the Soviet port Nakhodka. Also in Moscow there are many permanent representatives of large companies such as Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Sumitomo, etc. Technical publications and Japanese journals are also of interest for Soviet scientists, engineers, and trading enterprises. From my own experience I can say that the method of fine blanking, which makes it possible to curtail mechanical fabrication, was the subject of intensive translations in the engineering department of the Center of Technical Translations.

Q: They must be extremely interested in foreign technology.

A: I want to point to one particularity. Much greater attention is paid in Russia to technical information and especially to foreign technical information because of the very centralization of the Soviet system. It is possible to coordinate these efforts, and in each enterprise there is a technical information section or department. It is important to know that translation work is not duplicated thanks to the existence of a special translation coordination organ. And a copy of each translation is sent to the central technical library, where it is microfilmed and every month a list of new translations is distributed among subscribers with a short abstract of the contents. Before any translation is made at the All-Union Center of Technical Translations, it is checked to determine whether it has been translated before, and only after this checking is translation approved. If a copy is available it is supplied for very low prices measured in cents.

I think that Japanese is the third most important language for translation after English and German, but only in technical fields, not culturally.

Q: From what sources is information about Japanese technical achievements obtained?

A: Without any doubt the main source of this information is so-called "signal information." That means an abstract of an article or book, or maybe only bibliographical data. "Signal" because it is very prompt and does not require a long process of publication. There is a huge backlog, and the gap between the signal and the real information is about a year. Therefore, each newly obtained article is abstracted, and abstracts are made from practically all serious Japanese technical publications which are available at VINITI (All-Union Institute of Scientific and Technical Information), which belongs to the Academy of Sciences. It publishes abstract journals in various fields which are available in libraries even in this country, even at Berkeley. The journals are subdivided into main subjects, such as mechanical engineering and then they are subdivided further in various sections such as machine tools, coatings and surface processing, hand-powered tools, etc. This Institute has files of engineer translators in various languages, who make abstracts from the articles sent to them through the mail. In my department, which was mechanical engineering, there were about ten abstractors actively working from Japanese, but on file they may have several dozens.

Q: How do they learn their Japanese? Are there many Japanese speakers living in the U.S.S.R.?

A: First about education in the Japanese language. The main educational enterprise which supplies specialists in Japanese translation is the Faculty of Oriental Languages at Moscow University. I don't know exactly how many students study there, but they study Japanese for five years, which is the usual term for higher education in linguistic institutes in the U.S.S.R. After graduation from the Institute, all graduates are appointed to a position, and most of them go to Japan. Some are sent to Japan to major in the Japanese language, and others work at Intourist or various ministries, etc. as translators or interpreters. They also work in research institutes such as electronics and others which are interested in obtaining information about Japanese technology. Or in the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations which are connected with trade with Japan in various ways.

The second serious source for preparing Japanese translators is the so-called "Special Faculty" at the same university, which teaches two-year intensive courses to specialists in various fields who are sent on sabbatical leave from various Ministries. They use modern, well-equipped educational facilities. Only those who are under 35 years old, who have at least three years experience in a certain field, who pass a very strict medical examination and who can obtain a foreign visa — only those people are admitted to this faculty. After graduation they must return to the Ministry from which they were appointed, and then they are used as specialists and high-level interpreters at the international exhibitions, international fairs, conferences, and so on, working for this particular ministry.

Q: In other words, this is an elite corps of translators who are given special privileges and are trusted by the government?

A: Yes. There is also a third source for Japanese-language specialists. It is an evening school of Japanese language in Moscow under the Moscow Municipal Board of Education. Courses last for two years, and they meet three days a week, ten months a year. Each lecture is four academic hours, that is, two 45-minute sessions divided by a break. These course are paid for by the students, but the tuition is low enough to be quite affordable.

Q: It sounds like a gigantic effort in linguistic education, almost incredibly extensive. At least in its quantity. How about its quality? What is your impression of the qualitative level of the students?

A: First, it is much harder, almost impossible, for non-elite Soviet people to go to Japan for studying or for improving their Japanese. Travel is possible only for elite people who are studying at the Special Faculty mentioned above. Students have another purpose for learning Japanese. They don't need spoken Japanese. Their purpose is technical translation. From my own experience I may say that, after graduating from these courses, all you can do is use a dictionary properly and speak a little, and you can only become a good translator through a tremendous amount of practice. You gain experience through many years of practice in translation, using your technical background as a basis. I myself cannot speak Japanese, but I can translate technical Japanese, and the more technical it is, the easier for me. The same goes for the others in the Soviet Union. My opinion is that those who are not engineers are "slaves" in technical translations because they cannot deviate from the wording of the original; they translate word for word, which is sometimes very clumsy in the target language. Those who may not speak Japanese but who are specialists in their fields will produce translations which are logical and easier for other specialists to understand.

Q: But my impression is that no attention is paid to bridging cultural gaps or creating meaningful communication, on any level at all, between Russians and Japanese. They only want to extract the kernel from the nut and throw away the shell.

A: My answer may be too one-sided because I am a purely technical translator and I am not familiar with the cultural exchange field. I don't want to give you misinformation, but I know that vigorous work is being done in the field of cultural relations — film exchanges, art exhibitions, tourist exchange.

Q: I realize that there is an immense distance from Moscow to Japan, and direct contacts must be very limited, but what about other parts of the U.S.S.R. which are very, very close to Japan and may even have some inhabitants who speak Japanese?

A: There are a lot of Koreans in the Soviet Union, especially of the older generation, who studied Japanese during the Japanese occupation of Sakhalin, Manchuria and Korea, and some of them are still in the Far East. They teach and translate. Among my classmates at the Polygraphical Institute there was a Korean from Central Asia. All Koreans were transferred from the Far East to the Tashkent area in Central Asia, where they organized collective farms. And people of the older generation know Japanese. But native Japanese also teach the language, for example at the Moscow Board of Education courses.

Q: Going back to translators, is there a pay differential between translators working from Japanese and translators working from European languages?

A: Rates for Japanese translations are twice as much as from English, French or German. It's 80 rubles per 40,000 characters (meaningful keystrokes). In comparison with American standards, these 40,000 characters correspond to 22–24 double-spaced letter-size, completely printed pages.

That is about 4 rubles per page, or a little less after deduction of income taxes. After paying a typist, the translator receives about 3 or 3½ rubles. Direct comparison is impossible between dollars and rubles, but for a rough comparison you may say that one pound of beef costs one ruble*. House rent is from 8 to 30 rubles a month. But clothing is very expensive, and the average salary of a Soviet man or woman is about 150 rubles a month. As a translator, I made, in parallel with my engineering salary, three additional salaries a month by dictating translations to a typist. But it is not allowed to earn more than a certain amount of money a year. For example, no more than 2,000 rubles a year at the Center of Translations. But it was possible to obviate this rule by translating above the limit at various different places, because this part was not coordinated. You could make about 800 rubles a month. I can say that top translators in the Soviet Union are very well paid, but they have to conceal part of their income. An ordinary engineer, in order to make extra monkey, needs special permission from his workplace to give lectures at a school or college, or to do consulting of undergraduates, and so on, but translators have ten times more additional income. This is one of the illogical points of the Soviet system. There is no coordination in this field, fortunately.

Q: It sounds like a situation where the Black Market would flourish. Is there such a thing as a Black Market in translations?

A: To some extent there is. Because when I went over my limit, I could arrange with an editor who was a friend of mine that I use a fictitious name to continue. Because editors are interested, logically, in good translators, and want the translation be uniform in style. They don't want to subdivide the work, but official regulations restrict this. My editor couldn't work beyond his salary as a full-time editor, and so he made translations himself and used my name. Officially it was me, but in fact he did them. Really I think that about 50% of everything in the U.S.S.R. is going through the black market. Otherwise they would starve.

Q: What about the equipment? Is there such a thing as a word processor? I understand that copying machines are forbidden.

A: At ministries, research institutes, and large enterprises there are Xerox machines. They appeared in recent years in enterprises which have an excess of foreign currency, but a special person is in charge of making copies, and people have no direct access to the machines. This was the most amazing thing that surprised me when I arrived in Italy. You can go and make as many copies as you want. During holidays, when Soviet enterprises are closed for three days, all typewriters are brought to a special room and locked up. This is a tradition dating from 1917, the first days of the Revolution, but it is still observed. In libraries, you can obtain photocopies but again a special operator makes them for you. By the time I left, about two years ago, there were no word processors available for wide use, and 99% of all translators use foreign-made mechanical or electric typewriters, mostly from the GDR, because Soviet-made typewriters are of very poor quality. I don't want to say that everything made in the Soviet Union is of poor quality, but typewriters and printing machines are of poor quality. Less attention is paid to the appearance and quality of paper and typing than in the U.S. because of the lack of competition. Translations are made in three carbon copies, and one is sent to the coordination center of translations. The translator usually keeps a copy of his work until he is paid.

Q: Do Soviet translators rely on dictionaries from Japan or do they create their own dictionaries and word lists?

A: Soviet-made dictionaries are of a very high quality, especially English-Russian, whereas Russian-English dictionaries are better in the U.S. Until recently there were only a few Japanese dictionaries in the Soviet Union except dictionaries of geographic names and proper names, and a very concise general Japanese-Russian dictionary by Syromyatnikov. Old dictionaries transcribed Japanese words in Russian transliteration, ignoring romaji. This in my opinion is wrong because romaji is the internationally recognized way of transcribing Japanese sounds. But recently the situation has changed, and several comprehensive dictionaries have been issued by the Russky Yazyk publishers, who are responsible for publishing dictionaries. One of the latest dictionaries I can name is an automotive and tractor Japanese-Russian dictionary by Romanov using romaji and kanji index. There is a Japanese-Russian dictionary on robots, but I think the most successful work has been a Japanese-Russian polytechnical dictionary which is very accurate and well-done. It also has a kanji index.

Q: What do you mean by a kanji index?

A: Translators who do not speak Japanese have a problem with deciphering the kanji phonetically. Therefore, some of the recent Soviet dictionaries are equipped with character indexes giving the phonetic transcriptions of all the words contained in them. But the polytechnical dictionary leaves out the English equivalents, which could be very useful for katakana transliterations of English words. Now they are preparing a Japanese-Russian electronics dictionary. The physics dictionary, which appeared after my departure, has a complete English index but no kanji index. Russky Yazyk issues prospectuses for its dictionaries, and the demand for Japanese dictionaries is so great that in book stores you have to leave a postcard with your address requesting the dictionary before it is published or distributed to the shop. Distribution is limited to those who have pre-ordered the dictionaries.

Q: Where do people get foreign-made Japanese-English dictionaries?

A: In Moscow there is a second-hand book store of foreign literature where prices are the same as in the U.S. or abroad, as compared to Soviet books which are very cheap. The foreign books are sometimes ten times more expensive. For example, I bought Nelson's character dictionary for 50 rubles — one third of a worker's salary — because it is printed in Japan. Even in spite of two increases of prices for technical dictionaries in the last years, dictionaries should cost no more than 10 rubles in general Soviet bookstores. But recently, another source for obtaining foreign dictionaries and technical books was opened in Moscow. It is located near the Gorky Park of Culture and Rest, and I think it is called Progress. Moscow is the capital where about seven million people live, and it is a cultural and technical center as compared with other cities. Therefore in the central bookstore on Kalininsky Prospect, called Kriizhny Mir (Book World), there is a special department where brand-new foreign books are sold, and they have also Japanese books. You may take the prospectuses of foreign publishers and order the books through this department, but the price is very expensive. I saw there a Japanese encyclopedic dictionary on biology for 60 rubles, and they sell Naganuma course of spoken Japanese on cassette tapes with the attached booklet. The Vaccari books and also fiction and other new books are sold. They also sell Japanese translations of Russian books, such as science fiction, classics, and works of Lenin. The interest of Soviet people in books in general is great; people read a lot, and the people have a high cultural level. They read everywhere, in the subway, in buses, and the educational system in general is rather high.

Q: Tell me now how you personally came to Japanese? Why did you start studying it?

A: Around 1963 I was engaged in research on the fatigue strength of fine-pitch gears used in power tools. I cut them, tested them, and measured them. Then I found an article by Nishihara and Kobayashi in a Japanese journal in the Japanese language which was about exactly the same research that we were doing in our laboratory. I bought Rose Irmes' dictionary of Japanese characters there was no other dictionary at the time. I learned how to find the pronunciation of the characters, and my chief asked me to translate only the drawings because they were of a technical origin, and such words were easily understandable for an engineer. I got the main idea. Then my chief told me that there was a special course at the Institute for Technical Information (VINITI), mentioned above, and I started studying Japanese in 1963. But there were no suitable textbooks, and we used a 1946 handbook for students of a military language institute, and our teacher was a former military translator who participated in the war and was in Tokyo during the Occupation. We studied Japanese using this book twice a week for 2½ years. Now there are many more textbooks of colloquial Japanese. This is how I came to Japanese.

Q: If you had the opportunity to go and live in Japan, would you?

A: This is my immediate goal. If someone in Japan reading this interview will help me, I would be very grateful. Until now my material situation hasn't allowed this. I have been living here in the U.S. for only about two years and two months, and I am assimilating myself to the new culture and society.

Q: One last question. In comparison with your professional activities as a translator in Moscow, what is your impression of the profession in the U.S., and how does your life here differ from that in the U.S.S.R.?

A: I organized a company of my own called Japanese-Russian Translation Services. From the point of view of translation, my life has changed very little. But I switched my pair of languages from Japanese-Russian to Japanese-English. I specialize in translating patent litigation materials and patent specifications, affidavits, patent correspondence, etc. Sometimes I have translations from English into Russian, but very seldom. Another aspect of my activities is that I help Russian immigrants to draft patent applications. I am the treasurer of the Northern California Translators Association and I passed the ATA accreditation exam from English into Russian. If any of your readers have any questions I will gladly supply them with information. My address is the following:

Alexander Shkolnik
498 35th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94121
Tel.: (415) 387-0290

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BOOK REVIEW

Japan's Modern Myth: The Language and Beyond

by Roy Andrew Miller, published by Weatherhill, New York, 1982. Price: $22.50.

Reviewed by Frederik L. Schodt

This book reminds me of the car bumper sticker that says, "I'd Rather Be Smashing Imperialism," only in Roy miller's case it should read "I'd Rather Be Smashing Myths." Miller is a professor of Asian languages and literature at the University of Washington, Seattle, and on the surface his book is about the myths of the Japanese language — the difficulties in learning it, its uniqueness, and the neo-spiritual qualities that the Japanese themselves often attribute to it. But in reality it is about far more. Marshalling facts and figures and clever analysis, Miller has really used language as a framework to launch a broad attack on the myths of Japanese culture, on its intellectual elitism, nationalism, and racism.

This is a daring book, written with the gloves off, and guaranteed to lose Miller some friends in high places in Japanese academia, but likely to strike a chord that resonates in the hearts of translators and others who speak enough Japanese to know what he is trying to say. For those who have always wondered why a foreigner speaking Japanese seems to arouse such complex emotions in Japanese listeners, and for those embarking on a study of the language who wonder what extra-linguistic problems they may encounter, Japan's Modern Myth is the book to read.

Miller shows his hand in the preface. Commenting on the apparent paradox between the myths rampant in Japanese society and the seemingly democratic form of government that the nation maintains, he states, "I also suspect that much of this apparent paradox is only superficial and that most of it arises when we mistake the open, democratic forms of government and politics in Japan for the substance of Japanese life and culture, both of which continue to impress me as being ultimately and eminently totalitarian to their core."

That stated, Miller goes on to attack Japanese academia for perpetrating, or at least allowing the more pernicious pseudo-scientific notions of the uniqueness of the Japanese language to persist. In particular, he shows how elements of the prewar Kokutai no Hongi (Principles of Our National Polity) have carried over intact in attitudes toward language. The Kokutai no Hongi, according to Miller, was a tract published by the Japanese government in 1937 which enshrined the then neo-fascist policies of the nation as they related to every aspect of daily life, including language. By stressing the inherent "uniqueness" of the culture, it also emphasized its superiority over all others. In language, this meant that the true spirit of ancient texts and much linguistic evidence was deliberately distorted in order to portray Japanese as "special" and having a mystical connection with the Japanese race itself.

In a series of chapters, Miller also debunks the so-called Japanese love of "poetic silence" in literature and life; the schizophrenic love-hate relationship towards the language that exists in Japan, ultimately serving only to reinforce notions of superiority; the culture of the Kotodama or "spirit of the language"; the Japanese seeming insistence on membership in the racial group as a prerequisite for fluency in Japanese; and the left brain theories of Tadanobu Tsunoda. In fact, he debunks about every myth that comes to mind about Japanese society, and then some.

Personally, I was delighted to see someone with Miller's intellectual candlepower rip into Tsunoda's theories on Japanese language. In case you haven't been following the Japanese media in the past few years, Tsunoda is an eye-ear-throat doctor who took it upon himself to conduct neurophysiological research on the way Japanese brains — as opposed to other brains — process sounds. Among his more startling revelations are that the left hemisphere of the Japanese brain processes not only linguistic sounds, but also those of "animal cries, Japanese musical instruments, the sounds of a running brook, wind, waves, and certain famous temple bells," while the left brain spheres of most other people are far more mundane in their abilities. By proclaiming the uniqueness of the Japanese brain, and its language, Tsunoda was of course assured a delighted audience and lucrative market in Japan. Somewhat surprisingly, few academics criticised his methodology.

Miller has done what is long overdue: he shreds Tsunoda's arguments one by one, and exposes them for the racist poppycock that they are, based — like the race-linked I.Q. theories of America's inventor of the transistor, William Shockley — on spurious assumptions and flawed samples.

In a chapter titled "Race and Language: Language and Race," Miller tackles another sticky aspect of Japanese society. He calls it the "Law of Inverse Returns": the more fluent one becomes at Japanese, the fewer rewards there are to reap. This manifests itself in unease on the part of Japanese confronting fluent "foreigners," and an insistence on lavishing praise on those who can only muster a few hackneyed phrases. One of the greatest frustrations of living in Japan, I have found, is the constant need to explain why I can speak Japanese. Often I find that it takes several hours, if not days, before Japanese can even begin to converse in at all a natural fashion, with the result that I dislike first-time meetings, and prefer to associate as much as possible with those who know me or have reached some level of cultural sophistication, so that they can at least look past my face, and listen to what I say (perhaps because of the influence of television, young people most often fit into this category). After so many negative experiences with first-timers, I often find it easier to speak English, even if the other party can only converse in grunts in my language. As Miller rightly points out, however, this odd attitude of the Japanese extends only to Westerners, especially Caucasians. Japanese have a very low tolerance of other Asians who do not speak their language.

While in agreement with most of Miller's positions in Japan's Modern Myth, I beg to differ with a few. Much to my surprise, he seems to belong to the old club of Americans who believe the "continued use of the Chinese script within the Japanese writing system remains the height of orthographic folly, a major foolishness not to be observed in any other modern industrialized society."

Other than the fact that young Japanese today spend an inordinate amount of time memorizing the ideographs, there does not seem to be much merit in reforming the system, as he seems to be advocating. Given the choice between a Japanese business letter written in only kana (phonetic scripts) or the romaji (roman alphabet), and a letter with its proper mix of all four writing systems (kanji or Chinese ideographs, hiragana, katakana and romaji) I'd take the latter any day. Japanese contains such a huge number of homonyms, or words that sound alike, that abolishing Chinese characters would create havoc in society at large. Moreover, it would cut a particularly vital culture off from over a thousand years of its own history.

One also wonders whether Miller is keeping up with the pace of technological change when he faults kanji as a stumbling block to the transfer of information. True, it is often hard to believe that a society as complex as Japan can exist with a technology as antiquated as handwriting. Take away the typewriter from Western society, and civilization as we know it would probably collapse, but not so Japan. The Japanese typewriter is so difficult to master and so slow to operate that it is saved for only the most important documents. Most business correspondence, for example, is still performed by "office girl" minions who painstakingly reproduce the scrawled notes of their bosses. But Japan is about to skip the typewriter phase of human history. While still much slower than their Western counterparts, Japanese language word processors are currently enjoying a boom in sales, and it is only a matter of time until machines with limited artificial intelligence scan text input with the easy-to-use syllabaries (or even the roman alphabet), and then convert the appropriate words into kanji according to context automatically (currently kanji selection is manual). It will then be as fast to type Japanese as it is English. It should also be noted that the Japanese are investing tremendous sums in voice recognition technologies, so that in the future it may be possible to skip the keyboard/writing phase altogether, and simply dictate writing.

Then there are those who say that memorizing complex ideographs prepares young people for serious learning later, gives them superior analog thinking capabilities, and even contributes to the high literacy rate. Miller goes out of his way to debunk any advantages attributed to kanji but it does seem to me that many Japanese are able to speed read because many kanji are associated with concepts, not phonetics, and the reader can skip the stage of mental vocalization that Westerners are taught to go through when reading the roman alphabet.

Besides, if the Japanese are so successful internationally, do we really want them to be more efficient at communication domestically than they are now?

Miller's eagerness to smash myths at times brings to mind the image of a warrior in battle, drunk on the smell of blood and the chance to kill; at times he nearly hacks his own foot off. He savages the work of several prominent Japanese researchers who may well need their methodology criticized, but in the process he sometimes makes the same errors he accuses them of. For example, on one page Miller mocks his nemesis, Haruhiko Kindaichi (author of The Japanese Language and a revered scholar in Japan) for saying that "...in Japan, even after six years in elementary school and three years in middle school a student still cannot read a newspaper satisfactorily. And we all agree that even when a student has graduated from high school, he or she will not be able to write Japanese prose that correctly makes use of the phonetic syllabaries and Chinese characters." This is a rather harsh view, admittedly, but not altogether off base. Yet on another page Miller distorts the earlier quote by stating that, "Kindaichi's absurd claim that even after graduation from high school most Japanese cannot read the daily newspaper is patent nonsense, a prime example of the myth shamelessly employing exaggeration to make statements that anyone who has spent even a day in Japan will know to be untrue." (Underlined by reviewer.)

Miller goes to great length to hack to pieces not only the methodology of some of his Japanese counterparts, but also their style of writing, claiming it to be obfuscated and illogical. While Miller's own style is far more entertaining, he uses words like a troops; one might even suspect him of being paid by the word. Furthermore, his style is somewhere in between standard English and traditional Japanese , or essay form, in development. He takes a sort of tour guide approach, first proceeding to a high vantage point to demonstrate where the tour will go, and then meandering down in the flatlands, expanding and expanding on his introduction. The result is a striking redundancy of prose.

There is a real need for critical books on Japan, to cut through the froth of those that do little more than grovel in adulation of Japanese Zen/Hi Tech. Miller cuts to the bone. Any excesses can in this case be forgiven, as they are compensated by a wonderful sense of humor. I couldn't help thinking, though, how difficult this book would be to translate. Prose such as Miller's, lavishly woven with irony, satire, and tongue-in-cheek humor, could not possibly be more difficult to render into Japanese, even though the book sorely needs to be read in Japan. But then, perhaps Miller intended it that way. As he says, "....translation alone, unless elaborately safeguarded by commentary and explanation — particularly but not exclusively the translation of literary works — generally does more harm than good for our understanding of Japan."

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COMPUTER SERVICES, BRAVICE SIGN AGREEMENT ON COLLABORATION
IN MACHINE TRANSLATION, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE RESEARCH

In a front-page article of the October 18 issue, the Nikkei sangyō shimbun reports that Computer Services Corporation (CSK), a large Tokyo-based information-processing company (president, Osamu Ohkawa), has signed a far-reaching agreement on collaboration with Bravice International, a Tokyo-based translation company (president, Takehiko Yamamoto). (See No. 3, p. 6) The two companies will become affiliated with each other through a stock acquisition and will engage in joint research on artificial intelligence. They will first collaborate to develop a machine translation system for the IBM Multistation 5550 and will market the system through CSK's sales outlets. CSK already has a collaborative agreement with Japan IBM and is selling the 5550 workstations.

The contents of the agreement between CSK and Bravice are: (1) CSK will acquire 30% of the stock of Bravice; (2) For the time being, both companies will jointly develop a translation system for the IBM 5550; (3) For their long-term strategy, both companies will engage in joint research and development of artificial intelligence. A joint working group will be formed for this purpose. There will also be total collaboration between the two companies in other business fields.

In autumn of 1982, Bravice purchased 51% of the stock of Weidrier Communications Corporation of Northbrook, Ill., an American company engaged in developing computerized language translation systems. Bravice then ceded 25% of its 51% of the Weidner stocks to CSK. Now the collaborative relationship between Bravice and CSK has been strengthened by CSK's acquisition of Bravice stock. The transfer of personnel between the two companies will be discussed in the future.

The translation system which will be developed for the IBM 5550 will be based on a translation system which Bravice has already developed; joint work will be done by both companies, centering around improving the existing system for use with the IBM 5550.

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WOMEN IN JAPANESE TRANSLATION: DEBATE CONTINUES;
"POLITE DETERMINATION" RECOMMENDED TO DEAL WITH JAPANESE ATTITUDES

I have received some more communications in response to Betty Kuga's letter (No. 6, p. 46) of August 17, in which she complains of discrimination against American women by Japanese businessmen. One reply is from Hannah Feneron, a feminist who manages a translation agency in Redwood City, California. Here is her reply, dated September 29, 1983:

Finally I've had a quiet afternoon to think about the role of women in Japanese translation.

I feel ambivalent about the cultural/traditional differences that impose hardships on women who translate Japanese. On the one hand, I am an ardent feminist, ERA supporter, career woman; on the other, I don't see any possibility for radical change in the Japanese attitude toward professional women, at least in our lifetime.

As a translation agency manager I have found few cases of discrimination by Japanese clients against women translators, but perhaps this is because the agency (named after its founder, a man) acts as a buffer. Parenthetically, I should add that even Western clients usually assume that any technical translation will be done by a man; thus, on both sides of the Pacific the education process appears to be slow.

It is discouraging, but I think that any woman who wants to pursue a career as a Japanese translator (or indeed, to work with any Japanese company) will have to proceed with a great deal of polite determination and with an understanding of the very small chance for advancement.

Another reply is from Hiroaki Sato of New York, dated September 30:

About Ms. Kuga's observations, generally the following things may be said. Translation is a tough field in which to make a living, and unless one is extraordinarily competent or widely recognized, or unless one has just the right kind of employer, one should not hope to make enough money to pay for the daily expenses through translation work. Sexism is a different matter. But like racism, it's easy to make a scapegoat of it for one's difficulties. It's also easy — even fashionable — to blame Japanese men. But Betsy Kuga (who may remember me, if I say I work for the Japan Trade Center, New York) should at least know that the number of American people competent in Japanese has noticeably increased only in the past decade, and that before then Americans were content to rely on Japanese who acquired the English language after years of hard work. If the current trend continues, I am certain that many Japanese will begin to turn to Japanese-speaking Americans for interpretation and translation — as I do in my office.

* * * * *

JAPANESE-SPEAKING FOREIGNERS EMERGE FROM CLOSETS;
MYTH OF UNLEARNABILITY OF JAPANESE LANGUAGE DEMOLISHED

As Hiroaki Sato mentioned in his letter quoted above, the number of non-Japanese who are competent in Japanese has been increasing recently. Until now "foreigners" who knew Japanese have been relatively invisible, or rather in Japan attention has been focused on them exclusively as the targets of vulgar jokes and low comedy. Now that non-Japanese speakers of Japanese are becoming more numerous and visible, another problem which we as a profession may possibly need to face with "polite determination" might be the Japanese complex of attitudes towards gaijin in general, and in particular the tenaciously held myth that the Japanese language is unlearnable by "foreigners.

How many non-Japanese people are there working in our profession? The number must surely be increasing, but how can we know exactly? There cannot be very many of us, and until now the rare foreigners who knew Japanese well enough to make a living by translating it have made little fuss about themselves and have existed in a sort of closet. I myself have been making my living as a J-E technical translator since 1961. I recall very little mention being made of non-Japanese technical translators as an identifiable group in the past, and I can recall at least one occasion when a Japanese technical translator denied the very possibility of their existence. Why was it necessary for us to hide away from the light of day (if that was what we were doing?) Evidently this low profile has prevented attention from being focused on various important problems related to our profession.

But now that is changing. This newsletter and its predecessor are steps towards attaining a kind of sense of identity, if not public visibility. We realize that our problems are not the same problems as those faced by technical translators from other languages, and that we can get little assistance from institutions which are oriented heavily towards European languages. Now we are beginning, belatedly, to discuss our problems among ourselves. The Japanese too are beginning to realize, and to state publicly, that there are, after all, foreigners who know Japanese, difficult as that may be for many of the Japanese to grasp. Two foreigners at least have written and published books of their own in Japanese, disproving once and for all the idea that the language is mysterious and inaccessible (see No. 7, pp. 12–13).

Now the whole plethora of Japanese attitudes on this subject of the Japanese language and its learnability by foreigners has been brought out into the glaring light of day and criticized scathingly by Roy A. Miller in his book Japan's modern myth; The language and beyond I'm not sure whether or not his ideas have been publicized widely in Japan, but if they have been they must have created quite a stir. Since Miller's writings appear to have a considerable following among translators here in this country, I'd like to deal with his ideas in detail in future issues. (See the review by Frederik L. Schodt elsewhere in this issue.)

Whether we espouse Millerism or not, I think that all of us will find his ideas to be of immense relevance to us in our daily work. I invite further comments in future issues.

* * * * *

TRANSLATION: A REWARDING CAREER?

The debate on this subject continues. The latest contribution is from Richard Patner of Madison, Wisconsin, who writes:

After reading in your journal about the discouragement which seems to be rife in the translating world, I thought that someone should point out the many rewards of J-E translating.

For me, the most substantial reward of this profession is that any success or failure is abolutely dependent upon me. I am only as good as my last translation, which means that I can never coast but also that I am never bored. While that precludes my assigning blame for any incompetence to others, it also means that I have no worries of someone else spoiling the pearls of prose I produce, and I also do not have to cosign the checks which come in.

I can think of few professions which offer such freedom. A translator needs neither to commute, to dress for success, to work following someone else's clock, nor to be chained to a desk should enticements beckon.

The major drawback, in fact the sole drawback, is that one does not deal with people directly, but even that drawback is not an absolute one, considering some of the people with whom one must deal in the business world.

In sum, this avocation is most assuredly not for someone who needs outside direction and the security of knowing that someone else is responsible, but it suits me just fine, thank you.

* * * * *

LOUSY ENGLISH

The following comment (September 30) comes from Hiroaki Sato of New York and is addressed to the issues raised in No. 6, pp. 14-16:

John David Lamb's comments on "lousy English" came just as I read the special issue of THE ENGLISH JOURNAL (a Japanese publication) on "lousy English" current in Japan, and also met an American woman who in her recent trip to Japan collected specimens of "gibberish on T-shirts and store names," etc. Although Mr Lamb isn't exactly inviting comments, I think that beyond a certain point he should take things in stride. After all, the Japanese are making a laughing-stock of themselves. Besides, as a WALL STREET JOURNAL correspondent noted sometime ago writing about the same phenomenon, American (and English) people, who, regardless of their qualifications and competence, readily agree to "teach" English to the Japanese may be partly responsible for the current state of affairs. Also, if Mr Lamb speaks, reads, and writes Japanese, he should not be editing translations by Japanese people but doing the translation himself. My guess is that as more American (and English) people translate from the Japanese, Japanese will gradually cease to indulge in concocting "lousy English."

In any event some of your readers may be interested in reading two recent articles: "The United States and Japan," by David MacEachron, FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Winter 1982/83), and "Japan's Bureaucratic Edge," by Ronald A. Morse and Edward A. Olsen, FOREIGN POLICY (Fall 1983). Both urge the U.S. government to increase the number of Americans competent in Japanese.

* * * * *

CHESCOM AND RALL TO START JAPAN-U.S. DATABASE SERVICE

Chescom, Inc., a Tokyo-based office-services company (president Nakamichi Shinano), has agreed with Rall Inc., a New York telecommunications company to collaborate in setting up a database service business in Japan and the U.S. The service is targeted mainly at small and medium-sized companies and "venture businesses" (VB) which lack international information-collecting departments of their own. Chescom and Rall plan to offer such companies data-base services, collect technical information for them, and serve as their overseas representatives. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, September 21, 1983)

The first services, which are expected to be offered as early as November of this year, will be database, translation, and data-processing services. In providing their database services, Chescom and Rail will collaborate with a number of databank companies in both Japan and the U.S.

In addition to database services, Chescom and Rall will collect scientific and technical information for their clients, will obtain books, catalogs and new products for them, and will even provide international personnel finding services when clients wish to locate personnel to hire overseas.

The two companies will also offer local business representation services of the office-away-from-home type in which telephone calls addressed to clients will be answered for them and their mail forwarded. The difference will, of course, consist in the fact that the services in the U.S. will be offerred to Japanese companies, and the services in Japan to U.S. companies.

Chescom says that during the first year of the joint operation it plans to recruit 1,000 client companies in Japan alone. This type of joint venture has obvious implications for the translation business, which has thus far not been able to establish any very powerful international joint ventures, at least none comparable to that which is being planned by Chescom and Rail.

* * * * *

DEFINITIONS OF NEW WORDS

We have three sets of definitions of the word-pair nekura and neaka. These definitions in Japanese were made by Naoki Matsuura of New York City and forwarded to us by Hiroaki Sato, also of New York:

ねくら〔根暗)

「根っから暗い」の略。2年程前からテレビを通じて若者の間で流行し始めた造語。

暗く、陰気な、無口な性格。すぐ落ち込んでしまう〔=スランプに落ちいる)性格。特に、周囲にその暗い性格を伝え、重苦しい雰囲気をただよわせてしまうような性格。

用例としては、「ねくら族」として、「根クラ」を性格に属する人の意味で使われることが多い。また、テレビ番組「笑っていいとも」中、「ねくらコンテスト」が行われ、参加者が自分がいかに暗い境遇で育ったか、いかに「ねくら」な性格を持っているかおを訴え、競い合うこともあり、それほど深刻な使われ方がされているわけではない。

「ねあか」は「根っから明るい」の略。「ねくら」の反対語として生まれたことばで、「ねくら」程、たびたび使われていない。

The following definitions are from John D. Lamb of Nagoya:

Neaka: something like 'bright root', it is used to refer to an effervescent personality, somebody whose character is basically bright and lively. Nekura...is effectively the opposite of the first word. It means a gloomy person who likes to be alone, perhaps even a person with whom others would not like to associate at all. A 'dark' character, a loner.

The following are from Frederik L. Schodt of San Francisco:

Nekura: Nekura is an abbreviated form of ne ga kurai written with the ne of "root," and kurai as in dark. Ne ga kurai has been around for a long time in Japan, but nekura seems to have become particularly popular in recent years. To me, it conveys a sense of the fundamentally pessimistic, the downbeat, the narrow-minded, the intellectually impoverished, even the spiteful. I recall hearing a friend in Tokyo recently use the word in trying to describe why so many Japanese movies follow the same pattern of glorifying perseverance, suffering, and what often seem to Americans to be melodramatic qualities. The friend's answer was that the nekura nature of the Japanese is to blame, and that it perhaps stems from having to scramble to eke out a living on a crowded island, etc.

Neaka: Neaka is the exact opposite of Nekura. It is a shortened form of Ne ga akarui with akarui written using the character for "light," "bright," etc. I have only encountered neaka within the last half year, and every time it seems to be used in contast with nekura. In my mind Neaka thus connotes the upbeat, the positive, the cheery, the optimistic, etc.

Some contrasts that come to mind: friends in Japan have compared the personalities of the Japanese to the American, labelling them nekura & neaka respectively. I'm not sure if I agree with this, but I think they mean Americans tend to be more upbeat, as is reflected in music, art, etc. In music the analogy would be minor/major, I guess, although maybe we would be playing seventh chords.

And here is a definition of dasai made by Daisuke Hyōdō and forwarded by Hiroaki Sato of New York:

タサイ

もともと、「格好が悪い」という意味。もっと広域で相手の行動や言葉使いが自分の意に反する時、それを軽くけなす意味で使われる。一説では、この言葉は「ドンクサイ」がなまったもの。「ダサエ」は転化(corrupt form)。

(「ドンクサイ」は「鈍臭い」か。)

Here is another, quite different definition from John D. Lamb. (By the way, is the word daasai, dasai, or dassai?):

Nagoya, 12 October, 1983

Dear Donald:

I found some very interesting information on this word daasai, or dassai, whatever it is. You are right about zaasai — it is a kind of Chinese tsukemono — but it has no relation at all to daasai. So first I'll give you the story on daasai.

This is the story that seems to be in wide circulation about the word: The kids of Saitama, in Tokyo's commuter belt, are (at least) one step behind the Tokyo kids. So their fashions, their slang, hairstyles, gestures etc., everything in fact, tend to be a little out of date. Not quite the very latest. Now imagine a couple of Tokyo's hottest dudes on the street one day when they see someone from the country dressed up in what he thinks is the latest stuff, but they know different. The following exchange might take place between them:

 「Waa! Aitsu, chotto hen jan!」

「Datte, Saitama kara kita mono ne.」

Now dassai, or daasai, is thought to have come out of some such exchange as this and to be made up of the ダ of datte and the sai of Saitama. That as far as I can ascertain seems to be the 'etymology' of the word. It should also make the meaning very clear. The people whom I have spoken to about it all insist that it is a very bad word, and they would never use it, but it is a favourite very new slang word with the teenagers. It is thought of as bad not in the sense of obscenity, but as bad Japanese, bad slang. It is said to be as popular among girls as boys, no difference there.

John Lamb also supplies the following update on daasai (Oct. 14):

Although it seems certain that it started life (very recently) meaning only just out of date, only just behind the latest fashion, it has become such a favorite slang word that it has come to be used for anything at all that is very strange. In fashions, language, movements, gestures, etc., particularly of the teenagers. Also it is used for things which look clearly like they just came up from the country.

I was pleased to receive so many definitions of these interesting new words, and I think the readers will be interested in comparing the different definitions and maybe suggesting other words which need to be defined. Incidentally, Hiroaki Sato writes that the annual publication Gendai yoogo jiten contains definitions of a great number of current slang words and expressions, including dasai and donkusai (Communication dated October 12, 1983)

* * * * *

TIPS FOR NOVICES

I.G. of San Diego writes (October 3): "Actually, I'm a technical Russian translator, but am studying Japanese (especially scientific) in the hope of eventually translating Japanese. I find the language very difficult and would appreciate any hints or tips for the novice in the Newsletter."

A frequently asked question. Alas, it's been such a long time since I (DLP) started that I'm afraid I have very few do's and don't's for novices. Advice would be different for students at different levels, but let's assume that I.G. has a knowledge equivalent to a person who has completed all of Comprehending technical Japanese (Daub, Bird and Inoue) and has memorized enough kanji to be able to decipher difficult terms and look them up in a dictionary. What advice then?

One area would be investment in dictionaries. I would advise anyone, whether beginner or veteran, to invest as much as possible in buying good dictionaries. You are going to be competing against more experienced translators who have many years of experience behind them, and they have at their disposal extensive personal libraries of dictionaries which they have collected over many years. Some of the dictionaries are rare, and most of them are very expensive. If you were a carpenter, you would spend lots of money on buying the best available tools, wouldn't you? A translator's tools are his dictionaries. Those who supply you with work will want to know how good your library of dictionaries is. Do not skimp here.

Another thing to remember is that dictionaries are not everything. If we are translating articles about novel technologies, there is a very good chance that some of the words will be neologisms too new to be in any dictionaries. Any novice should start by keeping his own file of words gleaned from his reading and from the jobs he has done thus far. You can keep them on 3 x 5 memo slips (cards will be far too bulky) and file them in a drawer alphabetically by their Japanese readings. After several years you will probably have numerous drawers full of these slips and will be very glad you kept up your files in this way. Some day you can make your own dictionaries, or at least glossaries of terms in specialized fields.

I personally favor reading Japanese business and trade newspapers in order to keep up with the latest terms and trends in science and technology, but I know that subscriptions to daily newspapers like the Nikkei sangyō shimbun are a bit expensive.

If you are translating science and technology, you may not need to speak the language, but I find that there is much technical writing in which the writers express themselves in nontechnical language, throwing in colloquialisms here and there. The specialists are addressing each other in colloquial terms while they are discussing their technical subjects. To pick up the colloquial language, you might find it very useful to go to live in Japan for a while. That would familiarize you with the cultural milieu. Even if you are living with English-speaking people in Japan, it will be easy for you to pick up the language because of the Japanese-language television programs, daily newspapers, and so on. Even in this country, a certain number of Japanese-language television programs can be watched in some areas on cable TV, and they would be immensely useful.

I do not recommend attending classes or taking private lessons. You can learn everything on your own, by constant listening and reading. Save your money and spend it on something that will be of lasting value, like a good dictionary.

The problem about all of this is that it is v. expensive. Dictionaries are expensive, going to Japan is expensive, newspapers are expensive, and even cable TV is expensive. I grant you that it is expensive. But look at it another way: You are investing in yourself. Many people spend money to learn foreign languages without even intending to make their living from them. People who like to travel, for instance. You, on the other hand, are learning this in order to make your own living, and you have an advantage because you can arrange things so that you are being paid to learn it. In a sense, you are being paid by someone to learn. At the beginning you will be expending much more time and effort for the work to be very rewarding financially. But at least you will be learning and will be paid something for your hard work, and you can count the expenditure of time as another one of those investments you are making in your own future.

No one can promise you an easy time of it, and nothing in this life is ever guaranteed. Even after you have mastered one language, the international situation may change and you may be left with very little work to translate from it (isn't that what happened after you learned Russian?).

But I think I can promise you one thing. That is, if you enjoy the life of the mind and don't mind a lot of hard work, Japanese technical translation will offer you an unending supply of intellectual stimulation.

(It also helps, I think, if you are an introvert and an insomniac.) Do other experienced translators have any advice to offer to novices?

* * * * *

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. AGENCY SEEKS TRANSLATORS

Carl Kay of Japanese Language Services (Cambridge, Mass.) has asked us to publish the following notice:

"Japanese Language Services is a five-year old agency based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, offering translation, typesetting, interpreting and research services to industry, the professions and cultural institutions in New England and nationally. We are currently trying to expand our file of translators (J-E and E-J), and we invite submissions of resumes and brief samples. We are looking for people with technical degrees and/or extensive translation experience in one or two particular fields, including, but not limited to, such areas as computer software and hardware, pharmaceuticals, CAD/CAM, and medical instrumentation. At present we cannot offer steady work, but we are a growing agency establishing an excellent reputation for quality and service in the New England high tech community. We believe that we pay our translators well (at least 6¢/wd for J-E and 10¢ per word or more for E-J). We are trying to establish a position in the New England marketplace at a higher price level than the large multi-lingual New England agencies by emphasizing our specialization in superior quality. The owner of Japanese Language Services, Carl Kay, is himself a technical Japanese translator (approx. 1.5 million words in 5 years), and we can offer more support, both moral and linguistic, than many agencies where no one speaks Japanese. Please call Carl Kay at (617) 491-0530 or write to Japanese Language Services, 607 Franklin Street, Cambridge, MA 02139."

* * * * *

ECOLOGY DICTIONARY (REVISED EDITION)

I saw this ad for a new edition of a dictionary about ecology in the Nihon keizai shimbun、 October 13, 1983. (I am putting it in sideways to save some space):

[Scanned Image]

* * * * *

SANWORD JAPANESE-ENGLISH WORD PROCESSOR

JEF of Tokyo kindly went to the Sanyo showroom in Tokyo and saw a demonstration of the Sanyo SWP-3400 bilingual word processor (see No. 6, p. 9–10) , which sells for ¥2,450,000. He also sent me some very impressive-looking printouts made on the machine. Some of his comments (dated October 15) are:

"Even though it is a 16-bit machine, program loading takes 90 sec per diskette. It seemed interminable although I have never actually timed the Displaywriter. There is a separate program diskette for both Japanese and English in addition to the program load. The printer has a "carbon roll" which looks like a roll of cellophane with sheets of carbon interspersed. It is a consumable item and the young man could not tell us how many characters, words, strokes, pages, or lines, etc., etc., the item would produce before replacement was required .... The printer is sheet-feed type, i.e., page at a time. When the machine was started up for the demonstration, the printer would not function and a new one had to be acquired from 'upstairs.'

"The printer is fairly quiet, fairly slow as well, especially when it comes to the graphics.

"Working with both Japanese and English, at the same time, is not as straightforward as it would appear because of the different escapements of the two languages. As you will note in the printouts, very little attention has been paid to spacing requirements in English, particularly in regards to symbols, etc.

"My own appraisal, admittedly after a very inadequate demonstration, is that you would be best advised to wait until one or two other manufacturers have put dual-language models on the market, before you make a purchase decision."

In the meantime I (DLP) received a letter dated October 4 from Arthur Shebar, Computer Division, National Sales Manager, Sanyo Business Systems Corp. (51 Joseph Street, Moonachie, New Jersey 07074), who said:

"At present there are no plans to market a Japanese/English word processor in the united States. That market is very limited. We would not be able to support and service such a product."

* * * * *

PENTEL LETA-CON

I have been using my Japanese electronic typewriter, the Pental LETA-CON, since September and am quite pleased with it. The drawbacks from the operator's standpoint are that it has a very small memory and no display. Also the kanji available on the keyboard are roughly the same as on an ordinary wabun taipu keyboard and the less-frequently used kanji are not available. Even at that, it has a very large selection of about 3,400 characters (in addition to kanji, that number includes both kana syllabaries, the English, Greek and Russian alphabets, and a fairly good selection of special symbols).

The LETA-CON is an electronic version of the usual Japanese typewriter, which is like a manually operated typesetting machine. Inputting is performed with an electronic stylus, with which the operator applies pressure on the touch-sensitive board. There is a common misconception that the keyboards of Japanese typewriters are "difficult." I have never used a manual Japanese typewriter, but the LETA-CON keyboard is not at all difficult to get used to. The kanji are, as a rule, arranged according to their on-yomi which is convenient but at the same time a bit disconcerting because there are so many kanji which have the same on-yomi. The only irregularity is that there is a "special section" with some commonly used characters. It is located right above the numbers and has words like todoo fuken, kabushiki kaisha, Shoowa, and so on. It you need the second character of kabushiki you will look for it in vain among the other characters pronounced shiki. But you soon learn to look for these common characters in their segregated area.

I was able to type on the keyboard right away without any trouble, and Japanese visitors have also started to type immediately. One Japanese man, who had never before typed on a Japanese or English typewriter, started typing on the LETA-CON and immediately wrote a word-perfect letter to his mother! Conclusion: the "difficulty' of the Japanese full keyboard is a myth. (Roy A. Miller, where are you when we need you?) Experience shows that even a beginner can type a letter easily on a Japanese electronic typewriter, and since it requires no training or instruction at all, it may be more satisfactory for some applications than a Japanese word processor.

* * * * *

TRANSLATION RATES

Several issues ago (No. 5, pp. 12–14) we had some discussion about translation rates. Here is some additional input on this subject from Christopher S. Lotuaco of North Brunswick NJ (I am reproducing part of his letter, which was printed out on a computer printer) :

Thank you very much for the newsletters I have been receiving. I appreciate excellent information you are providing in each issue.

Fortunately, it has been busy recently in the chemical fields in which I work, especially, there are works more than I can handle in Japanese-English translation. I have been a free-lance technical translator for the past eight years including couple of years at the beginning as a part time translator. Up to a few year ago the language mix comprised 50% 7 J-E and 50% others (Russian, French and German)-E. It has been about 95% J-E in the recent years.

I have noticed some of your readers are grumbling lack of works, but I wonder if they have thought the fee they are asking is too high. I was once surprised to find out a technical J-E translator in California was charging $8.00/100 words when I was getting $1.50/100 words. At that time, I was doing free-lance works through an agency in Chicago from which I was getting 100 K to 10 K words/month of work just in the chemical fields. The situation has changed but some agencies manage to hire Japanese housewives or students to do free-lance work (ARUBAITO) paying about the same rate in the NY metropolitan area, and the federal agency (JPRS) pays less than $2.50/100 words.

The point I'm trying to make is that you have to sell your service at the right price or no one will buy it.

* * * * *

ATA CONVENTION

How many readers are planning to attend the ATA convention in Atlanta this month? I believe last year's convention had a "Japanese Evening" and two Japanese language workshops. I have no information about this year's convention but suggest that those who intend to attend it should write to Mr. Don Cyril Gorham, 12900 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904. He may be able to supply information about meetings and workshops of interest to you. Would those who attend the convention please write a report about the convention, describing what happened from the standpoint of Japanese technical translators?

* * * * *

GLOSSARY OF NAMES OF MINERALS

The following mineral name glossary was supplied by Christopher S. Lotuaco of North Brunswick N.J. out of his computer files:

JAP ENG
BOKISAITO BAUXITE
CHIRI SHOSEKI CHILE NITRE
CHIRO OZOKERITE
CHITANTEKKO ILMENITE
CHROMUTEKKO CHROMITE
DENKIISHI TOURMALINE
DOREKISEI ASPHALTUM
EISUISEKI ANATASE
ENKAKARIEN SYLVITE
GANEN ROCK SALT
GYOGANSEKI APOPHYLLITE
GYOKUZUI CHALCEDONY
HAKUTETSUKO MARCASITE
HAKUUNMO MUSCOVITE
HAKUUNSEKI DOLOMITE
HISHIKUDOSEKI MAGNESITE
HOENKO GALENA
HOKAISEKI CALCITE
HOTARUISHI CRYOLITE
JAMONSEKI SERPENTINE
JIASUPORU DIASPORE
JIRUKON ZIRCON
JITEKKO MAGNETITE
JUSHOSEKI BARITE
KAIJUSEKI SCHEELITE
KAKUGINKO CERARGYRITE
KAKUSENSEKI HORNBLENDE
KARANSEKI OLIVINE
KASSEKI TALC
KASUMIISHI ARAGONITE
KATTEKKO LIMONITE
KEIKANSEKI REALBAR
KIANKO STIBNITE
KIGINKO ARGENTITE
KINKOSEKI RUTILE
KISEKI AUGITE
KISUIENKO MOLYBDENITE
KOGYOKUSEKI CORUNDUM
KOHAKU SUCCINITE
KOKUUNMO BIOTITE
KONGOSEKI DIAMOND
KOSENSHOSEKI SPINEL RUBY
KUJAKUISHI MALACHITE
MYOBANSEKI ALUNITE
OHDOHKO CHALCOPYRITE
OHGYOKU TOPAZ
OHTETSUKO PYRITE
RANDOKO AZURITE
RINKAISEKI APATITE
RINKEISEKI TRIDYMITE
RURI LAZURITE
RYUHITETSUKO ARSENOPYRITE
SEICHOSEKI ORTHOCLASE
SEKIEI QUARTZ
SEKITEKKO HEMATITE
SEKKO GYPSUM
SENAENKO ZINCBLENDE
SENSHOSEKI SPINEL
SHACHOSEKI PLAGIOCLASE
SHAHOKISEKI RHOMBIC PYROXENE
SHAKUDOSEKI CUPRITE
SHINSHA CINNABAR
SHOSEIKI NITRE
SUZUISHI CASSITERITE
TANPAKUSEKI OPAL
TETSUMANJUSEKI WOLFRAMITE
TOKISEKI DIOPSIDE
YUOH ARPIMENT
ZAKUROISHI GARNET

* * * * *

FISH GLOSSARY AVAILABLE TO READERS ON AS-NEEDED BASIS;
INSECT GLOSSARY IS PROPOSED NEXT

My fish glossary is more or less complete, at least as far as the Japanese-to-Latin parts. From Latin to English one need only consult the international glossaries, a process which presents no particular problems from the technical viewpoint. Unfortunately, the glossary is much, much too long to be published in this newsletter. Eventually I would like to publish the complete glossary, but it will have to come out in the form of a separate booklet or pamphlet. For the time being, therefore, I am offering readers a gratis look-up service on an as-needed basis. If you will send me a SASE with the Japanese names of the fish you want translated, I will send you back copies of the information I have for their Latin and English equivalents. This will save you the expense of going out and buying expensive Japaneselanguage reference books when all you need is to look up and translate a few words.

Also needed is a good glossary of names of insects. Christopher S. Lotuaco, who kindly supplied the mineral name glossary in this issue, has started a glossary of insects but says that it is not extensive. I have herbicide reference books which list some common pests with their Japanese names and translations. They include some with such outlandish names as Epilachna vigintioctomaculata (Large 28-spotted lady beetle). If Christopher would like to send me his list I could combine it with the names I can find in my sources. Does anyone else have a list of insect names which we could add to a glossary??

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Let me know if any of you turn up information which might be of interest to professionals working in the field, and I will incorporate it in another issue. Keep those tidbits coming in. Continue to address editorial correspondence to me. Readers in Japan will receive their copies from the Japan distributor. October 20, 1983

Donald L. Philippi
715 Tenth Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 752-7735

Distributor for Japan:
John D. Lamb,
Chumaru Danchi 2-913,
Chumarucho 1-1, Kita-ku,
Nagoya 462 JAPAN

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