Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Having a shiba doesn't make you fluent in Japanese

One thing that annoys me about shiba owners, other than writing blogs how difficult their dog is, is the ones who figure that because they have a shiba (who's never set foot in Japan, of course), everything needs a Japanese name. First of all the dog, of course. Ok, fine. That's their dog, the fact that it annoys me is really just my problem. But naming everything else in Japanese just because your dog's breed originated there?

Well, ok, technically, that's still just me judging them for the sake of judging them. But that doesn't change the fact that having a shiba doesn't teach you Japanese. So you can't translate your blog title and hope to have it come out with a reasonable meaning in Japanese.

Some times however, it works out better than you'd think. I used to read a blog of surpassing stupidity which the author tried to call "crazy about dogs". In Japanese, because she has a shiba. Except that what she wrote actually translates as "dog idiot." Much more apt, though unintentional.

So yeah. Your dog can't teach you Japanese. Neither can googling.


Bibby said...

Lol, I agree - mine have normal names and we have a normal blog. I once worked with someone who used babelfish to translate " I think you son's cute and I'd like to run away with him" from English to Cantonese. Sadly she translated it into "I want to kidnap and harm him".

The moral of the story is, if you don't know the language - either learn it properly or leave it the heck alone.

Cassaendra said...

LOL I've always been flattered when I see an animal with a Japanese name or word, because it shows they took a little time to do some research. It's probably because I am Japanese, and it continues to surprise me that people like/care about Japanese stuff, or I'm easily impressed.

However, there have been moments when I have cocked my head when colloquialisms are translated literally. Tattoos, in particular, elicit a chuckle.

Mongoose said...

Oh yeah, tattoos are always funny. Luckily mine is correct. I showed it to a native speaker and she read exactly what I meant to have written. Phew!

Have you ever checked out I think it's funny, but it's probably hilarious if you can actually read the characters.

K9Trainer said...

There is a manga called Inu Baka written by Yukika Sakuragi. The translation of it was done by the Honyaku Center, Inc, but they've translated it as "crazy for dogs." Literally, it does mean dog idiots, but if you watch The Seven Samurai (Kurosawa) with subtitles, you'll notice it being translated as both "crazy" and "idiot," sometimes one within minutes of the other. Interesting, that.