Using correct words vs. Using words a Japanese person would use

Using correct words vs. Using words a Japanese person would use

I just got off interpreting for 4 hours straight so this might not be the best time to write this out but it just kind of came to me. 

I have been hard on my self for what I have been calling “not using the right word”. For example, I interpret “production increased” into 「生産が増加しまた」. Then when I hear the Japanese speaker say 「増産」I think I have used the wrong word. Why would I make it into a sentence when there is already a word for it? However, (leaving aside the various slight differences of meaning) my translation was not wrong. It was just not what that particular Japanese person chose to use when speaking about it. That is why you can say: 部品を作りました、部品を生産しました、部品を製造しました and be generally right. Each of these has a slight difference in meaning but at base, they all mean “to make”. Most native speakers, if they are not grammar nazis, don’t notice the minor differences in meaning. They understand the intended meaning perfectly. While another translator (or a Japanese person who got 100% on the 日本語検定1級 like my boss, *grumble, grumble*) might notice the difference and tell you you used the wrong word, it really doesn’t make a difference to the average listener. They still think your Japanese is “perfect” because they understood every word and your pronunciation was clear and in the right tense. They are not looking for these small differences in meaning. 

Or at least, that is my impression from being told I am perfect by many people, and then having every word I use pulled apart by one other person (what exactly is the difference between プロセス流れand工程フロー anyway?). I have been trying to reconcile the two opinions and this is what I came up with. Let me know if you have any similar experiences. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s