Common Japanese-English Translation Issues: 4. Future Continuation

All the following terms express future continuation, but their differences and degrees of appropriateness pose substantial challenges for technical translators:

shōrai (将来), kongo (今後), kongo mo (今後も), kongo tomo (今後とも)

For all three terms, the most frequently encountered English rendering is “in [the] future”. However, in most cases this is an over-translation. These terms, despite their standard, dictionary definitions, amplify a statement by suggesting, quite strongly, (to native Japanese speakers at least) emphasis or determination. As a result, these terms are usually best exempted from the translation. Forcing the translation can result in unintended meaning loss or meaning change.

今後ともそういう努力を続けたいとお思う。

Kongo tomo so iu doryoku wo tsuzuketai to omou.

"I think we want to continue [our] efforts in the future."

Excessive inclusion at cost to naturalness is a sign of software translation or amateur(ish) translators. Improved translations are usually knowingly distanced from the source when proximity threatens meaning. Hence, an liberalized and thereby enhanced translation would read:

"I really think we can keep up the work."

。。。の場合

. . . no baai

"In the case of . . ."

In technical documents, this is a frequently found phrase. The standard, dictionary definition ("in the case of") is rarely suitable, however. Better translations read along these lines: "If you are ______, then _______", where "If you are" stands in for . . . no baai.


To end this series of posts, a final cliché is in order:

高く評価される

Takaku hyoka sareru.

"[To be] highly evaluated."

Although in English such a phrase is rarely required - since the meaning it conveys is usually superfluous to sense, when its translation is unavoidable (most Japanese writers will insist it is translated), a locution such as “highly regarded”, “appreciated”, or “well regarded” is adequate. Elaborate phrases are rarely merited.

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