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Difficulty with translating part of a newspaper article

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Difficulty with translating part of a newspaper article

Postby pm215 » Sat 11.28.2009 6:42 pm

A friend of mine asked me to translate a couple of articles about him which appeared in some local Japanese papers. I've mostly managed this, but there was a bit at the start of one of the articles which I'm a bit baffled by. The article begins:
秋本番の秩父線。各地で祭り、美術展、音楽会が行われ "集いの場" を演出している。

and I think I understand the first part of this, which I've translated
It's really autumn on the Chichibu line. Everywhere festivals, art exhibitions and concerts are being held [...]

but I'm really not sure what to do with the last part: "集いの場" を演出している .
The dictionaries I have define 演出する as being to stage or produce a play or similar. Is this being used in this sense here (presumably with a dropped subject of 'the author is ...'), or is it more metaphorical, ie the railway line is so lively/busy it's as if it were putting on a display?
Also, google suggests that 集いの場 might be some kind of set phrase (which would explain the use of quote marks), but it doesn't turn up in the dictionaries I've looked in.

If somebody could explain this sentence I'd be really grateful.

If you want the full articles (and my translation efforts) I've put them up here:
http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~pmay ... trans.html
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Re: Difficulty with translating part of a newspaper article

Postby magamo » Sat 11.28.2009 8:54 pm

秩父路 isn't the same as 秩父線. The former is either the name of an area in Saitama or the name of the express train in the area. The latter is the name of the line that operates the express service.

集いの場 literally means "a place where people meet." The author is using it to add a certain figurative sense, hence the quotes. The first line affects the actual sense he meant by the word to an extent, and you're supposed to figure out the reason he put quotation marks as you read the article. It definitely requires high level understanding of the original Japanese text, and also you need to have very deep understanding of similar words such as 憩いの場 to feel the figurative sense the same way as native speakers do.

演出する is metaphorical.

The article you're translating is actually a short column in a local newspaper. This type of column is very popular in Japanese newspapers and famous for its own style. This kind of short column often relies on implications, and you're supposed to read between lines. So knowledge of the local culture and the Japanese way of thinking is also important.

I'd translate it as:

Autumn caresses Chichibuji, bringing festivals, art exhibitions, and musical concerts. It is the season when we meet new people.
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away and you have their shoes.
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Re: Difficulty with translating part of a newspaper article

Postby pm215 » Sun 11.29.2009 2:32 pm

magamo wrote:秩父路 isn't the same as 秩父線.

That was a silly error :oops:
集いの場 literally means "a place where people meet." The author is using it to add a certain figurative sense, hence the quotes. The first line affects the actual sense he meant by the word to an extent, and you're supposed to figure out the reason he put quotation marks as you read the article. It definitely requires high level understanding of the original Japanese text, and also you need to have very deep understanding of similar words such as 憩いの場 to feel the figurative sense the same way as native speakers do.

演出する is metaphorical.

Thanks for this explanation; this part makes a lot more sense now.
The article you're translating is actually a short column in a local newspaper. This type of column is very popular in Japanese newspapers and famous for its own style. This kind of short column often relies on implications, and you're supposed to read between lines. So knowledge of the local culture and the Japanese way of thinking is also important.

Right. (Are the Asahi 天声人語 columns in the same genre? They seem to have a similar kind of style.) I know there's a proverbial association between autumn and appetite/eating; is autumn==meeting people a similar thing?
Autumn caresses Chichibuji, bringing festivals, art exhibitions, and musical concerts. It is the season when we meet new people.

(Caresses? Looks like I didn't have the right grasp of 秋本番 either...)
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Re: Difficulty with translating part of a newspaper article

Postby magamo » Sun 11.29.2009 4:54 pm

pm215 wrote:Right. (Are the Asahi 天声人語 columns in the same genre? They seem to have a similar kind of style.) I know there's a proverbial association between autumn and appetite/eating; is autumn==meeting people a similar thing?

Yeah. 天声人語 is one of the most famous columns of this kind. As for the associations of Autumn, every native speaker knows these Xの秋 phrases: 読書の秋 (reading books), 別れの秋 (parting/farewell), and 食欲の秋 (appetite/eating). 芸術の秋 is also a common phrase. So the author's use of 秋 and 集い is the opposite of the usual "parting" connotation of Autumn. I don't know if this is intentional though.

The following words are also Autumn words: 秋刀魚 (さんま), 紅葉 (こうよう), 柿 (かき), 月 (つき), 十五夜 (じゅうごや), 松茸 (まつたけ), 栗 (くり), 運動会 (うんどうかい), 夕焼け (ゆうやけ), 鈴虫 (すずむし), etc.

pm215 wrote:(Caresses? Looks like I didn't have the right grasp of 秋本番 either...)

Well, any verb would work as long as it evokes Autumn-ish senses in a figurative way because 秋本番 only means it's in the middle of Autumn. 秋 in Japan is "soft," "quiet," "romantic," and "slightly sad." It's the season when you read novels, say good-by to your boyfriend/girlfriend, enjoy art, beautiful moon and delicious food, listen to the quiet sound of bell crickets, and see leaves turning red and falling. It's more elegant and graceful than the other three seasons.
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away and you have their shoes.
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