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Children's book translation

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Children's book translation

Postby aradu » Wed 12.21.2005 5:55 am

I bought a Japanese book for children a week ago and I'm trying to translate it now. It's much harder than I thought it would be. The book is about pirates and is called 「かいぞくポケット魔女のワナムケ」. The first page is a picture of a grave with a skull and I'm having trouble translating it. It says:

「魔法(まほう)だって、ときどき、かからないときもある。」
「ちょうど、ポケット ケポット トッポケト と、なんどとなえても、なんにもおこらないのとおなじようにだ。」

With help from cocoさん (in the TJP chat), I figured out that the first sentence means "Sometimes magic doesn't work.". However, the second sentence makes no sense to me at all. Translation help is appreciated. ;)
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RE: Children's book translation

Postby Harisenbon » Wed 12.21.2005 9:56 pm

This is why I hate children's books. No Kanji. ;)

Literal:
No matter how much you precisely intone "pocket, kepot, topket" it's the same as if nothing happened.

In more natural speach:
No matter how much you chant "pocket kepot topket," you'd get the same effect by doing nothing.

Breakdown:
ポケット ケポット トッポケト -- The magical phrase
と、-- speach marker
なんど -- many times
となえても、-- even if you chant
なんにも -- Nothing
おこらない -- not happen
の -- noun phrase marker
とおなじ -- same as ~
ようにだ。 -- is like

Does that help?
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RE: Children's book translation

Postby aradu » Thu 12.22.2005 1:15 am

I agree. For translation purposes, it's quite annoying with children's books. But it feels good when you're able to read almost the whole book (of course, not understanding much). :)

This definitely helps. Thank you! I have a few questions regarding this translation, though.

1. Where do you get the 'no matter' from?
2. What purpose does the last だ have in the sentence?
3. What do you mean by 'noun phrase marker' for の? My dictionary says that の is used to show a relationship between nouns. Like, 車の本(a book about cars). Is there another meaning here, or what's the purpose of using this の in the sentence?

Thanks again for your help! It's much clearer to me now.
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RE: Children's book translation

Postby i_like_potatoes » Thu 12.22.2005 2:22 am

aradu:
3. What do you mean by 'noun phrase marker' for の? My dictionary says that の is used to show a relationship between nouns. Like, 車の本(a book about cars). Is there another meaning here, or what's the purpose of using this の in the sentence?


When Harisenbon-san said 'noun phrase marker', he meant exactly what your dictionary meant. の is a particle that combines nouns (usually to show possesion). In your example, 車の本, the literal meaning is "a car's book", but in a more natural translation it's "a car book" or "a book about cars". Once you use the particle の to join 2 (or more) nouns together, that string of words becomes a 'noun phrase'...の being the 'noun phrase marker' inside of the noun phrase.

Another useful examples is:

私の〜
lit. - me's ~
more natural - my ~

I hope that makes more sense to you.
I try my best...
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RE: Children's book translation

Postby Harisenbon » Thu 12.22.2005 4:32 am

i_like_potatoes wrote:
When Harisenbon-san said 'noun phrase marker', he meant exactly what your dictionary meant. の is a particle that combines nouns (usually to show possesion).


Actually, in this case の is not showing possession. You can place a の (or こと) after a verb in plain form to make it a noun clause.

For example
すしを食べるのが好きです。
I like eating sushi.
In this phrase, eating sushi is a noun phrase. It plays the same gramatical part as "apple" would in "I like eating applies."

As for Aradu's questions:
I get the "no matter" from the 唱えても which means "even if you recite it". Combining it with なんども gives it a literal meaning of "even if you recite it many times." To fit more with the flavor of what is being said, I changed it to "no matter how many times."

The だ at the end is the "it's" from "it's the same as if nothing happened." You are taking one noun phrase (reciting) and comparing it to another noun phrase (doing nothing). Then you say "it is the same" と同じようだ。

Does that help some?
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RE: Children's book translation

Postby i_like_potatoes » Thu 12.22.2005 4:55 am

Harisenbon wrote:
i_like_potatoes wrote:
When Harisenbon-san said 'noun phrase marker', he meant exactly what your dictionary meant. の is a particle that combines nouns (usually to show possesion).


Actually, in this case の is not showing possession. You can place a の (or こと) after a verb in plain form to make it a noun clause.


oh. *scratches head* sorry for the mis-information. ^_^;;
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RE: Children's book translation

Postby aradu » Thu 12.22.2005 6:42 am

i_like_potatoes: Thanks for trying to help! I find this whole thing with the の particle very confusing.

Harisenbon: I figured this is far away from where I am in Japanese, but I think (and I hope) I grasped what it's all about. Like the example sentence you gave, "I like eating sushi.". Since you want to say that you like eating sushi, and not referring to the sushi itself, you need to make that into a noun before you can make it into to the subject of the sentence, so you can use 好き?

In this phrase, eating sushi is a noun phrase. It plays the same gramatical part as "apple" would in "I like eating applies."

Do you mean that 'eating sushi' plays the same gramatical part as "apple" would do in "I like apples."?

Like, if you want to say "It's hard to read books" (or 'Reading books is hard.'), you need to change the "to read books" into a 'noun clause' before you can say it's hard? Would it be like this: 本を読むがむずかしいです。?

So my sentence, なんにもおこらないのとおなじようにだ, uses this because we want to use the expression 'same as if' for 'nothing happens', and since happens is a verb, we need to make both nothing and happens into a noun clause so they connect to 'same as if'?

Thanks again! This is very helpful and interesting.
Last edited by aradu on Thu 12.22.2005 6:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Children's book translation

Postby Harisenbon » Thu 12.22.2005 10:07 am

aradu wrote:
Like, if you want to say "It's hard to read books" (or 'Reading books is hard.'), you need to change the "to read books" into a 'noun clause' before you can say it's hard? Would it be like this: 本を読むがむずかしいです。?


Perfect! =)

aradu wrote:
So my sentence, なんにもおこらないのとおなじようにだ, uses this because we want to use the expression 'same as if' for 'nothing happens', and since happens is a verb, we need to make both nothing and happens into a noun clause so they connect to 'same as if'?


Exactly. =)
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