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What are some Japanese words or expressions that you find difficult to translate into English? For example, how would you translate よろしくお願いします?

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I think the difficulty is trying to force a single meaning to these phrases that are used as a wild card to convey different meanings depending on the situation. It is not the same to say よろしくお願いします while being introduced to your coworkers in a new workplace than to say it to the doctor that is going to do a delicate surgery on a family member. To make a natural translation to other languages the expression would be completely different according to the situation.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

ご苦労様でした

The best way I can translate that is thank you for your suffering which sounds bizarre in English

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

hana yori dango, dumplings over flowers. My interpretation of it is substance over appearance, I think.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

いただきます is a difficult one for me

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"Gaman shirou" is difficult to express accurately in English. It is what my wife yells at me when I say I want to quit work and she confronts the idea of her actually having to get a job.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

"Gaman shirou" is difficult to express accurately in English.

"Suck it up buttercup".

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I translate 宜しくお願いします when with non-Japanese speaking clients as "I (they) look forward to doing business with you."

It doesn't exactly fit the sentiment, but it works, and keeps the conversation flowing. Both the Japanese and my translation are just niceties.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

One of them must be "お疲れさまでした(o-tsu-ka-re-sa-ma-de-shi-ta)". We as a Japanese give the phrase to those who have finished thier tasks or daily work in order to express an appreciation for their hardwork or an understanding of how they had been working so hard. However, the phrase is not used ourside Japan, which made me so surprised to hear. One of the reason not having been a habit in other countries is that the concept of "working hard for one's task is taken for granted", which made me understand.

I assume one of the reason Japanese often use such phrase is to show a greeting like "hello". Come to think of it, we do not often say "hi" or "hello" to our colloeagues or coworkers. However, we cannot leave a single moment each other without having conversations or greeting, and we also do not use facial expressions to those who passing toward us. Therefore, one of the best way to keep a good relationship with our colloeagues or coworkers is to say ”お疲れさまでした", and it have been a custom to our daily lives.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It's those set phrases like those mentioned above, uttered multiple times daily, devoid of meaning but are de rigueur, that have no equivalent in English simply due to cultural differences. When my students ask me how to say them in English, I answer, "We don't."

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Hmm, how about ばかやろお.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

As my Japanese ninjutsu sensei taught me in Norway before coming here,the only phrase you really need in Japan is 'Sumimasen'.

Applicable to any situation, expected or unforseen.

Always apologise,never explain.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I would like to add that indeed お疲れ様です is a tough one. You can use it in several occasions aside from work related even just as a greeting to your friends and family. Literally everyone screaming "we're all tired" when clanking those beers at a izakaya.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hmm, how about ばかやろお.

I would say that is dumbass. Early on in my current company perhaps my first day of work I walked out of the men’s crapper having delivered a healthy homage to the gods and I swear a female coworker walked by and said Otsukaresama desu and I thought this is a great company. You get approval for taking a sh¥t.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

水虫

Is both athlete's foot and the black and yellow ant like critters that appear Spring and Summer here.

Had those vermin our house and the exterminator said they were "水虫" and I asked how athelete's foot is those bugs. He laughed and said same kanji but different onfestations.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hmm, how about ばかやろお.

Idiot, moron, fool, loser, dumbass (credit Reckless). They all work.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

As my Japanese ninjutsu sensei taught me in Norway before coming here,the only phrase you really need in Japan is 'Sumimasen'.

Applicable to any situation, expected or unforseen.

The English equivalent seems to work pretty well here in Canada too!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

hana yori dango, dumplings over flowers. My interpretation of it is substance over appearance, I think.

"Function over form" is a phrase I've heard in English. I think it would work here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Early on in my current company perhaps my first day of work I walked out of the men’s crapper having delivered a healthy homage to the gods and I swear a female coworker walked by and said Otsukaresama desu and I thought this is a great company. You get approval for taking a sh¥t.

I saw a commenter in another posting recently who claimed that Nihonjin did not understand sarcasm...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

いただきます is a difficult one for me

Basically, it's just saying grace. But whereas religious zealots take about one or two minutes to say it, the Japanese get it done in one second. Thank god because most of us are hungry before saying it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

蔓延防止

0 ( +1 / -1 )

花粉症 - hay fever? but it's neither hay that causes my sneezing and i don't get fever.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

せっかく is a tough one to translate into English, but it's really handy to know in Japanese. I don't even know how to begin to translate it in a concise manner.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

せっかく is a tough one to translate into English

That's a good one. I'm not coming up with anything that works well myself.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

花粉症 - hay fever? but it's neither hay that causes my sneezing and i don't get fever.

True, but that's more an issue with the English word being a bit of a misnomer in English, since it's usually not from hay nor fever in English-speaking countries either.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ご苦労様でした

The best way I can translate that is thank you for your suffering which sounds bizarre in English

お疲れ様でした etc. can be perfectly translated into other asian languages 辛苦了, 수고하셨어요

but it's hard to find the equivalent in european languages as it will depend on the context, situation, etc.

Problem is when you get a picky monolingual translator coordinator who "refuses" the idea of translating these kind of sayings into something slightly similar or just leave it blank, ex:. why did you translate ごちそう様 as Thank you for the meal / It was really yummy etc?? he's not thanking or praising anything!怒

such a waste of time explaining these kind of things

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ご苦労様でした

I would say "good job" in the context it is used.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

せっかく is a tough one to translate into English

> That's a good one. I'm not coming up with anything that works well myself

For this reason/purpose specifically..?

How about this one: 雨オンナ\ 雨オトコ Sunny girl? Rain man?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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