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なるほど!英訳塾 ~ビギナー編~

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こんにちは!塾長のソーキンです。

今日の英訳塾では ‘consistency’(一貫性)に注目して、より良い英訳を作るヒントをご紹介したいと思います。「なんだか、この英文は読みづらいな...」と自分で訳しながら感じたことのあるみなさん、自分の英語力が足りないせいだと落ち込んではいませんか?

英訳がすっきりしない、なぜかまとまりのない文章になってしまう、それは原文である日本語に問題がある可能性があります。特にプレゼン資料など箇条書きが多い文章では、日本語ネイティブが読んでも何を言っているのかよく分からないことがあるようです。

でも、そこは翻訳者!どんな原文であっても、翻訳文は高い完成度を目指すのがプロの仕事です。ちょっとしたルールを守ることで、一貫性のある分かりやすい英訳に仕上げることができます。

今日の例文は日・英ともにちょっと難しいかもしれません。

気合いを入れてレッスンを始めましょう!

In business translation, we often come across incomplete sentences? in point form in presentations such as the following example.

(1) XXX 手法

(a) 顧客転換率を向上させるためのメディア最適化手法

(b) 消費者ニーズに最適なメディアを選定し、効率化と精度向上を図ります

(c) 計画の実現可能性を高めるため、CPCとCPAを考慮したメディアポートフォリオを作成します

How would you translate the incomplete sentences? In the rush to meet deadlines, I believe many of us simply follow the structure of the original version fairly closely such as in (2).

(2) XXX method

(a) A method for optimizing media in increasing conversion rates

(b) Aim to choose the most suitable media for consumer needs to enhance efficiency and accuracy.

(c) Establish a media portfolio with CPC and CPA in mind in order to improve the plan’s feasibility.

Line (a) is a complex noun phrase and the next two lines begin with verbs with the subject not clearly stated. Line (a) looks out of place because it is not consistent with the other two lines. The context shows clearly that this section is a description of a special method. So we can safely assume that the subject is “the XXX method”. What we are going to do is to change the forms in (2) slightly to make them more consistent.

Since it is understood that the point of this section is to introduce the XXX method, line (a) can be changed to “optimizes media...,” line (b) to “aims to...,” and line (c) to “establishes...”

(2-2) XXX method

(a2) Optimizes media in increasing conversion rates

(b2) Aims to choose the most suitable media for consumer needs to enhance efficiency and accuracy.

(c2) Establishes a media portfolio with CPC and CPA in mind in order to improve the plan’s feasibility.

In example (4), which is a translation of (3), we have a list in point form describing a “monitoring system,” the first sentence begins with a verb, the second one is a complex noun phrase and the third sentence also begins with a verb. Consistency in form can be achieved by using the verb form for all the sentences as shown in (5).

(3) 監視システム

  • コンテンツ、掲載規定等の監視
  • スポンサーサイトの定期チェック
  • 違反内容の有無(著作権、無関係サイトへの誘導など)

(4) Monitoring system

  • Monitor contents and screening criteria, etc.
  • Periodic check of sponsored sites
  • Check illegal contents (copyright, links to irrelevant websites)

(5) Monitoring system

  • Reviews contents and screening criteria, etc.
  • Checks sponsored sites periodically
  • Checks illegal contents (copyright, links to irrelevant websites)

Let’s look at another type of inconsistency in the next example.

(6) ミッションを「360度ベストコミュニケーションサービスの提供」、「フラット・フレキシブル・ファースト」の「3つのF」を組織規律としてコーポレートコード化。また、「透明性と説明責任」によるグローバルスタンダードの積極的励行と、「クライアントの購入代理店」としての機能。

(7) A corporate code has been established with the missions of "providing 360° best communication service" and the "3 F's" of "flat, flexible, first" as our organizational discipline. In addition, we provide active promotion of the global standards through "transparency and accountability" and functions as a "purchasing agency for the client."

This example is an answer to a question in a questionnaire about the services provided by a company. Note that the first sentence is in the passive voice while the second one is in the active voice, which makes the paragraph look rather odd. Since we know what the subject is, it is better to be consistent and have both sentences in the active voice as shown in (8) below. Using the active voice with a subject in the first person to describe the services offered by one’s company will give a more personal touch, and increase the appeal to potential clients.

(8) We have established a corporate code with the mission of "providing 360° best communication service" and the "3 F's" of "flat, flexible, first" as our organizational discipline. In addition, we encourage active promotion of global standards through "transparency and accountability" and act as a "purchasing agency on behalf of our clients."

In the next example, the first sentence in Japanese (9) is not a full sentence, and if it is translated just as it is into English like (10), it will be inconsistent to have a complex noun phrase as the first sentence of the paragraph. It will be better to convert this into a full sentence as shown in (11). As mentioned earlier, using the first person gives a personal touch.

(9) XXXの国内10支社・2支局の12拠点と、各地で提携する有力な広告会社19社の47拠点。合計59拠点を国内ネットワーク部門が統括。御社担当部門との連携により対応します。

(10) 12 domestic locations comprised of 10 XXX branches and 2 affiliate offices and 47 locations belonging to 19 dominant advertising firms across the country that partner with XXX. The domestic network division manages a total of 59 locations. We provide response in coordination with the responsible division in your company.

(11) We have 12 domestic locations comprising of 10 XXX branches and 2 affiliate offices, and 47 locations belonging to 19 leading advertising firms across the country that have a partnership with XXX. Our domestic network division manages a total of 59 locations. We respond to clients’ needs in coordination with the relevant division in the client company.

In the next example, only the second sentence is a full sentence while all the other sentences simply begin with a verb. This makes the paragraph look rather odd. It would be better to make the sentences conform to the same pattern with a subject in the first person as shown in (14) below.

(12) 『協力会社管理規定』として明文化。当社の定める取引基本条件に合致する業者のみ、正社員による所定の申請が可能。上長、営業推進局または計画局の審査実施。業務管理局の審査実施。取引口座登録審査にあたっては、経営者の人格、資金状況、技術の水準、生産能力等を勘案。

(13) Clearly stated as "Management Policy for Partner Companies." Only full-time employees of companies that meet the basic conditions for business transaction set forth by our company are eligible to apply, following the prescribed procedures. Conduct audit of the superiors, Sales Promotion Office or the Planning Office. Conduct audit of the Business Management Office. For account registration audit, consider character of the manager, capital status, technical standard, production skills, etc.

(14) We have a set of clearly stated "Management Regulations for Partner Companies." Only full-time employees of companies that meet the basic conditions for business transactions set forth by our company are eligible to apply, following the prescribed procedures. We screen the superiors, the Sales Promotion Office or Planning Office. We also conduct checks on the Business Management Office. For account registration screening, we consider the character of the manager, capital status, technical standards, production skills etc.

Finally, I would like to leave you with an example for practice. Please feel free to submit your version of what you think is the best way to make this translation better and we can compare different versions in the next session.

(15) 規定就業時間は9:30~17:45であるが、サービス受付時間は一概に特定できない。顧客ニーズに叶った迅速なオペレーションとしてフル対応。

(16) The prescribed business hours are from 9:30~17:45 but service hours cannot be specified. Provide full response as prompt operations that meet client needs.


いかがでしたか?

プレゼン資料の文章だけでなく、アンケートの回答や、議事録などでは、思いつくままに日本語が表現されている場合があり、前後関係や背景を理解するだけでも苦労することがあるかと思います。

どのような原文であれ、主語を作る、一人称で書く、能動態で完全な文章にしてみる、といった工夫をしてみることで、訳文に統一性を持たせることができます。ケースバイケースですが、こんなルールを頭の片隅に置いておくことで、まとまりのある英訳に近づけると思います。

(15) の日本語の英訳 (16) をさらに良い英訳にするという練習問題、ぜひチャレンジしてみてください。みなさんの回答は こちらで受け付けています。(12月5日(金)12時締切)

その他、ご質問やレッスンテーマのリクエストもお待ちしています。

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ンー・ソーキン

ンー・ソーキンさん:Ng Soh King
シンガポール出身。シンガポール大学で日本語を専攻した後、ハワイ、日本、オーストラリアの大学に通い言語学博士号を取得。その間、シンガポール大学の教壇に立ち、日本語や翻訳を教える。2005年よりフリーランス翻訳者として活躍。幅広い分野の翻訳をこなすが、今後、金融・医薬分野での翻訳に力を入れていきたいと希望。香港在住。