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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。

2009年がスタートしましたね。皆さんはどんなお正月を過ごしましたか?この年末年始は9連休だったという方も多いと思います。十分なお休みを取った後は、また仕事に学習に精を出しましょう!

新年1回目の英訳塾です。最後に練習問題も用意しましたので、お休みの間、英語離れしていた方は特に奮って回答を送ってくださいね!


In this session, I am going to discuss the translation of modified nouns. What do I mean by modified nouns? Let’s look at the example below. 日本語

(1a) 二十から三十代の男性が中心だったコンビニの客層がじわりと変化している。

(1b) Customers of convenience stores, who used to be mainly men in the 20’s and 30’s, are gradually changing.

I am referring specifically to nouns (double underline) modified by relative clauses (single underline) that usually require words like “who, that, which, whose” when translated into English.
However, there are some modified nouns in Japanese that will sound unnatural when translated literally into English using the same structure as shown in the following example. 日本語

(2a) 過去十年近く続いた売り上げ不振から脱したコンビニ。

(2a) is taken from the same newspaper article as (1a). This kind of sentence structure is unique to Japanese and cannot be translated directly into English because noun phrases cannot stand alone as sentences in English. It is necessary to supply a subject for the English translation. This can be done by using the main noun as the subject. Compare (2b) and (2c) below. 日本語

(2b) Convenience stores that are recovering from a slump in sales that has persisted for the last 10 years.

(2c) Convenience stores are recovering from a slump in sales that has persisted for the last 10 years.

(2b) is a complex noun phrase that is similar in structure to (2a). It may not be ungrammatical as a noun phrase but it sounds unnatural when placed in its original context. As shown in (2c), this problem can be solved by removing the relative pronoun “that” right after the subject in (2b). 日本語

In the next example, (3b) is a direct translation that follows the original structure in (3a) fairly closely. To change the complex noun phrase in (3b) to a full sentence, we need to remove “that” and add “is to” as shown in (3c). 日本語

(3a) 川中と川下企業への出資で得られる持分利益や配当収入と、商品供給で手にする仲介利益の両方を手にすることで収益を最大化にする戦略だ。

(3b) The strategy that maximizes revenue by acquiring equity profits and dividend income from capital investments in midstream and downstream companies, and middlemen profits from product supply.

(3c) The strategy is to maximize revenue by acquiring equity profits and dividend income from capital investments in midstream and downstream companies, and middlemen profits from product supply.

However, not all examples work so neatly. Depending on the context, it may be necessary to substitute other nouns to serve as the subject as shown in the next example. 日本語

The next set of examples is taken from a newspaper report on Mitsubishi becoming the top shareholder in Aeon and the future business plans of Aeon after the partnership is formed. (5a) and (6a) form a paragraph by themselves. (4a) is the last sentence in the previous paragraph. 同社 in (4a) refers to Mitsubishi while Aeon is the one that is trying to rebuild its business. 日本語

(4a) 同社の協力を得て、低利益にあえぐ事業構造の見直しを急ぐ。

(5a) 海外では、成長市場の中国で二十店強のスーパーなどを早期に百店体制にする方針。

(6a) 出店候補地の情報や仕入れ先の開拓などで三菱商事のネットワークを生かす考えだ。

(4b) Aeon has to act fast to get Mitsubishi’s cooperation to rebuild its business structure that is mired in a low profit state.

(5b) Aeon is planning to expand its supermarket business in growing markets overseas such as China from the current 20 stores to 100 stores as early as possible.

(6b) It is thinking of using Mitsubishi’s network to search for new suppliers and information on potential sites for new stores.

If (5a) and (6a) are translated using the main noun as the subject as in “The policy/plan is to...” or “The concept/idea is to...,” it will sound unnatural and stilted. In this case it is better to use Aeon as the subject as shown in (5b). Alternatively, it is possible to begin (5b) with “Aeon’s policy/plan is to...” but (6b) should not be changed to “The concept/idea is to...” so as not to repeat the same structure. 日本語

I would like to leave you with the following example for practice. How would you translate the underlined sentence in (7a)? In (7b) I have done the first sentence in (7a). Please continue with the second sentence. 日本語

(7a) サントリーは来春の実施を検討していた清涼飲料の値上げを見送る。砂糖や容器など原材料の高騰を受けて缶コーヒーなど一部商品を十円値上げする方針だった。

(7b) Suntory has decided to forgo raising the prices of beverages that it has been considering to implement from next spring. [your translation]

In the next session, I will continue to look at more examples of modified nouns. 日本語


いかがでしたか?

いつもお話することですが、日本語の原文の文章構造に引きずられて英文を作ってしまうと、英語としては不自然なものになってしまいます。原文の中から主語を見つけることができれば訳しやすいですが、時には文脈や背景から解釈して原文には明示されていない主語を見つけてくることも必要です。そこが英訳ビギナーには難しいの!という声が聞こえてきそうですが、次回もこのような例文を取り上げますので、一緒に考えていきましょうね。

それでは練習問題への回答もお待ちしています。メール こちらにお送りください。
1月19日(月)12時締切です。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。