(7b) Suntory has decided to forgo raising the prices of beverages that it has been considering to implement from next spring. It was planning to increase the prices of some products such as can coffee by 10 yen due to price hikes in raw materials such as sugar and containers.
The most important thing is to change the structure of the original Japanese and supply a subject and a main verb. The only candidate for the subject is of course “Suntory”, and since it has been used in the first sentence, “it” or “the company” can be used instead.
The hint for the main verb comes from “方針”, which may be translated as “plan” or “consider” as a reader has suggested. Another thing to note is that “受けて” in the middle of the sentence should not be translated directly as “receiving”. Besides “due to”, “in response to” is also acceptable.
Now, the focus this week is on subject or topic noun phrases that are modified by relative clauses. When such noun phrases are translated into English, the head noun gets separated from the main verb by a relative clause. In some cases, this makes the sentence difficult to process.
(1a) is extracted from the first paragraph of a newspaper article. In (1a), the head noun of the modified noun phrase is marked by a double underline and the relative clause modifying it is marked by a single underline.
(1b) Aeon, whose profitability has declined due to a slump in consumption, wants to improve its operational efficiency by making use of Mitsubishi’s international procurement network.
(1b) shows the translation of (1a) with the original structure followed closely. Note that due to the presence of the relative clause, the subject, “Aeon”, and the main verb, “wants”, get separated.
The relative clause contains new information necessary for understanding the article that has not been mentioned in the preceding context. It is more difficult for readers to process sentences in which the subject gets separated from the main verb by one or more relative clauses.
(1c) Aeon has suffered a decline in profitability due to a slump in consumption, and wants to improve its operational efficiency by making use of Mitsubishi’s international procurement network.
(1c) is an improved version of (1b) with the relative clause rewritten as a separate sentence.
(2b) The turnover in convenience stores, which has been declining from the previous year based on the annual number of existing stores since 2000, has been improving recently.
(2c) The turnover in convenience stores has been declining from the previous year based on the annual number of existing stores since 2000. But it is showing a rising trend recently.
(2a) is also taken from a newspaper article. If it is translated directly as shown in (2b), the main noun, “turnover”, gets separated from the main verb, “has been improving”, by a rather long relative clause. The reader has to process and keep a lot of extra information in memory before getting to the main verb.
If (2b) is split into two sentences as shown in (2c), the reader will have an easier time.
(3b) Okada Motoya, who took up his appointment as the president in 1997, set his sights on business expansion with the world’s largest retailer, America’s Walmart Stores, as his model.
(3c) When the president of Aeon, Okada Motoya, took up his appointment in 1997, he set his sights on business expansion with the world’s largest retailer, America’s Walmart Stores, as his model.
In (3a), “岡田元也氏” is mentioned for the first time in a newspaper article about Aeon. (3b) is a perfectly grammatical translation that retains the original structure of (3a). However, it sounds rather abrupt to introduce “Okada Motoya” suddenly.
A different version is provided in (3c) with the relative clause changed to an adverbial clause. Note that Okada Motoya’s name is preceded by his title, which makes this sentence fit in more naturally as new information is not introduced abruptly.
Please be careful when translating relative clauses. Even though the original structure can be reproduced in English, it may not always be contextually appropriate.