Here is the answer to the example given for practice in the last session.
(5b) The one that is said to be the triggering factor is Taspo, which was introduced throughout the country in July.
(5c) The triggering factor is generally considered to be Taspo, which was introduced throughout the country in July.
To improve on the direct translation in (5b), we need to get rid of the relative clause attached to “one”. In (5c), “triggering factor” becomes the subject instead of “one”. The main verb is also changed to the passive form of “consider” instead of “say”. It is best to avoid translating phrases like いわれている directly because they do not sound natural in English. Note that the improved version is shorter and neater.
This week, I will look at the description of statistics shown in graphs and charts. I want to focus in particular on ～は～が sentences such as the ones shown in the (a) sentences in all the examples below.
(1b) As for men in the 30’s, the number of people who have travel experience has been falling since 1996.
(1c) Since 1996, the number of men in the 30’s with travel experience has been falling.
The topic marker は is frequently translated as “as for ～”, “for ～”, “in the case of ～” in Japanese language textbooks. As shown in (1b) above, it may be grammatically sound to translate は in this way. But we can make (1b) sound more natural by avoiding the use of “as for ～” as shown in (1c). Note that the information contained in the noun phrase preceding は is incorporated into the noun phrase preceding が so that we can do away with the initial phrase beginning with “as for ～” in (1b).
In the next two examples, the information in the 2 noun phrases preceding は and が in the original sentence are combined in the same way as (1c) so that we don’t need the phrase beginning with “For ～” in (2b) and (3b).
(2b) For Hawaii, Guam, and the South Pacific Islands, approximately 60% are “package tours”.
(2c) 60% of the visitors to Hawaii, Guam, and the South Pacific Islands are on “package tours”.
(3b) For France, people who travel with “friends or acquaintances” make up 12%, which is low compared to other countries.
(3c) People who travel to France with “friends or acquaintances” make up 12%, which is low compared to other countries.
The next example is slightly different in the way the information in the 2 noun phrases preceding は and が are combined.
(4b) For travel arrangements to India, 55% of travelers make them 1 to 2 months in advance.
(4c) 55% of travelers to India make travel arrangements 1 to 2 months in advance.
In the original sentence, 旅行手配 in the noun phrase preceding はis the object of the mainverb行う. (4c) simply returns the sentence to its original structure with “travel arrangements” following the main verb “make”.
(5b) In its consolidated performance for Feb-Oct 2008 that DyDo announced on the 25th, its net profit fell by 42% to 1.46 billion yen compared to the same term in the previous year.
In this last example taken from a newspaper article, we see the same basic ～は～が pattern. In (5b), the noun phrase preceding は is translated using a prepositional phrase beginning with “in”, and it is not combined with the noun phrase preceding がunlike the other examples above. This is because the information contained in the noun phrase preceding が(i.e. 純利益) is found within the noun phrase preceding は (i.e. 連結業績).
Also, note that the noun phrase preceding は is rather long because it contains a relative clause. If this is incorporated into the noun phrase preceding が, we will end up with a long and clumsy subject noun phrase, which we should try to avoid if possible because it makes information difficult to process as I have mentioned in previous sessions.