jouhouka vs. "information"
Thread poster: Marc Adler

Marc Adler  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:02
Japanese to English
Mar 16, 2006

In response to a question about 情報化社会 in Japanese, Susan Koyama-Steele suggested "in this highly developed information age we live or, in this modern age of advanced information technology." I responded with a "neutral" (note: not "disagree," but "neutral") because these seem like unnatural ways of saying this in English. She disagreed with my interpretation.

Let's take a look at the sentence:

高度に情報化した現代社会において、マスメディアが適切な情報を広く提供することによって、自殺予防に大きな役割を果たすことが期待されている。

Here, the 情報 of 情報化 is not the same as the 適切な情報 later in the sentence. 情報化 means something like "computerized" (cf. "informatics" = "computer science") or "digital." The writer is pointing out the irony of the fact that suicidal people are using the tools offered by our computerized world (internet, cell phones, etc.) to arrange suicide groups, while the media, which is the traditional source of mass communication, is failing to prevent these suicides. (The fact that the writer is confusing two fundamentally different issues is a question for another thread.)

In this case, it's the _impact_ of that technology which is the topic at hand; namely, group suicides. To translate the sentence as "In this highly developed information age we live (in), the media is expected to make available information which would help prevent suicide" would be a non-sequitur. What does the "information age" have to do with the media preventing suicide? Wouldn't the media be expected to play that role even if we didn't live in an "information age"? And if the "information" offered by the media is part of the "information age" then what's so advanced about it?

However, the Japanese is not a non-sequitur, because the implication is that the internet (the most characteristic feature of the 情報化社会) has been used as a tool in the growth of group suicides, while the media has just stood idly by (or some such).

Therefore, for the allusion to the 情報化社会 to make sense in English, some mention has to be made of the impact of that technology.


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:02
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
The way I see the meaning of the sentence Mar 16, 2006

I have not yet read the KudoZ question you are referring to, I am just responding to you based on the single sentence you posted here.


高度に情報化した現代社会において、マスメディアが適切な情報を広く提供することによって、自殺予防に大きな役割を果たすことが期待されている。


I think the point is that the mass media has the means to reach a wide range of people, and therefore can be (would be/is) expected to provide appropriate information to prevent suicides. The "means" I am referring to is the highly computerized (other possible translations for this are below) society: wide access to the internet and other communication systems for sharing and retrieving information.

情報化した is often translated as "computerized", however, when it is combined with "society", "information" seems to be used more often.

情報化社会 has many possible translations, including the simple "information society", and also "information-oriented society", which I like a lot, especially that it seems to fit your sentence nicely.

Put 情報化社会 society into Google, you will see many possibilities.
高度情報化社会 could be "advanced information society", "highly computerized society", or "highly information-oriented". although I don't think "highly" is needed in this last one.

The "information age" suggestion is not wrong, it can also be used if the sentence is constructed correctly.


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Momoka  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:02
Japanese to Spanish
+ ...
More context Mar 16, 2006

There is only one sentence, on which I think you are making too many assumptions (group suicides is not mentioned there, as an example) and Susan maybe too few.
I'm not a native speaker of English, but even if I were to translate this sentence into Spanish, I would need more context; I'd like to take a look at that well written article the asker is working on. And you see that even he has decided to ponder a little more...


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Kurt Hammond  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:02
Japanese to English
Hello - I am the original Kudoz asker. Mar 17, 2006

Hello - I am the original Kudoz asker.
Interesting that this has become a forum topic!

I have to disagree as well. According to my reading, 情報化 does not carry nuance of "computerize" - While different from the 情報 later in the sentence, here, it only means that our society is affected by information far more than before. Simply put, there is more information in our society and individuals enounter far more of it every day than in earlier societies. The next sentence after this one in the paper actually was something like "we can hardly go a single day without encountering information from the mass media." There is no mention of technology, computers, television or the like. The simple nuance is "in today's society, there is a lot of information"

The perfect English term for the Japanese meaning, as noted by myself and some posters, is "informatized" - but this is highly awkward. As I noted, 情報化 is a pretty common and concise term but "informatized" sounds really forced in English.

Katalin's answer best captured to the intended nuance while remaining concise, so I awarded the points to her.

Indeed when used together with "society," the standard translation for 情報化 has been "information society"- "society in the information age" etc., but these do not capture the intended nuance.

To give some idea about the purpose of the article, the idea behind the posted sentence is simply that if the mass media handles reporting of suicide-sensitive issues correctly, it can help to prevent suicides.

The paper discusses several cases where the media contributed to mass suicides or copycat suicides, and offers a synopsis of recommendations to the media for how to report on the issues that might negatively impact suicidal individuals. The paper asserts that when the reporting is handled correctly, mass media reporting can go from a negative to a positive impact.

The original 高度に情報化した社会 appeared several times in the paper - I actually used "heavily information-oriented society" or a variation in the actual translation.

[Edited at 2006-03-17 03:06]


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Momoka  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:02
Japanese to Spanish
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Live to learn Mar 17, 2006

Thank you , Kurt, for taking the time to lets us know.

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Marc Adler  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:02
Japanese to English
TOPIC STARTER
common confusion Mar 18, 2006

Kurt Hammond wrote:

I have to disagree as well. According to my reading, 情報化 does not carry nuance of "computerize" - While different from the 情報 later in the sentence, here, it only means that our society is affected by information far more than before.


First, let me point out (again) that I didn't disagree with Susan's translation. I used "neutral." Please let's keep that in mind.

Second, society isn't more affected by information than before. More information is available thanks to new technology, but that's different. About the only qualitative differences are that traditional brokerage houses have had to radically reconceive their position in the financial market, and there's one extra iota (but not more) of independent journalism available.

There's no "extra" information available today.


There is no mention of technology, computers, television or the like. The simple nuance is "in today's society, there is a lot of information"


I don't think I'm going to be able to convince you of this, but 情報化 has nothing to do with there being more information in today's society, because, as I said above, there isn't more information.

Let me put it to you this way: the information in "information technology" isn't information about weather, politics, sumo, or anything else. "Information technology" is technology designed to handle lots and lots of different types of information. That's why I suggested "digitized" or "digital" as a closer rendition.

But "IT" does not have to do with the content of the information (the kind of information you're talking about). It has to do with formats for storing that information, means of transmitting it, displaying, and so on.


The perfect English term for the Japanese meaning, as noted by myself and some posters, is "informatized" - but this is highly awkward. As I noted, 情報化 is a pretty common and concise term but "informatized" sounds really forced in English.


I have to be frank with you. That's not English. Not only is it not English, it's a monstrous literalism which means nothing, which is why it sounds forced in English. It's completely devoid of meaning. In your definition of "情報化" (i.e., more information about what restaurants are nearby, tomorrow's weather, etc.), the correct term (cringe) would be "informed." But either way, that's not what 情報化 means, so "informed" isn't right.

Still, lots of people misuse the concept, which has fossilized into a buzzword deployed more often than not to try to add some kind of hip currency to a phrase, and in all likelihood that's what your author was doing. To that extent, Susan's translation was accurate (but unnatural), which is what I said right from the beginning.

Marc


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