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|English to Japanese translations [PRO]|
/ Name and karate type on black belt
|English term or phrase: Foreign name|
|Can foreign names be translated into Kanji?|
We have a client who wants to have her name (Janice Gatlin) and karate type (goju-ryu karate-do) stiched onto her black belt. A translator informed us that foreign names would never be officially written in Kanji, but yet our client is very persistant about this. The translator submitted the translation in Katakana and our client refused to accept this work.
Any professional feedback would be sincerely appreciated!
Though there are several answers given already, I rather want to say something different.
Basically, any foreign name CAN be written in kanji, as Mike Sekine-san has suggested. But, I do not think I, merely as a translator, can propose any kanji name for her.
I think there are several factors in decding what characters are to be used in kanji names. A first factor will be to choose characters that match the sounds of original names, and a second foctor will be to consider the meanings of kanji characters to be selected. Since Chinese characters are not merely phonetic characters but symbolic characters, one should consider their meanings before he or she choose the ones.
I would recommend that she ask her Japanese friends, her friends who know Japanese, or her karate master to show her possible Chinese characters that matches her name phonemically (maybe, ja, ni, and su), that she ask them each character's meanings, and that she finally decide which character she want to use with the consultation. Maybe she also wants to ask how poeple (in particular, native Japanese speakers) fell about a possible string of characters.
In addition, there might be another option in choosing characters: without considering anything about the meaning of characters, just choose ones that she finds to be cool. Recently, in the states, many American people have Chinese characters on their caps or on the shirts, and I heard that they are chosen based on how they look. I do not understand this concept, but it seems that there are characters that look "cool" to them. Though Chinese characters are symbolic, this might be an option without being bothered by symbolic meanings.
To me, I cannot propose any kanji name as an unknown translator, and I personally feel that proposing one is presumptuous :-) .
Selected response from:
Local time: 09:35
|daisuke: Thank you very much for your comments! In the end you basically confirmed what we had assumed all along. However, as people who do not speak Japanese, we turned to this forum to get everyones opinion and to try to explain to the client what is really involved in this little project of hers. |
It was very hard for me to hand out these KudoZ to just one person, because everyone in this forum put so much effort into their answers and did so much research! We read every single one of your posts, learned so much about the Japanese language and -thoroughly- enjoyed reading everyones feedback. Thank you to everyone for their efforts! I wish I could give all of you 4 points!!!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer
15 mins confidence: peer agreement (net): +2
Your translator is absolutely correct. Katakana is a phonetic alphabet in Japanese that is used to express foreign words and names that do not exist in the Japanese language, or to express "imported" foreign words. There is no such Japanese equivalent in Kanji for "Janice Gatlin" unfortunately. Realize that Kanji characters are not used phonetically either. Each kanji character has a meaning - thus a word that has the same sounds can be expressed in many different ways. For instance 木 (pronounced "ki" means tree), 気(pronounced "ki" means air), 機（pronounced "ki" means machine) etc. A name in Kanji is a combination (and you'd hope your parents have put some thought behind them) of these character's "meanings" - thus it would be difficult even if the translator could find Kanji that sounded similar to your client's name and combine them - because the meaning of her name would probably come out ridiculous, or maybe something undesirable. Take for instance "ja" - there is a kanji that reads ”邪” and it means evil or wicked, or you could take ”蛇” which means snake. Unless your client plans to be a bad guy in WWF, she probably wouldn't want these characters in her name.
Hope this helps!
Local time: 19:35
PRO pts in pair: 3