Experience with Japanese/Korean - English dictionaries
Thread poster: stromfi

stromfi
English
May 12, 2005

I have a few Korean students and I've noticed that sometimes they come up with some weird English words. Apparently, they get them from their electronic or paper back dictionaries, but to my knowledge these words do not exist in English. Has any of you ever had the same experience? It also happened when I had some Japanese students. Is it me or is it the dictionaries?

 

Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:14
Japanese to English
+ ...
I wouldn't be surprised if it is the dictionaries, but... May 12, 2005

stromfi wrote:

I have a few Korean students and I've noticed that sometimes they come up with some weird English words. Apparently, they get them from their electronic or paper back dictionaries, but to my knowledge these words do not exist in English. Has any of you ever had the same experience? It also happened when I had some Japanese students. Is it me or is it the dictionaries?


Can you give me some examples? Then I might be able to figure out where they're getting these weird words.


 

Buzzy
Local time: 21:14
French to English
They might be normal words but not familiar to you... May 12, 2005

Hi Stromfi,

Some dictionaries certainly do contain some pretty strange words, but another possibility is that these words are new and strange to you but wouldn't be to someone else, maybe from another part of the English-speaking world, or simply another field of work.
When I started out as an in-house translator in an accounting and law firm, part of my job was to correct English written by my French colleagues. I remember being adamant on more than one occasion that "this sounds really weird, no-one would say that"... whereupon the French person who wrote the thing would fetch the fax/article they'd got it from - written by a native English speaker. I'm not talking about technical terms, and it wasn't always an American/British thing either. (As a Brit I was initially convinced that references to "strollers" in French museum leaflets were some weird invention - I only knew about "pushchairs" ! And an American friend thought "Way out" for exits in UK airports was hilariously hippy!)
Experience has taught me never to say "That word doesn't exist" before looking into the matter a bit more deeply. Like Can, I'd love to know what the words in question are. Can you give us some examples?


 

xxxsarahl
Local time: 12:14
English to French
+ ...
it's the dictionaries, definitely! May 12, 2005

in my experience, Japanese to another languages dictionaries were written by and for Japanese users. My own taishukan Japanese to French dictionary, while probably the best there is, will often offer strange French phrases. Mind you, the words DO exist, we just never use them the way they do.icon_lol.gif

Hence, I never take those entries at face value. Of course they are helpful, but as a hint only.

HTH

Sarah


 

xxxMomoka  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:14
Japanese to Spanish
+ ...
Also the other way May 12, 2005

I've had the same experience when teaching and even talking to Japanese friends and acquaintances in either English, Spanish or Japanese. Sometimes they use words I don't understand, and it's either because I just don't know the word, it isn't used in MY country (when it comes to my mother tongue), or it's used in a different way when translated into their language. It's the same the other way, when I try to communicate either in English or Japanese, sometimes I use words the native speaker might think don't fit. It happens too (not as often, I must say) among speakers of the same language, even in the same country. What I do when teaching is tell my students the word I know for that case is "", OR in my country we use "", etc. If it's a word I don't know, they might be right. Going into too much detail would make my job too complicated, and I'm not teaching language experts...I'm here to help them. My two cents...

 

uFO  Identity Verified
South Korea
Local time: 16:14
Korean to English
+ ...
definitely the dictionaries May 13, 2005

at least with Korean language. As a translator who works from Korean, I find Korean-Engish dictionaries terribly outdated and generally frustrating. And they do have quite a few bizzare English expressions ...

 

catlover  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:14
English to Japanese
+ ...
Combination of poor grammar and picking inappropriate words from dictionaries May 29, 2005

sarahl wrote:

in my experience, Japanese to another languages dictionaries were written by and for Japanese users. My own taishukan Japanese to French dictionary, while probably the best there is, will often offer strange French phrases. Mind you, the words DO exist, we just never use them the way they do.icon_lol.gif

Hence, I never take those entries at face value. Of course they are helpful, but as a hint only.

HTH

Sarah


I agree. Of many meanings listed in dictionaries, wrong selection of word is sometimes made.
I used be an in-house translator at a Japanese company and there were times when I had heard time keeping a straight face. Here are some examples.

A Japanese male said to an American female account rep. from a vendor:
"Because we work together, we should become intimate." - He meant as "We should keep close (business) relationship to work together."

A Japanese male manager showed up late for an afternoon meeting and said:
"I am late because I had an affair during lunch." - He meant as "I am late because I had to run some errands."

Also, Japanese have tendency to make abbreviation of a word with first few letters of the word. On the organization chart a Japanese Manager created had an abbreviation of a job title for "Associate" with its first 3 letters.

Moreover, the same word or phrase may be used differently in different countries. The other day an Amarican female comedian was talking about different meaning of words in England when she visited there. Here are examples;
A male receptionist at Hotel asked her, "What time would you like us to knock you up?" - He meant "Wake up", however "knock O up" often means "get O pregnant" in America. Her reply was "I rarely know you........"
A guy asked her, "May I borrow your rubber? I will return it to you."- (rubber=eraser) She became speechless for a while because "rubber" often means something else (guess!) in America. She finally replied as "I don't have one, but if I do, you can keep it."




[Edited at 2005-05-30 19:46]

[Edited at 2005-05-30 19:47]


 

stromfi
English
TOPIC STARTER
Great stories! May 29, 2005

Do you have some more?icon_wink.gif

 


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