Question: Translations

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ucthelight 

Customer

 26 Oct 2007 14:46 UTCFri 26 Oct 2007 - 2:46 pm UTC 

In my possesion are letters between a brother(in Japan) and a sister (in America) between the years 1945-1965. I've been told that the style of writing and the text is pre WWII (rarely used in modern Japan) and it has proven too difficult for many native speakers to read let alone translate.
I suppose I could scan these letters and send them via email or hand deliver them if they live in the greater Los Angeles area.

Thanks
p.s. cost is a factor : )

 

ucthelight 

Customer

 26 Oct 2007 20:06 UTCFri 26 Oct 2007 - 8:06 pm UTC 

I am only an English speaking bloke so a website in Japan would be of little use to me unless it's a bilingual site.
Thanks

 

pinkfreud 

Researcher

 26 Oct 2007 20:18 UTCFri 26 Oct 2007 - 8:18 pm UTC 

I've sent a message to a Uclue researcher who lives in Tokyo to see whether he may have any ideas on this.

 

fp 

User

 26 Oct 2007 20:52 UTCFri 26 Oct 2007 - 8:52 pm UTC 

A short article on "The 20th Century Japanese Writing System: Reform and Change" (just in case you're interested):

http://www.spellingsociety.org/journals/j19/japanese.php

 

Hailstorm 

Former Researcher

 27 Oct 2007 01:39 UTCSat 27 Oct 2007 - 1:39 am UTC 

That would be me...but I'm afraid that Japanese handwriting is not my speciality, as it is almost like an entirely different language.

I know some other people who could help, but the price would vary depending on the length of the letter.  The general going rate I have seen is around 10 cents per Japanese letter, but the cost can be double that or more for handwritten Japanese depending on the legibility.

 

Hailstorm 

Former Researcher

 27 Oct 2007 01:41 UTCSat 27 Oct 2007 - 1:41 am UTC 

I'm sorry, let me rewrite that last paragraph for clarity.

I know some other people who could help, but the price would vary depending on the length of the letter.  The general going rate I have seen is around 10 cents per Japanese _character_, but the cost can be double that or more for handwritten Japanese depending on the legibility.

 

ucthelight 

Customer

 27 Oct 2007 05:13 UTCSat 27 Oct 2007 - 5:13 am UTC 

Hailstorm,

Excuse my ignorance but is that 10 cents per Japanese character akin to 10 cents per syllable or word. If so, WOW! As I have a couple dozen letters with multiple handwritten pages per letter (very legible I think). Since I can't read Japanese disregard my opinion on legibility.

I'm wondering if I can send via email (as soon as I figure out how to scan/copy) one of these letters and I'd be willing to pay the going rate to the translator. Quick question, will the translation be verbatim and more importantly accurate? Because, how would I know. Sorry, my pessimistic side is showing.

Personal note: These historic letter/cards were my grandmothers.

 

ucthelight 

Customer

 27 Oct 2007 05:16 UTCSat 27 Oct 2007 - 5:16 am UTC 

Big thanks Pinkfreud and fp for the helping hand.

 

ucthelight 

Customer

 27 Oct 2007 06:08 UTCSat 27 Oct 2007 - 6:08 am UTC 

fp,

That article was enlightening. Who knew? I sure didn't.
 
I'll have to re-read it a few more times for it all to sink in.

Thanks

 

la phantom 

Former Researcher

 28 Oct 2007 06:29 UTCSun 28 Oct 2007 - 6:29 am UTC 

Good Day, Ucthelight.

You have a treasure in your hands and I see the makings of a wonderful movie about the wars years. What a story!
Growing up in L.A., I had many friends who were children in those American detention camps.  Your grandmother might had endured the same injustice, but she left a story that should be addresssed as a book...a movie...

If I had them, I'd send a question to the Uclue gang asking them how I might proceed. Do I get an agent? Do I write a letter? Do I knock on Clint's front door?

Most of all, I would never let those letters out of my hand or my house.
I might even get them protected as intellectual property or via trademark.

They have value...even beyond the personal value to you.  I would love to read such a book based on the correspondence between a sibling in America and anothe sibling in Japan during the war.

The Clint Eastwood movies that I saw not too long ago were wonderful; and the one dubbed in English was based on "letters sent home".

Ucthelight!! Opportunity is knocking here and I hope you pursue it for yourself and your ancestors.
**********
I had a friend in Dallas who read voraciously..in the morning breaks, lunch,....evening...weekends.
I casually told her that she should try writing those romance novels herself!  She laughed and said she had written three, but they were rejected.
I asked her how she went about it and she said she simply mailed them to publishing companies.

There's the problem!  I told her she needed a literary agent to take care of that special business for her.

She believed me.  She has currently sold 15 books which I see in the bookstores all the time.

I get the same feeling about your grandmother's letters, Ucthelight, so at least ponder the possibilities.

 

ucthelight 

Customer

 29 Oct 2007 05:53 UTCMon 29 Oct 2007 - 5:53 am UTC 

la phantom,

I'm speechless.

ucthelight

 

markvmd 

User

 30 Oct 2007 07:21 UTCTue 30 Oct 2007 - 7:21 am UTC 

The recent demise of several of my Japanese friends who predate the war-- one was 15 in August 1945 and doing his required ritual spirit cleansing on Mount Fuji before being sent to martyr himself when the War ended-- means I can be of no assistance. I checked with two of my neighbors who are Japanese and they report they learned the "new" standard taught in the 60's. They compared the difference as being like Chaucer's English versus Dickens (I think they may have meant Shakespeare; however, I wasn't about to correct folks who can discuss 14th and 16th century English writers when the limit of Japanese culture for me is Kurosawa movies and Hokusai's "100 Mount Fuji views").

How about contacting some writers for Japanese English Language newspapers? The Yomiuri Shimbun, the Japan Times, that sort of thing? The worst they can suggest is that you pay for a classified ad..

 

ucthelight 

Customer

 30 Oct 2007 13:40 UTCTue 30 Oct 2007 - 1:40 pm UTC 

la phantom,

Thank you.

FYI, my family hails from Los Angeles and all were interned during the War years. You've given me much to ponder and I shall and will further your excellent suggestions.

Domo Arigato.
 
ucthelight

Markvmd thanks, I'll google these organizations for more info.

 

fp 

User

 30 Oct 2007 18:02 UTCTue 30 Oct 2007 - 6:02 pm UTC 

To find out exactly how difficult it would be to read the handwriting you could probably ask someone

1) either at the library of the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles:
http://www.la.us.emb-japan.go.jp/e_web/e_m03_13_01.htm

2) or at the Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles:
http://www.janm.org/

 

ucthelight 

Customer

 31 Oct 2007 02:32 UTCWed 31 Oct 2007 - 2:32 am UTC 

fp,

Over the years I would carry one of the letters with me and ask owners of Japanese restaurants, stores, hotels, etc. etc. and too my surprise they could not read the letters with any authority.

A few years back I trekked over to the JANM and presented one of the letters. Alas, they were of minimal help. At best they could glean some information from these letters but that was it. I did get a referral to a translator who worked via the internet. Because of my reluctance to correspond over the internet my quest ended there -- until I contacted Uclue.


fp, the Japanese Consulate is an excellent suggestion and I will purse that resource.

Thanks,
Ucthelight

 

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