Friday, May 25, 2007

Lets Do Some Translations

"Nathan is from the United States. He taught for a year in China."
Okay, now put the sentence above into Japanese. That's what we've been doing in our class. No, it's not Japanese language lesson. Instead that's how the English lesson is conducted. I can say 98% of the entire lesson is conducted in Japanese.
The terms like 現在形, 過去形, 現在進行形, 過去進行形, 現在完了形, 過去完了形, 未来完了形 are among the ones I have 'discovered' so far. To put them in English, they are Present Tense, Past Tense, Present Continuous Tense, Past Continuous Tense, Present Perfect Tense, Past Perfect Tense and Future Perfect Tense. So instead of learning English, I ended up learning those terms and new words in Japanese. In other words, I'm learning Japanese in the English class!
My sensei keep telling us (Malaysian) that the lesson is too kacang putih for us. Yes, I agree. If we were to get 90 marks and below in the test, then I'm sure there's something wrong somewhere. I'm not saying we shouldn't make any mistakes in the paper; or we shouldn't get it wrong at the questions the Japanese got it right. The people from Bolehland is also human after all, right? But I guess we should get them right, which mean better than the Japanese to a certain extent. As someone said before, it's not to show that we are too good in English (at least light years better than the Japanese). Instead, it's to avoid Malaysian from losing face. Get what I mean here?
When we are doing the comprehension part, we are supposed to translate the whole passage into Japanese! Just imagine that! What's the rational of having a English period twice a week? They might as well rename the lesson into 'Mari Belajar Menterjemah Bahasa Inggeris'.
By the way, from the above sentence, not less than 3 students in my class couldn't understand and failed to translate the second sentence correctly. The first sentence was okay.
ネタンさんはアメリカから来ました。
How about the second one? To put it into simple Japanese would be something like:
彼は中国で1年間教えていました。
But for them, that was the one they find it 'difficult'. I wonder where's the 'difficult' part. That's the one where they came up with REALLY creative translations. Among them are:
彼は4年間教えていました。(He taught for four years)
I can understand this coz he might made a mistake between 'for' and 'four'.
But take a look at the next one:
彼は去年中国で教えていました。(He taught in China last year)
This is the one I don't know how on earth he could change it into an entire new sentence with different meaning that even a goat will never understand it. Of course the whole class laughed at him that time and I'm one of them. Hey, I'm not looking down on him, okay? I just couldn't stand his 'joke' ma.
To sum it up, I've come up with a new formula where I'm sure Sir Issac Newton would have been proud of.
Japanese English=Gone Case!

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