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Translation and Rewriting (Japanese-English)

Part 5

The Role of the WTO

まず、WTOに関する日本の考え方を説明いたします。皆様ご存知の通り、WTOは、多国間貿易ルールを策定する唯一の機関であり、世界通商システムの中核をになっています。日本は、ドーハ・ラウンドの成功は、世界経済を途上国も含め融合し、一体として発展させるための鍵と考えています。世界有数の貿易国、東アジアで経済開発を先んじて実現した国として、日本は、多角的貿易体制を一貫して重視しており、ラウンドの推進に向け引き続き努力していきます。

昨年のカンクン決裂の失敗を繰り返さないために、私が重要と考える3点を指摘したいと思います。すなわち、①「志」と「柔軟性」のバランス、②途上国開発の視点、③包括的なパッケージの重要性です。

My translation

First, I will explain Japanese thinking on the WTO. As you are aware, the WTO is the only institution for the creation of international trade rules and lies at the heart of the world trading system. Japan sees the success of the Doha Round as the key to uniting the world economy (including the developing nations) and bringing about development in an integrated fashion. As one of the world's major trading nations and a leader in economic development in East Asia, Japan has always attached importance to the multilateral trading system and will continue to work to promote the Round.

In order to avoid a repetition of the rupture that occurred in Cancun last year, I wish to raise three important points: (1) the need to strike a balance between ambition and flexibility, (2) the perspective of the developing nations, and (3) the importance of arriving at a comprehensive package.

Official translation

Turning first to the WTO, this is, as you know, the only institution we have for making and enforcing international trade rules. Thus Japan sees the Doha Round as crucial to bringing all countries, industrial and developing alike, together for hand-in-hand growth. One of the most active international trading states and a pioneer in East Asian economic development, Japan has been unwavering in the importance it attaches to the multilateral trading regime, and we are continuing to work to bring the current Round to a successful conclusion.

I believe there are three things we should concentrate on if we are to avoid a repeat of last year's Cancun failure: (a) striking a balance between ambition and flexibility, (b) focusing on growth for the developing economies, and (c) emphasizing the need for a comprehensive package. Let me look at these one at a time.

Structure and flow

This passage stresses the centrality of the WTO in Japanese trade policy. It opens with a transitional sentence ('I will explain Japan's thinking on the WTO'), followed by a statement of the WTO's importance and Japan's commitment to it. The second paragraph refers to three considerations that must be taken into account to ensure that the Cancun failure is not repeated: the balance between ambition and flexibility; the perspective of the developing nations; and the importance of a comprehensive package.

My own translation is fairly straightforward but somewhat wooden.

Transitions are handled poorly, e.g.: 'First, I will explain Japanese thinking on the WTO.' In the official translation, this becomes 'Turning first to the WTO', which provides a smooth and economical transition from the preceding paragraph. The final sentence in the official translation ('Let me look at these one at a time') also makes a smooth transition to the next paragraph. This is arguably an improvement on the original Japanese, which has no explicit transition.

The woodenness of my translation is also apparent in sentences like 'In order to avoid a repetition of the [Cancun] rupture..., I wish to raise three important points...' 'In order to...' is a no-no in good style, to be used as sparingly as possible. In the official translation, this is translated more naturally as 'I believe there are three things we should concentrate on if we are to avoid a repeat of last year's Cancun failure.' Notice that the English is almost colloquial in tone but is no less polished for that.

Vocabulary

The official translation is an example of natural and convincing phrasing. In particular, 'has been unwavering in the importance it attaches to' and 'to bring the current Round to a successful conclusion' are both ringing phrases that add to the force of the English.

There is, however, an error in translating ルールを策定する唯一の機関, which actually refers only to the formulation of rules. The official translation changes this to 'the only institution we have for making and enforcing rules'.

The following table shows some of the choices of vocabulary and expression made in the translations.

Japanese original Literal meaning My translation Official translation
ルールを策定する唯一の機関 'the only institution that draws up/formulates rules' 'the only institution for the creation of rules' 'the only institution we have for making and enforcing rules'
世界通商システムの中核をになっています 'plays a role as the core/kernel of the world trading system' 'lies at the heart of the world trading system' Omitted
世界経済を...融合する 'unite / fuse the world economy' 'uniting the world economy' 'bringing all countries together'
一体として発展させる 'develop as an integreted whole' 'bringing about development in an integrated fashion' 'for hand-in-hand growth'
経済開発を先んじて実現した 'realised economic development in advance' 'a leader in economic development' 'a pioneer in ... economic development'
一貫して重視しており 'consistently regard as important' 'has always attached importance to' 'has been unwavering in the importance it attaches to'
ラウンドの推進 'promotion of the round' 'promote the Round' 'to bring the current Round to a successful conclusion'
決裂の失敗 'failure through rupture' 'the rupture' 'failure'
3点を指摘する 'point out three points' 'raise three ... points' 'believe there are three things'

In addition to the expressions mentioned above, the following are also worthy of note:

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