Translation and Rewriting (Japanese-English)
The Importance of the Developing Countries' Perspective
The second point is that of focusing on growth for the developing economies, as indicated by the very title of the Doha Development Agenda. It is most unfortunate that Cancun ended up focusing on the disagreements between the industrial countries and the developing countries. Unless a greater effort is made by all, including the leading developing countries that are enjoying growth, we may well miss this important opportunity to translate this Round into expanding global trade and enable the developing countries to enjoy the benefits of growth. I hope all countries will move forcefully to promote practical liberalization with all due speed commensurate with their capabilities and competitiveness. Japan has already moved to open its markets to the developing countries with preferential tariff measures and by exempting the bulk of importas from the least-developed countries (LDCs) from tariff and quota restrictions, and I assure you we intend to back the forward-looking efforts of the developing countries in this Round with capacity-building support, technical support, and more.
Structure and flow
This paragraph addresses the second point mentioned earlier (part 6): the need to focus on the perspective of the developing countries, as implied by the Doha Development Agenda ('development' = 開発). The standoff between developed and developing countries at Cancun was 'unfortunate'. If not addressed, both the developing countries themselves and world trade as a whole will be losers. All should strive to make the Round succeed according to their own lights. Japan's efforts are then mentioned briefly (preferential treatment, especially to the LDCs) along with Japan's intention to provide support to the developing countries.
In the first sentence I follow the order of the Japanese ('As is shown by the name of the round, the perspective of the developing countries is important') whereas the official translation reverses the order ('The perspective of the developing countries is important, as is shown by the name of the round'). The second is more effective.
The final sentence is fascinating for what it might mean. 途上国の前向きの努力に対し能力構築支援や技術支援を惜しまないつもりです literally means: 'Japan does not intend to stint on capacity-building support and technical support in response to the forward-looking efforts of the developing nations'. Does this make Japan's support conditional on 'forward-looking efforts'? Or does it mean that the developing countries' forward-looking efforts are already worthy of Japan's support?
I've glossed over this rather quickly by saying 'Japan will freely provide capacity-building and technical support in response to the active efforts of the developing countries'. It skirts around any subtleties of interpretation. The official translation says: 'we intend to back the forward-looking efforts of the developing countries in this Round with capacity-building support, technical support, and more.' This very nicely turns the whole sentence into an overall expression of support for the developing economies. By implying that the developing countries are already making forward efforts, it has a positive tone.
It is interesting that the official translation adds an extra phrase to the second sentence. A greater effort needs to be made by 'all, including the leading developing countries that are enjoying growth'. This politically-pointed phrase is missing from the Japanese original. Perhaps it was in the original and later omitted, or perhaps the rewriter felt that it was needed for emphasis. Or perhaps the rewriter simply misinterpreted the meaning of the translation supplied by the Ministry. The upshot is that the English version makes it adequately clear that the leading developing countries themselves benefit from economic growth and need to make greater efforts. It is, to use a vernacular phrase, getting somewhat 'heavy'.
|Japanese original||Literal meaning||My translation||Official translation|
|対立の構図||'configuration of confrontation'||'highlighting the division'||'focusing on the disagreements'|
|不十分な取組にとどまれば||'If it stops at an insufficient grappling'||'If this is not properly addressed'||'Unless a greater effort is made by all'|
|貴重な機会を逸する||'let slip a valuable opportunity'||'lose a valuable chance'||'miss this important opportunity'|
|国力・競争力||'national strength and competitiveness'||'national strengths and competitiveness'||'their capabilities and competitiveness'|
|実施可能な取組||'practicable tackling/addressing'||practicable steps to address this||'practical liberalization'|
|積極的に行う||'carry out actively/aggressively'.||'actively take... steps'||'move forcefully to promote...'|
|太宗||'most important '||'bulk'||'bulk'|
|無税無枠措置||'non-tax non-quota measures'||'non-tariff non-quota arrangements'||'exempting..from tariff and quota restrictions'|
|前向きの努力||'forward-looking efforts'||'active efforts'||'forward-looking efforts'|
This passage contains a few hoary old chestnuts that bedevil Japanese official-speak.
- 対立の構図 combines two words, 対立 (being opposed or at loggerheads) and 構図 (configuration, layout) into one difficult-to-translate expression. 構図 in particular is easy enough to grasp but hard to render.
- 取組 is an old favourite that literally means 'to grapple / grappling', but actually means 'to deal with' or 'to address'. I personally like the much-maligned verb 'to address', but the rewriter has managed to avoid such knee-jerk reactions altogether.
- 前向き literally means 'forward-looking' or 'positive'. It is beloved of politicians and often manages to say nothing. Although many Japanese believe that the empty nuance of this word is hard to translate into English, surprisingly it goes over quite well!