Translation and Rewriting (Japanese-English)
Japan's Stance on FTAs
It is possible to achieve an extremely high level of liberalisation between countries or regions that have such political or economic ties. For instance, in Europe, the Treaty of Rome abolished internal tariffs as early as 1957. In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement created a single market for the whole of the North American continent. Globally, a total of 185 FTAs has been lodged with the WTO.
I would like next to speak to Japanese policy on FTAs or economic partnerships. As already mentioned, we believe the WTO will continue to function at the center of the multilateral trading system. Nonetheless, we also recognize that trade and investment flows are not distributed evenly among all countries. Different countries have stronger or weaker ties with different countries and regions for geographic, historical, and political reasons.
Accordingly, it is sometimes possible to achieve much higher levels of liberalization with these politically and economically close countries and regions than it would be within the WTO's very diverse membership make-up. Europe is an excellent example, having concluded the Treaty of Rome in 1957 to eliminate intra-regional tariffs. More recently, the United States, Canada, and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 and NAFTA has since functioned to make the whole of North America a single market. Indeed, a quick count shows that there are some 185 FTAs recorded with the WTO.
Structure and flow
This paragraph moves onto Japan's stance on FTAs. This follows the logical structure:
- Japan sees the WTO as the centrepiece of the world trading system, BUT
- Trade tends to be conducted more closely with some regions than others for historical or other reasons.
- It is possible to achieve a higher level of liberalisation within these regions (e.g., the EU, NAFTA) than with others .
- 185 such FTAs are recorded with the WTO.
The logical connections in the two paragraphs are quite important. My translation handles them as follows:
- As I stated earlier.... (The speaker reiterates the earlier point)
- But.... (The speaker goes on to present a situation that conflicts with the earlier point)
- (No explicit transition)... (The speaker logically leads on to a different possibility)
- For instance,... (The speaker presents examples for his point)
- (No explicit transition)... (The speaker backs up his case with an illustrative figure)
This is handled much better by the official translation:
- As already mentioned.... (The speaker reiterates the earlier point)
- Nonetheless... (The speaker goes on to present a situation that conflicts with the earlier point)
- Accordingly... (The speaker logically leads on to a different possibility)
- Europe is an excellent example... More recently.... (The speaker presents examples for his point)
- Indeed,... (The speaker backs up his case with an illustrative figure)
By marking the connections more explicit, the official translation not only coheres better, it also reads better and sounds more natural.
The official translation also adds extra context when it says: 'it is ... possible to achieve much higher levels of liberalization with these politically and economically close countries and regions than it would be within the WTO's very diverse membership make-up'. The last clause referring to the WTO's very diverse membership does not occur in the original Japanese. It serves to emphasise the benefits of FTAs as compared with the WTO.
|Japanese original||Literal meaning||My translation||Official translation|
|説明します||'explain'||'look at'||'speak to'|
|中核||'nucleus, centrepiece'||'lynchpin'||'(function) at the center'|
|機能を果たす||'fulfil a function'||'(continuing) in its role'||'(will continue to) function'|
|機能を持つ||'have a function'||'the Agreement created a single market'||'has functioned to'|
|通報ベース||'on a reported basis'||'has been lodged'||'there are 185 FTAs recorded'|
|いち早く||'immediately, very early'||'as early as'||omitted|
|必ずしも...行われている訳ではありません||'the fact is that they are not necessarily conducted'|| 'do not necessarily
|持つに至りました||'came to have'||not translated||not specifically translated|
- 'Europe is an excellent example' expands on the perennial 例えば to yield a more natural, expressive phrase than tired old 'for instance' or 'for example'.
- 'A quick count reveals...' is also a natural and idiomatic expression.