Translation and Rewriting (Japanese-English)
The Economic Integration of East Asia and the Role of FTAs
Currently, East Asia accounts for more than 40% of Japan's external trade, far exceeding the share held by Europe or the U.S. Trade in intermediate goods within East Asia has seen a phenomenal increase in the past ten years. An ever-growing division of labour exists between Japanese firms and the economies of East Asia, leading to a high degree of economic interdependence.
Asia, in particular East Asia, is increasingly coming to the fore in a tripolar world consisting of Europe, America, and Asia. The increasingly shared perception in Japan, ASEAN, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong is that the integration of East Asia is an inevitable trend and the strengthening of ties in East Asia is in the region's common interest.
Economic development also contributes to political and social stability, enhancing the region's attractiveness as a destination for investment and further stimulating economic development. If we can build a common groundwork in a broad range of fields including environmental protection, energy security, and food security, East Asia will indeed enjoy sustainable prosperity.
The other underlying concern is our desire to create structures which can underpin the emergence of East Asia -- with which Japan already has strong and deep economic ties of interdependence -- as a seamless economic whole. Japan is determined to play a leadership role in working to promote economic partnerships throughout East Asia.
East Asia already accounts for a larger proportion of total Japanese trade -- over 40% -- than Europe or North America do. Likewise, there has been explosive growth in intra-regional trade in intermediate goods over the last decade. Japanese companies are increasingly locating operations in other East Asian economies, and there is a very strong economic interdependence between Japan and the rest of East Asia.
Asia today ranks with Europe and North America as one of the three global centers. This is especially true of East Asia, which is emerging as an increasingly clear presence, and the tide of history is moving inexorably toward greater integration in Asia. Such economies as Japan, the ASEAN countries, China, South Korea, Chinese Taipei, and Hong Kong are all well aware that strengthened partnerships and integration in East Asia are in the best interests of all of the region's players.
Among its other benefits, economic development also fosters political and social stability. Which in turn further enhances the attractiveness for investment. Which promotes further economic development. In addition, if we can create a shared platform within the region for addressing environmental issues, energy and security needs, and food security concerns, we will be able to enjoy sustainable prosperity throughout East Asia.
Structure and flow
1. Paragraph one notes that besides redressing the disadvantages caused by other FTAs (e.g., the EC and NAFTA), mentioned in the previous section (10), Japan's other objective is to provide a structural basis for the existing close relationship between Japan and East Asia, thus playing a leading role in economic integration.
2. The second paragraph details the closeness of existing economic relationships.
3. The third paragraph puts the idea that (1) Asia, especially East Asia, is one of three global economic centres and that (2) all members of the region are aware of the need for closer integration.
4. The fourth paragraph points to the political and social benefits of integration (creating a virtuous cycle), in addition to environmental, energy, security, and food benefits.
The following sentence from the third paragraph is one of those Japanese sentences that taxes translators and fouls up the best computer translation systems.
Literally it means, 'Asia, especially (that which is) East Asia, as one of the three global poles of Europe, America, and Asia, is (gradually) revealing a firm shape'. Needless to say, this requires drastic surgery in order to make sense.
The essential problem is structural. The Japanese builds up to the subject of the sentence using a succession of modifying structures (という, としての, and とりわけ ... という) in a top-heavy construction.
Technically, the subject of the sentence is the empty noun もの, which takes on everything that comes before. More broadly, however, the structure 東アジアというもの -- 'this thing which is East Asia' -- must be regarded as the subject. Used instead of the bald noun 東アジア, the expression 東アジアというもの is one of those verbose, indeterminate structures beloved of Japanese that nevertheless has its own particular function. Here it serves to identify East Asia as the kind of entity being talked about. The predicate of the sentence is the vague 確固たる姿を現しつつあります.
To translate this into English, it is necessary to try and figure out what the sentence is trying to say. The main points are:
- The world has three major 'poles' or centres of economic activity: Europe,
(North) America, and Asia (欧州、米州、アジア
- Within Asia, East Asia is coming more clearly into focus as a centre of activity (アジア、とりわけ東アジアというものが、確固たる姿を現しつつあります。)
I have translated this as 'Asia, in particular East Asia, is increasingly coming to the fore in a tripolar world consisting of Europe, America, and Asia'. The meaning is clear enough, although 'in a tripolar world consisting of Europe, America, and Asia' at the end does not really make the meaning adequately clear in a natural way.
The official translation goes 'Asia today ranks with Europe and North America as one of the three global centers. This is especially true of East Asia, which is emerging as an increasingly clear presence'. There is no doubt that this expresses the meaning more clearly and comprehensibly.
The final paragraph in Japanese runs as follows:
Literally, this means: 'Economic development also contributes to political and social stability. This further enhances the region's attractiveness as a destination for investment and further stimulates economic development'.
The official translation takes this and creates a technically ungrammatical but rhetorically effective structure, splitting the whole into three sentences. The last two begin with 'Which':
Among its other benefits, economic development also fosters political and social stability. Which in turn further enhances the attractiveness for investment. Which promotes further economic development.
|Japanese original||Literal meaning||My translation||Official translation|
|制度的な裏打ちを持って進めていく||'cause ... to progress with a systematic underpinning'||'provide a systematic basis for...'||'to create structures which can underpin... '|
|東アジア経済との一体化||'integration with the East Asian economy'||'economic integration with East Asia'||'the emergence of East Asia ... as a seamless whole'|
|果たしていくことを決意しております||'is determined/committed to perform ... (role)'||'is committed to playing a leading role in...'||'is determined to play a leadership role ...'|
|分業||'division of labour'||'division of labour'||'Japanese companies are increasingly locating operations in other East Asian economies'|
|確固たる姿を現しつつあります||'is gradually manifesting a firm form / figure'||'is increasingly coming to the fore'||'is emerging as an increasingly clear presence'|
|世界の三極||'three poles of the world'||'tripolar world'||'three global centers'|
分業 is normally translated as ' but in English this is a technical economics term. 分業 in Japanese is nothing more than the concept of splitting up roles in a project or process ('you do this, I'll do that'). Something other than 'division of labour' needs to be found.
確固たる姿を現しつつあります is a vague expression literally meaning . In this case neither 'stance' nor 'posture' sits right in English.
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