Table of all translations of the fox's secret here.
The Fox's Secret:
On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur.
Translation into Japanese (2)
|(Japanese translations)||▶ Here is my secret. It is very simple||▼ One sees clearly only with the heart||▶ What is essential is invisible to the eyes|
|Japanese versions (popup)|
|B. VOCABULARY CHOICES|
|C. DISCOURSE ELEMENTS|
|▶ Fr ▶ En ▶ Ch ▶ Vn|
|On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur|
The French original doesn't supply an object for the verb voir, and among the English translations only Cuffe uses an object, the very general noun 'things'.
In the Japanese version, however, the object of 'seeing' is placed into subject position, either by topicalisation or by the use of an intransitive verb. Among the 15 Japanese translators, all but three spell out the subject of the sentence -- i.e., the object seen. The great majority use an expression meaning 'things'. The different translations are shown in the following table:
THE OBJECT SEEN
ものごと (物事) monogoto 'things' 7 もの mono 'things' 4 Zero (omission) -- 3 なにも nani mo 'nothing' 1 TOTAL 15 Table includes alternative sentence pattern covered in the structure section
- The most common word for 'things' is ものごと monogoto, which can be translated as 'things, matters'. This is composed of もの mono, referring to physical objects, and こと koto, referring to abstract matters. It is thus a general term for 'things in general'. (One translator writes this in Chinese characters as 物事 monogoto.)
- Slightly less numerous is もの mono, which usually refers to physical objects. Since seeing tends to involve physical perception, the word ものが見える mono ga mieru 'to be able to see' is a common collocation in Japanese.
Of these two terms, ものごと monogoto tends to convey a more 'philosophical' flavour, as though the fox were pontificating on the nature of 'things' and the universe. もの mono is more related to physical vision.
One translator uses なにも nanimo 'nothing', which changes the sense considerably. From ものはよく見えない mono wa yoku mienai 'things can't be seen well', the meaning changes to なにも見えない nanimo mienai 'can see nothing'.
The word 心 kokoro is the normal Japanese word for 'heart, spirit, mind'. Although there are obviously differences between 心 kokoro and coeur in connotation and range of meaning, no translators appear to have any problems using it as a translation of the French term.
A further factor that must be considered is the way that the fox's statement is 'embedded' inside an expression meaning 'It is the fact that' -- usually ってことさ -tte koto sa ('...is the fact that').
This wording is sometimes placed after this sentence, sometimes after the second sentence L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. For the overall pattern in the three sentences, see here.
In this sentence, the frame expressions used are:
'the fact is that...'
|それは ... ってこと
sore wa ... -tte koto
'that is the fact that...'
|Frame occurs after second sentence||
'It is the fact that' indicates that the secret is the fact that.... This is made very clear by the translation which prefaces the statement with それは ... 'that is'.
The 'framing expressions' are followed by sentence-final particles (さ sa, よ yo) that make a 'declaration'.
Five translations use sentence-ending particles. These are attached to the framing expressions. That is, the 'modal' impact attaches not to the statement that 'One can see clearly only with the heart', but to the assertion that 'it (i.e., my secret) is the fact that....'.
|だよ da yo
さ sa is a somewhat offhand way of making an assertion. Originally from eastern Japan, it tends to be regarded as cooler by younger people but is not without its detractors among more conservative users of language.
だよ da yo is a more broadly acceptable ending used for making stronger assertions.
なんだ nan'da is often said to be an 'explanatory' ending (explaining why something is so -- in this case explaining what the secret is), but it also has an assertive force.
Apart from sentence-final particles, one translator uses the particle ね ne after the topic ものごとは monogoto wa, a colloquial usage that highlights the topic and indicates that a comment is about to follow.