[JITF2020] Reading and Translating Punctuation

Yumiko Fukai

Translator and interpreter with expertise in the fields of entertainment, media, marketing and PR, also teaching at a translation school since 1996.  In charge of event planning and operations as well as YouTube at the Honyaku Forum.  Co-author of “Honyaku no Ressun (Translation Lessons)” (Kodansha).  Gave commentary on punctuation in the “Eibun Rule Sotenken (Comprehensive Check of English Writing Rules)” column in the “Eigo Kyoiku (English Education)” magazine of TAISHUKAN Publishing from April 2019 until March 2020.

Reading and Translating Punctuation

.!?,:;-[ ]( )’” “‘ ‘…/。 、? ! ・「」『』()【】―…Do you know the names for each of these?  Do you know how to use them properly, differentiating between them? 

A correct understanding of punctuation is important not only for writing but also for reading.  Punctuation cannot be neglected if one wants to translate so that the “picture” evoked when reading the original is the same as when reading the translation. The translator needs to grasp the meaning and intent of each mark and express it accurately in the target language.  There are many punctuation marks that are shaped similarly in English and Japanese but are used differently.  There are also symbols that exist only in English or only in Japanese.  Misconceptions can lead to misuse; checking to avoid this increases confidence.

Punctuation has been covered three times at the Honyaku Forum symposium and lesson series.  A digest version with new contents will be given this time.  Reference materials for self-study will also be introduced.