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Scuba Scuba March 5, 2020 March 5, 2020 at 12:11:18 AM UTC link Permalink

Sorry if this has been covered, but I have a question regarding translating sentences with implied subjects or objects. I'd like to contribute back to Tatoeba as thanks for the incredible use I've gotten from here.

In Japanese the subject or object in a sentence is often omitted once it's clear from the context of the conversation what it's about. So a single word could be a complete sentence in Japanese when it would only be a fragment in English. What's the standard practice for translating these kinds of sentences?

I see a bunch of Japanese sentences without English translations that I understand completely, but would have to insert a you/them/me/it/etc to make it make sense in English.

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Thanuir Thanuir March 5, 2020 March 5, 2020 at 6:01:33 AM UTC link Permalink

If there are several valid English translations to a given Japanese sentence, you can add any, all, or none of them, as you prefer. The same with other languages, naturally.

Thanuir Thanuir March 5, 2020 March 5, 2020 at 8:10:11 AM UTC link Permalink

The same happens when translating from English to most other languages; "you" can be singular, plural or general. Thus, "You should not drive." has three different translations to many other languages.

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Guybrush88 Guybrush88 March 5, 2020 March 5, 2020 at 8:44:20 AM UTC link Permalink

And in some languages (such as Italian and French), it can also be masculine or feminine.

TRANG TRANG March 5, 2020, edited March 5, 2020 March 5, 2020 at 10:31:05 AM UTC, edited March 5, 2020 at 10:31:21 AM UTC link Permalink

I think this is a frequently asked question, so I added it to our FAQ. Thanuir already provided the basic answer, I have added some additional explanation in the FAQ.,


It's really up to you.

If you think one translation is a lot more likely than the other, you can add only that translation. If you think it makes sense to add all the translations, then you can add all the possible translations.

If you think all the translations make sense but it gets boring to add them all every time (and surely you will), then you can just choose randomly, or based on your personal preference, which translation to add.

We don't need to have every sentence translated in every possible ways. What is important to us is that the corpus in its whole carries all the possible ways.

For example, we have English sentences with the word "you" and this word can be translated in different ways in other languages. For the sake of simplicity, we'll assume two forms: singular and plural. In this case, we just want to make sure that at least one sentence is translated with the singular form and at least one sentence is translated with the plural form. So if you notice no one translated with the singular form, then you can add it (and vice versa for the plural form). If you feel that one form is under-represented compared to the other, then you can favor translations with the form that is under-represented so that we have a good balance between the two.

gillux gillux March 6, 2020 March 6, 2020 at 1:22:21 PM UTC link Permalink

> I see a bunch of Japanese sentences without English translations

I find translating from Japanese quite tedious because of what you describe. You just can’t add all the variations all the time, you really have to think about what kind of context the sentence can or cannot be used, depending on the omitted parts, the politeness, the 語尾 etc. and this require quite of a deep feeling of the language. The shorter sentence, the more difficult to translate. Because of that, I sometimes end up not translating a sentence I thought I’d able to translate.