Made a Mess

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Made my own business cards last week and showed them around a bit. Mostly the response was positive; however, today I received scathing commentary from a friend. One side of the card is English and the other side is Japanese. Her criticism was that, although the school name was correctly translated, it was bad.

The school name in English was going to be Emerald City Language and Culture. Commonly schools have names like Joe’s English Conversation School, but I wanted to leave room for growth in Spanish and Portuguese. Also, I wanted to clarify that my school will go into more detail on the connections between language and culture. The problem is that when she read my translated company name, she said it sounded like a description of the school rather than a name. This is where translation becomes very tricky. It is hard for a foreigner to understand this subtle difference. Well, actually it is hard for a native, too. My friend could clearly explain that there was a problem, but not exactly why.

Her recommendation was the easy one, but I am not decided yet. Need to kick it around a little. The easy solution is to just call it Emerald City or Emerald City English Conversation School.

She is also helping me with my flier to advertise the school. This is important because explaining rate plans and sign-up procedures properly takes a lot of skill. It is so much easier to translate things into one’s native tongue.

Fortunately, she needed help translating a speech about Sekijuku (関宿) into English, so there was a little “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” going on today. Seki is wonderful town near Kameyama (亀山) which was one of three travel checkpoints in ancient Japan. Anyone entering the country or traveling between parts of the country had to travel through these points. Today the main part of the town is old houses and shops maintained to keep the historic feeling.

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