As I wrote about before, I’ve fallen in love with Hulu. Hulu has a huge library of movies to watch. There are a few hidden gems and a few duds. I’ve taken to watching a few while doing odds and ends around the house.
I thought this week I would write up some journals about what I watched and see if I could translate them into Japanese. It was a lot tougher than I imagined because the journals are pretty conversational and used a lot of things I didn’t actually know the word for in Japanese.
I actually found that there just isn’t the same variety of expressions in Japanese as there are in English. I guess I kind of knew that before, but it was made more apparent while translating these journals.
Frustrated with limited Vocabulary
It reminds me of one of the biggest hurdles people smash into when they learn a language is the frustration that comes from having something to say, but not knowing the words to say it. It’s terrible feeling.
You are used to being an adult with the whole vocabulary that goes with it. The ability to express so many things, because you have been practicing with it for your whole life. And you will probably always be able to express yourself the best in your native language. And that is unfortunately something you need to get comfortable with.
But, the more times you practice, the more you will find that you don’t need as big a vocabulary as you think you do to communicate. You don’t really need advanced grammar either. A well-practiced speaker can communicate a lot with just N4 level grammar and vocabulary. So don’t be afraid to try it out.
Test Out your Reading Skills
Try to read the Japanese journal first and pick up as much as you can. Then, check the English translation to see if your understanding is correct. Keep in mind that the English translation may not match the Japanese word for word. Actually, in some situations I had to rephrase a lot of what was being communicated in order to have it make sense in Japanese. Just use the English as a general guide.
English Translation for Journal 1
I was looking through the list of ‘popular’ movies on Hulu and this was at the top, so I thought I would give it a shot. I needed something to watch while surfing the web and handling some odds and ends.I found this to be the perfect example of a horrible film. Bean is a great bit actor, something in the background, but a whole movie about him is way too much. The setup is strained even by comedy movie standards, and his gags get really old, really quick.
Bean must be one of those guys you either really love or really hate. I guess I’m the later.
I hardly stop watching a movie midway, but I had to with this one. And I wasn’t even really concentrating on it. Terrible.
Journal 2 – English Translation
This movie is great in so many ways. First, the characters and dialog in this film are so true. You know Spike Lee knew people exactly like these people in real life, which makes this film all the more real.I like how this movie has such a powerful message and shows you how racism can so easily explode out of control, and how the statistics that we see when something like this happens are actual people, people that were part of a neighborhood.
This is a good watch for Black History Month, puts a lot into perspective and provides some understanding.
How about you give a try this time? Write up a journal about your favorite movie, get it checked by somebody at lang-8.com and share it with us.
Photo by Kenneth Lu
Interesting that you mention dealing with a limited vocabulary. Haruki Murakami brought that up in an essay he wrote. He talks about writing parts of an early novel in English rather than Japanese:
There can be a kind of elegance to it, too. I think if you can get your point across in simple words, than you are a lot better at communicating than a lot of other people. It’s just really frustrating to deal with at first.