Learning through Translating: ブラックジャックによろしく episode 4: 夏雲

Hahaha. I didn’t realise you were waiting for a response. Thank you for your consideration. Yes, by all means, go ahead and archive my explanations. Summarise them if you feel the need to, since some of them are really long, probably longer than necessary. In particular, the etymological information I provide isn’t always useful, even if it’s probably informative. You don’t need to put my name up there though. Hahaha.

I’m in the opposite situation: I’ve never heard “problème de société” in French, but I know ‘social ill’ exists in English. The French phrase seems very sensible though. I think ‘social problem’ is acceptable as well. It’s just that ‘social ill’ takes it up a notch, and insinuates that the problem is something created by society (e.g. because it’s too common, or because prevailing attitudes allow it to happen), and possibly that it’s a sort of sickness that should be removed from society. I think ‘ill’ or ‘evil’ fits 悪 very well though (but again, I’m saying this because in modern Chinese, 恶 usually means ‘evil’, since the common word for ‘bad’ is something else).

I’m not certain about how the kanji are used in Japanese, but in Chinese, 处置 (you’ll notice I’m using simplified Chinese characters to avoid confusion) is often used as a euphemism for punishment, even though strictly speaking, the dictionary just says it means ‘handling’ or ‘arrangements’. ‘Punishment’ wouldn’t make any sense in this context though, and it seems that in Japanese, 処置 primarily means ‘handling’ or even specifically treatment and responses to injuries and illness. I don’t think there’s anything in the kanji that suggests a negative connotation. Whether or not people use it negatively in real life is another thing. Hahaha.

@Zizka: I’d say that 気 can also refer to a state of mind (e.g. 〜気がする: have the impression that ~), and I suppose feelings are a subset of that. I was going to propose ‘how many times do you intend to make [me] say [it]?’. It’s just that 「…言わせるつもり」would be closer to that since つもり is usually translated as ‘intention’. Still though, I really do believe that 気 can be replaced by つもり in this sentence.

To me, 感動 is very literally 感=feelings; 動=move. To use a very Internet meme-esque phrase, I might say one is ‘moved in the feels’. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: So the simplest translation for 感動する is ‘to be moved emotionally’. Hence, I don’t really see a contradiction. More importantly though, I think ちょっと is often used simply to decrease the intensity of what one says. It does mean ‘a little’ in the strictest sense, but there’s sometimes a need to downplay what one wishes to say, particularly when speaking to a superior (which is what’s happening here). In essence, it’s an understatement. “Une litote” in French, if you prefer. If Saitou were perfectly honest in that panel (after all, he’s bent over in a deep bow), he would probably say, 「僕は深く感動しました…」. However, he can’t say that because it would seem too forceful. He’s looking for a way to persuade Shiratori, knowing full well that Shiratori will have the final say. The most natural way to translate ちょっと here would probably be ‘rather’ or ‘somewhat’, or so I believe.

By the way, it’s *見た時. You might have hit the wrong key earlier.
EDIT: here’s a definition from my Japanese dictionary for ちょっと that agrees with what I said above:
③ 大層というほどではないが,無視できない程度・分量であるさま。
The condition of being not at the level of ‘extremely’, but at a degree or in an amount that cannot be ignored

You seem to be right regarding 感動:


Strangely enough, my other dictionary (Shirabe Jisho) has a fairly different definition:
ⓐ being deeply moved emotionally, excitement, passion, inspiration, deep emotion, strong impression

Weblio doesn’t have the connotation of intensity Shirabe Jisho has. Would you say Weblio is more accurate?

Edit: What is the most recognized unilingual Japanese learner dictionary? The sooner I stop transferring to English the better.

Based on how this word is used in Chinese? Yes, I think Weblio is more accurate. However, that may not be universally true. Still, the differences between the translations given prompted me to do some research into the sources of the dictionaries’ data. Your app uses some of the same databases that Jisho.org works with: you’ll notice that both dictionaries gives the same translations for 感動. I believe the primary dictionary is called the JMDict. Weblio, on the other hand, is using a dictionary from 研究社(Kenkyusha). If you click on the name of the dictionary at the top of the definitions, you’ll find that their main site is in Japanese. JMDict’s documentation page is in English.

Now, I hate to say this since I’m one of those people who aim to speak every language they learn as well as or better than the average native speaker, but between a Japanese source for definitions and an English/international source, I’d pick the Japanese one. I’d rather risk a bit of bad grammar in the English examples than risk having definitions created by someone without the perspective of a native speaker. Besides, the way translations break down sometimes reveal something about the native language of the translator. That aside, Weblio seems like one of the big names in Japanese dictionaries. (I found the EJJE version of their site back when I first searched ‘english japanese dictionary’, and back then, I spoke no Japanese.)

As for this…

I’m hoping @ayamedori might be able to help, because I don’t think I’m experienced enough to comment. I’m on a Mac, which means I got some copyrighted dictionaries pre-loaded, and I tend to assume that they’re of good quality and stick to them, even if they’re not the ‘best in class’.

Some examples of the dictionaries that came pre-loaded

For instance, the dictionary for English is from Oxford, and they’re the recognised authority on English. For German, it’s Duden, and they’re literally the German government’s standard for ‘correct spelling’. For French, it’s some “Multidictionnaire de la langue française”, which I don’t know very well since I prefer Le Robert. (I don’t use the Académie Française’s dictionary very much because it’s incomplete and unappealing to use, but I used to write them emails about grammar when I got stuck.)

They’re all licensed to Oxford University Press, so it’s likely that 1. Apple has a partnership with the OUP and 2. they’re of good standing. The Japanese dictionary is スーパー大辞林, published by 三省堂. The EN-JP dictionary is the Wisdom Dictionary.

The laziest, most to-the-point answer I can give you is ‘Look for my dictionary online. It’s available for free,’ but I want you to be able to make your own decision since not all sites have the same interface or resources. I guess I’ll just list some of the major monolingual dictionary sites here and leave you to decide which suits you best. I believe they’re all commonly consulted by Japanese people. The three I can think of are Weblio, Kotobank and Goo辞書.

Details about and links to the three of them here

https://www.weblio.jp: This is the Japanese version of Weblio. As with most other Japanese dictionary sites, it lists definitions from several sources, including Wikipedia and Wiktionary. The first dictionary on the list is almost always「三省堂 大辞林 第三版」, which is essentially the same as what I use on my computer. It does have other dictionaries though, like one about common usage, which can be helpful when you search for words that may not be ‘formal’ enough to turn up in other dictionaries.

https://dictionary.goo.ne.jp: This is from Goo, a search engine owned by one of Japan’s telcos, from what I understand. Their dictionary is the 「デジタル大辞泉」from 小学館. Their thesaurus also contains some nice tables for distinguishing synonyms. (I’ve only used that function once to prove that there was an error in a Duolingo lesson though, so…)

https://kotobank.jp: Kotobank is from the Asahi Shimbun. My friend has quoted me a definition from it before. It draws its definitions from multiple sources as well, including the「大辞林 第三版」 and the「デジタル大辞泉」. I guess you could say it gives you the best of both worlds. However, a small amount of the 大辞林 第三版’s features are missing. (More on that in a bit.)

What each site is best at: Weblio’s search function is the easiest to use. Kotobank provides the cleanest reading experience. (That is, the Google ads that make the content slightly misaligned aside. Maybe they figured Japanese users wouldn’t mind since novels and manga are often read from right to left.) Goo’s dictionary is the most full-featured. (That is, they have a lot of other functions that are in plain sight, like additional example sentences or common phrases. You can tell it was made by a search engine company.)

The one additional advantage that Weblio does have though, which none of the other sites do, is that it displays all of 大辞林’s data, including pitch accents. If you know what the number in brackets next to each headword means, you’ll know how to pronounce it with the correct pitch accent. There is almost no other free dictionary online that includes pitch accents, and the ones that do usually use the same database.

In summary, I think Weblio is the best for learning purposes, but it’s completely possible that you’ll find certain definitions from one dictionary incomprehensible, while those from another one are exactly what you needed, so you should definitely try each of them out in order to see which you prefer.

Just one more thought: if you need a handwriting input feature, I have no clue whether any of them offer that. I doubt it, because they’re probably meant for Japanese people who need to write Japanese all the time, and who possibly have handwriting input already installed on their computers.


These are the ones I use on a daily basis, Goo is the most comprehensive of the two. Another well-known one is Sanseido (which you’ve mentioned as well) but that one rarely does what I want it to do and Weblio gives me a headache. None of them support entire sentence input though so because I am a lazy being I still use Jisho a lot; it’s usually quite accurate, just bad at nuances (利子 vs 利息, 推薦 vs 推奨 etc).

The ads on weblio are doing my head in. I quickly end up agitated/irritated if I refer to it often. I hope there’s a paid version which is ad-free.

47. & 48.



I thought I wanted to be operated by someone like you, if I get ill myself...

病気(びょうき)になる : to fall ill
としてたら = としていたら; とする after a plain verb means something as “in case that” tells my dictionary. Then with ている, and that one with ~たら form (sort of conditional, “if”, “when”)
なったとしてたら instead of just なってたら seems a bit redundant; for added politeness ?

Also, になった is in the past; is ti because the thing he taught is no longer valid ( 思いました in next sentence ); and so if he gets ill now/in the future it doesn’t apply anymore ?

先生 みたいな 人 に 手術 して もらいたい と 思いました…
sensei like->person [from] operation to.do+TE receive+want [quote] to.think+masu+past

先生みたいな人 = a person like the professor (I hadn’t realized that みたい is a na-adjective!)
~てもらう = to get someone do something; to “receive” the action.

In each of the word pairs you’ve listed, there’s one word which exists in Chinese and another that doesn’t (or which I’m not aware of). More things for me to learn then. But yes, that’s the thing about kanji compounds that sometimes makes searching in monolingual dictionaries necessary: change one character, and you get a whole different nuance, even if the translation is the same.

Returning to dictionaries though, I agree that Weblio’s interface may not be the most pleasant for reading. (It uses the smallest font.) I personally find Goo’s more cluttered, but the information is useful if you’re interested in it. Also, yes, Goo seems to have a large number of words, along with EN-JP dictionaries and a thesaurus (among other things).

The monolingual Weblio has much smaller ads, so you may find that more usable. I have no clue if one can pay for an ad-free experience, though it seems possible.

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That’s 47 and 48, @YanagiPablo



先生 is the topic of the sentence as indicated by 『は』;
あの手術の時: that time of the surgery;
考えていた: “to think” in the past progressive;
:speech_balloon:Doctor, what were you thinking at the time of the surgery?



So I knew we had something about どうせ:

Hm… How else do I explain this… another way of translating ~なら is ‘if ~’ i.e. ‘if ~ is true’. Also, どうせ comes from どう and せよ, which is the written imperative of する, and is often used for hypothetical things, like いずれにせよ (roughly ‘whichever (one) choses’, from the structure ‘~にする’, which means ‘to choose/decide on ~’). Therefore, どうせ literally translates to ‘however (one) does i.e. acts’. That might help you understand, along with parsing the sentence as I said: [どうせ死ぬ]→なら. That is, translate どうせ死ぬ first, then add the meaning of なら.

:speech_balloon:You thought In the case that he would die no matter what
☆ Is that it? Still unclear about どうせ.

Very close! ~なら applies to the word before it; “if you thought that he would die no matter what…”

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:speech_balloon: I’m a surgeon


:speech_balloon:I am proud of my job

:thought_balloon:Any particular reason why 意気地 isn’t use for pride? Why the gairaigo here?



Analysis incoming…
あのおじいさん: that old man…
『を』direct object of 助けたかった: want to help in the past;
から: from;
じゃない: negative;

意気地 is closer to willpower/confidence that you’ll succeed. 自負心 is the closest native word I can think of, but プライド is used more often. Kind of like how メニュー is more common than 献立.

So it’s a colloquial thing. I wonder why they’d rather use an English variant that the native word of their own language. The French do the same and use a lot of English word. It puzzles me.

This is something I feel I should know but I’m drawing a blank here. Is 助けたかった the past of 〜たい form?

My native language is pretty much 50% English at this point, people just think it sounds cool I think haha. Something unique to Japan’s use of English loanwords though is 和製英語 (“Japan-made English”), my favourite is バイキング (viking) for “buffet”.


Come on now, you can’t tease your native language without saying what it is. German and English are closely related but I don’t think that’s what you mean.

Off-topic again:
I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to languages and while I understand the necessity of loan words, I don’t like them used when a native word already exists. I juste read a good article about that:

Strawberry as a fruit is ichigo in Japanese, but when talking about the flavor of ice cream or gum, the loanword sutoroberī is more common.

Why? It’s sad to favour English words over native ones. :disappointed_relieved:

From the same article:

Japanese currently consists of around 33% words of Japanese origin ( wago ), 49% words of Chinese origin ( kango ) and 18% loanwords from other languages (including words of mixed origin and the made-in-Japan pseudo-English known as wasei eigo ).[edited for brievety] I do not deny that new terms can supplement and enrich, but I am concerned that their overuse could drown out perfectly good Japanese expressions.

I guess プライド would be more of a “wasei eigo” then.

More interesting tidbit:

This suggests that roughly one in five words in Japanese are loanwords, whose rising share is bringing about fundamental changes in the language.

I think it’s important to differentiate words of foreign origins which fill a niche and loanwords which replace native words.

Source: https://www.nippon.com/en/column/g00195/are-loanwords-a-threat-to-the-japanese-language.html

Re: 53.

What is から for in this context? I don’t understand. Doesn’t から mean “from”?


In order to encourage people to explore new dictionaries other than Jisho, I thought I’d write a little about Weblio which can be daunting at first glance (well it was for me).

This is from the app but I would imagine the website is similar in design.

So under those four main tabs there’s a crass advertisement which gives me nausea. It’s peddling for something so cheap and I’ll designed, I gag whenever I see it. I mean, I really do, this isn’t a metaphor.

① 意味【いみ】meaning;

② 例文【れいぶん】example sentences;

③ 類語【るいご】synonym;

④ 共起表現【きょうきひょいげん】cooccurrence expression;

☆ so what the flip does “cooccurrence” even mean?

In linguistics, co-occurrence or cooccurrence is an above-chance frequency of occurrence of two terms (also known as coincidence or concurrence) from a text corpus alongside each other in a certain order.

It’s right inbetween German and English, both linguistically and geographically :wink:

One in five is more than I’d have guessed, interesting. Suppose it makes sense though, Japanese being a language isolate makes loanwords stand out more (compared to European languages which have exchanged so many words that the entire concept of a loanword has become a bit unclear for most) and not having a long shared history means that when a new concept reaches Japan, it’s easier to just copy the word than make up a new one.

It’s “because” here. Just noticed you typed an extra や in your transcription by the way, it’s ~からじゃないんですか

The advertisement on Weblio

Oh wow! What a fun game!! What would I do if I were stuck in an elevator and a dog came in?!

I live in a damn village, we don’t have elevators you dingus. And if I were confronted by a dog, I wouldn’t carry a flipping raw steak in my pocket to fling in case I was attacked by a dog or a tennis ball for that matter.

I’d push one of your advertisers towards the dog and hope he gets shred to pieces, one less vulture to worry about. How’s that for an answer?

Wasted money: expression; spending a dollar on those types of brain dead games.

You’re so secretive, ayamadori. I’ll find out which country it is, I’m on the case!

Got it, Netherlands! Progressive city northwest of Europe between England and Germany. Also Deutsch shares both from English and German.

Re: から

Ah ok so it’s because after a verb or adjective.

So it’s:
:speech_balloon:It’s because you didn’t want to help that old man

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