Translators… How do ya translate sarcasm?

English shows and movies amirite? There’s a lot that have sarcasm in their dialogue and is usually pivotal to the plot or just nice to understand it. But knowing that japanese peeps dont grasp sarcasm that well, how is it translated? I’m curious to see some methods! :eyes:

I mean, Japanese people do watch a lot of English entertainment, so it isn’t like they’re unused to translated English sarcasm.

Also I think the sarcasm thing is a bit overstated. Japanese people often perceive sarcasm as being more inherently rude and mean-spirited than we might, but they understand it. And it’s extra common in online comments. Also Japanese sarcasm is often produced through inappropriately high levels of politeness.


Third eye has opened today, thanks for the schooling :pray:

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There’s a great irony here. Imagine this conversation, if you would:
American: “Do you understand sarcasm?”
Japanese: “Oh no, not at all.”
:laughing: :rofl:


I love it. It’s such a Mean Girls (ミーヌガルズ?) thing to do.

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I saw this video of Shogo and he talk about Kyoto two faced speech. I guess that is kind of an example of japanese sarcasm ?? The polite two faced


Check out Odd Taxi. The dialogue is really good and if you can understand a bit of the Japanese you can start to pick up the sarcasm. The delivery is so deadpan though that it’s just fun to watch.


What usually happens is beginners go to Japan and they try to use sarcasm in their beginner Japanese, and natives don’t react strongly because when you’re listening to a beginner you’re not sure if they’re just making mistakes or not. And laughing at something that isn’t a joke would be quite rude.

But if you watch Japanese media you’ll see plenty of sarcasm between Japanese people.


“Huh. That person didn’t laugh at my joke. Perhaps the whole country doesn’t understand humour!”

… For example?


Oh, and just thought about the initial question again.

Maybe it was meant to be a general “you” and not “you, readers of this thread” but usually people translate into their native language, especially for entertainment. Business can be a bit more formulaic, so you might get more non-natives translating into a language, but with TV shows, they’re usually going to hire native Japanese speakers to translate English shows.

And there aren’t many native Japanese speakers here to talk about that experience.

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