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Home > Special Topics > Colloquium Last Updated: 15:15 03/09/2007
Colloquium #36: September 29, 2003

Bilingual writing Parallitic writing

Kanzo Kobayashi (Fellow, GLOCOM)



Upload to my homepage:
For several years I have uploaded various writings to my homepage, which has data exceeding 30MB. It is useful to utilize a homepage as a huge notebook. I can browse all my works at any time, the contents of which mutually compete and influence, forming a long story as a total. Various opportunities such as attending a conference, finding an interesting book, or traveling could be a stimulating subject or theme for the next writing. Thus, new writing is added to the homepage as additional content that may develop, amplify, supplement, or criticize former contents.


Why we write:
To write is to distinguish features different from others. When I was a child, I went to a river beach and collected stones. But I remember I could have no other expression than various types of stones. Later, having studied geology, a totally different landscape of stones appeared to me. Now I have confidence that there are three factors needed for writing; knowledge, relationship and curiosity. Unknown readers may visit my homepage, which requires me to write with a sense of tension. Though most of the visitors could be my friends and acquaintances, the most earnest reader is myself. My homepage reminds me of material for the next writing, and is also useful for business occasions to make reports or presentations.


Benefit of using PCs:
Writing by PC has several benefits; random writing makes it possible to start from the most important or impressive parts, and later addition or revision is very easy. I wonder from what part a painter starts to paint? I think he or she may start from the main object, not from the background. Many electronic dictionaries are also useful. If we cannot find there what we need, then the Internet gives us a solution. The Internet is an ocean of information, updated often. An always-on connected environment seems essential in this case. In writing, I think a better-efforts writer is enough, rather than best-efforts. If my sentences are not satisfactory, I leave it as tentative draft, which can be refined in the future. It will be pending homework without time limit.


Recommendation of bilingual writing:
There is a book titled "unfaithful beauty or faithful plain woman", written by Ms. Mari Yonehara, a simultaneous interpreter. This mentions a trade-off situation in translation in which the translator must decide whether to make beautiful and appealing expressions unfaithful to the original, or to make faithful translations neither beautiful nor attractive. A writer, however, has a privilege called time, so a writer can spend time to consult with various dictionaries and references to pursue these two objects. Particularly in the IT field, new concepts and technical jargon and acronyms inflow mainly from the US. In translation from English to Japanese, English grammar requires more strict rules such as subject, tense, single or plural noun, transitive or intransitive verb, etc. Even in expressing jokes, it requires a logical sense of humor.

These seem to me two types of brushes suitable for writing in Japanese or in English. These may conflict with each other in writing two expressions. It may be caused by stronger native language or weaker foreign language. But during these conflicts the expression can be refined and shaded. I believe that bilingual writing contains 3D tint of expression by a kind of parallax viewpoint. There are two common graphic expressions in PCs; JPEG and GIF. Conceivably, Japanese corresponds to JPEG, while English to GIF, because JPEG features intermediate color of continuous gradation like film, while GIF expresses distinct colors with a clear boundary of graphics. Both are complimentary and necessary for better expression. We Japanese might be happy to be able to access such a major language like English available with affluent dictionaries and references. We should learn more, read more, and express more using foreign languages.

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