Translation-related know-how, examples and latest news.

Lavender: The Reasons Behind the Popularity of Portugal's Floral Emblem

January 23, 2017

Hello again, Naho here. Sometimes when I get tired from working, I'd just like to sink into an ocean of relaxation. Lavender essence oil comes very handy in this kind of situation, a few drops in the bathtub, or on a steamed towel for facial care , it makes the best cure for stress and fatigue.

Lavender is the floral emblem of Portugal, and, in fact, my personal favorite method of using lavender oil in the bath has been practiced in Portugal for a very long time.

Beloved by Roman People: the Pleasant Aroma of Lavender

The first encounter between lavender and the Portuguese traces back to Ancient Rome. Lavender was known as a type of medicinal herb at the time, and roman people, who enjoyed going to the thermae, loved to add lavenders to their baths to enjoy their pleasant, relaxing aroma. It is also said that the academic name for lavender, "lavandula," comes from "lavare" - Latin for "to wash."

Despite being tolerant of cold weather, lavenders are susceptible to high temperature and humidity. During the rainy season in Japan, constant ventilating is required. Compared to Japan, it is warmer in Portugal throughout the year, and therefore extra care has to be taken. I heard that particularly during the rainy season of March through May, lavenders are carefully cultivated in greenhouses in Portugal.


The Setting of the Movie Persona Non Grata - Lithuania and its Language

January 16, 2017

Lithuanian Translation

Hello. I am Yucchi, a fledgling translator who transferred last autumn from a different field. I've only just started in translation so I have much to learn, but I'm studying hard with the help of my seniors.

A movie titled Persona Non Grata (Sugihara Chiune in Japanese) was released in Japan in December 2015. Perhaps due to this, I feel that I hear this diplomat's name quite often recently. Looking him up, I found that he was a deputy consul in the Embassy of Japan in Lithuania during the Second World War. He is known for having issued visas for many Jewish people fleeing the Nazis, and is therefore also known as "Japan's Schindler." I found this relationship between the two countries interesting and did a little research on Lithuania.

Lithuania's Past and Present

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lithuania is situated to the east of the Baltic Sea, and is the southernmost of the Baltic states. Around it are countries like Russia, Belarus, and Poland. The capital of Lithuania is Vilnius, the population is around 2.939 million, and the language spoken is Lithuanian. It was under occupation by countries such as Poland and Russia, but declared its independence in 1990. Lithuania has membership in the WTO, NATO, and the EU. It also caught the public eye when it adopted the Euro currency in 2015.


La Fleur de Lys: The Religious and Mythic Origins of France's Floral Emblem

January 9, 2017

France's floral emblem, Fleur de Lys

Hello. I am Yucchi, a fledgling translator who transferred last autumn from a different field. I've only just started in translation so I have much to learn, but I'm studying hard with the help of my seniors.

On a trip to a tropical botanic garden, a plant called Neomarica northiana immediately caught my attention. It has a unique feature of petals curling back towards the inside of the flower, and its shape reminded me of the Japanese Iris Sanguinea (ayame), even though the mere difference in color makes for a completely different impression. According to the plant label, there is a wide variety of iris flowers across the world. After some research, I also learned that the origin of its name traces back to Greek mythology and even the Bible. In today's blog post, I would like to write about irises - the floral emblem of France.

Irises in Western Symbolism

The Floral Emblem of France

Iris is a genus in the family of Iridaceae. It includes more than 200 species around the world, among which about a dozen are found in Japan. The six-lobed flower, with three spreading sepals embracing the three petals in the centre, appears to be a common feature among irises, although they vary in color and shape.


Japan-Turkey Friendship Celebrated in Movie "125 Years Memory" - Turkey and the Turkish Language

January 2, 2017

Turkish Translation

Hello. I am Yucchi, a fledgling translator who transferred last autumn from a different field. I've only just started in translation so I have much to learn, but I'm studying hard with the help of my seniors.

In 2015, Japan and Turkey celebrated 125 years of friendship, and in December, the movie "125 Years Memory" ("Kainan 1890" in Japanese) was released, depicting the amicable relationship built up between the two countries since the Ertugrul shipwreck.

Having had little contact with Turkish before, I chose this occasion to do a little research on the Turkish language and Turkish translation.

Turkey's Geography and History

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Turkey is called the bridge between Asia and Europe, and is situated east of the Mediterranean Sea. To the north is the Black Sea, to the west Greece and Romania, and to the south Syria, Iraq and Iran. Next to Iran is Afghanistan and Russia. Therefore, on the map, one can easily see Turkey as a center connecting Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. In the descriptions provided by MOFA, Turkey was categorized under Middle East.


Europe's Remnant of the Middle Ages - My Findings on Romania and the Romanian Language

December 26, 2016

Romanian Language and its Translation

Hello, I am Yosshi. I entered the translating business two years ago, dreaming of an international career. Since then, every day I keep discovering more about the ever-fascinating world of translation.

As a sports fan, the thing that came to mind when I thought of Romania was "Women's Gymnastics". However, as I got to know the country more, I realized that Romania, like the other East European countries, has a long history of domination by foreign powers. Today, in Japan, it is called "Yōroppa saigo no chūsei (Europe's Remnant of the Middle Ages)," and attracts many tourists from all over the world. Besides tourism, Romania has also been growing economically after joining the EU in 2007. There are now increasing business transactions between Romania and the world, and new businesses are popping up within the country as well.

Here are my findings on this country.


Movements in Greece: the Focus of the World

December 19, 2016

Greek Translation and European Economy

Hello, I am Yosshi. I entered the translating business two years ago, dreaming of an international career. Since then, every day I keep discovering more about the ever-fascinating world of translation.

In 2015, the Greek economy was gaining much attention from the world for its great influence on European economy. In order to understand these events in Greece, it is better to have mastered its language. However, my image of Greek was that it was difficult, to say the least. The way the English phrase "It's Greek to me" is used to mean "I don't understand at all" suggests that I am not the only one with this image.

In today's blog, I present my findings on the Greek language and its translation, which could be the keys to understanding Greek news and the current economy in Europe.

The Greek Crisis that Can't Be Overlooked

First, I would like to briefly summarize the economic problem in Greece that was attracting the world's attention.


Blue Cornflower (the "Kaiser's Flower"): Germany's Floral Emblem with Ties to Royalty

December 12, 2016

Hello again, Naho here. When hot summer days simply don't seem to end, I do truly miss the cool, tranquil blue color.

The national flower of Germany epitomizes the finest blue. In all its elegance, the blue cornflower still has its secrets, as well as some hidden origins.

A Unique Arrow-Spoked Wheel Shape

The floral emblem of Germany is the beautiful cornflower with a refreshing blue color. In Japan, cornflowers are called Yagurumagiku ("Arrow-wheel Flower") because of their unique shape.

For those who are not familiar with the Japanese Yaguruma, or "Arrow-wheel", it is a pair of arrow-spoked wheels used as a decorative windmill on Children's Day (tango no sekku), usually with carp-shaped wind socks flown below it, called the koinobori' ("Carp Streamer"). If you have seen one of those in Japan, you would agree that the petals of a cornflower look just like the arrow-shaped spokes of a Yaguruma.


Poinsettia: More than Just a Christmas Ornament - The Surprising Meaning behind Madagascar's Floral Emblem

December 5, 2016

Hello again, Naho here. It's a little worrying how more than half of the year has already passed by before I even noticed. Every year towards Christmas there always seems to be endless amounts of work that need to be finished, and I fear this year won't be an exception...

Although often associated with Christmas, poinsettias are in fact the floral emblem of Madagascar - an island famous for its tropical rainforests. This may come across as somewhat surprising, yet this flower does appear to illustrate the typical Malagasy enthusiasm.

Red, White and Green: the National Values behind the Malagasy Triband

Poinsettias are widely known for their 'Christmas' foliage of red and green. However, for the people of Madagascar, the colors of red, green and white represent much deeper meanings.

Red is a signification of the country's sovereignty; Green symbolizes Hope for its people, and White is a tribute to the Malagasy characteristics of being honest and genuine. These combined values are what makes the national flag of Madagascar.


Exploring Moomin's Homeland of Finland and the Finnish Language

November 28, 2016

Finnish Translation

Hi, I'm Yucchi. I just transferred to the translation industry from another business field last fall. Since this is my first time working in the field of translation, I'm constantly learning so many new things each day with the help of my senior co-workers.

I heard that a Moomin theme park was expected to open in Japan, and this news got me interested in the country of Finland―homeland of this popular character. Finland, located in Northern Europe, is also often referred to as the 'Country of Forests and Lakes' and is well known for Santa Claus and the fashionable interior items that they produce. The IT industry is also highly developed as can be seen in world-widely known IT companies such as the once famous Nokia Corporation. In today's blog, I will be introducing some interesting facts about this amazing country.

Finland's Past and Present

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland borders three countries; Sweden to the west, Russia to the east and Norway to the north. The land area of Finland is equivalent to that of Japan. However, the population of the entire country adds up to only the same as that of Hokkaido, which is approximately 5,400,000. This Scandinavian country also has a dramatic history of fighting repeatedly against the invasion of two of its neighboring countries, Russia and Sweden.


Economic Power and Unique Culture - Exploring the Potential of Norwegian Translation

November 21, 2016

Norwegian, Translation

Hello. I am Yucchi, a fledgling translator who transferred last autumn from a different field. I've only just started in translation so I have much to learn, but I'm studying hard with the help of my seniors.

The Kingdom of Norway in northern Europe is well known for its high quality of public welfare, and its beautiful nature such as its fjords and forests. The image of vikings may also come to mind. At the same time, we hear of its stable economy supported by its rich oil resources. What kind of country is Norway, and what might be the attractiveness of Norwegian translation?

Features of Norway and the Norwegian Language

Norway has an area quite similar in size to Japan, where approximately 5,150,000 people live surrounded by a rich natural environment. It is well known for its good welfare system, and has high labor efficiency, as well as being advanced in the area of gender equality. For example, taking childcare leave is mandatory for men, and there is a system ensuring a fairly equal mix of men and women in the parliament.

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