Wednesday, June 17, 2009

When Danger Strikes!

Nara has its first swine flu infection, and an email has gone out to everybody at my work with information and advice. Sensible enough. They send it out in Japanese as well as English, which is very appreciated by us non-Japanese. I just wish they had somebody do a quick check that the translation is hitting the right tone.

The passage I reacted to reads, in Japanese:


Approximately translated as:

Everybody, please remember to take heed of the following points and take appropriate precautions.

The English email, however, said:

The University urges all the members to be alarmed about the following points and must respond to this matter with serious attention.

Which, frankly, is rather more panic-inducing that I believe the authors may have intended. To me "being alarmed" is appropriate when, say, Godzilla has eaten the lunch cafeteria and is approaching our building for dessert.

On the other hand, I'd not have read it with such rapt attention had the word "alarmed" not jumped out at me from the text.

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