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 Found in Translation 





“I'm shocked to find that you don't say that in English!”[1]

David S. Spengler


「レーガノミクスは,大統領の名前の Reagan と経済学 economics を “n” でつないだ造語ですが, そのルールで言えば,abe と economics は “e” でつないでアベコノミクスになるんじゃないですかね。. . . 外国にそれ [=アベノミクス] で伝わるんでしょうか。」(『ミュージック・マガジン』2013年5月号,編集長後記)




  I was recently asked about the origin of the term “Abenomics,” which the media has coined for the economic policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Specifically, the question was based on the logic that if U.S. President Ronald Reagan's economic policies were called “Reaganomics,” which is formed by combining “Reagan” and “economics” at the shared letter “n,” shouldn't the term for Prime Minister Abe's economic policies be combined at the shared letter “e,” and therefore be called “Abeconomics”? Would non-Japanese-speakers understand “Abenomics”? I suppose “Abeconomics” makes sense in the abstract, but I had never heard that term and the thought had never occurred to me. I haven't been able to pin down whether the term “Abenomics” first appeared in the Japanese or the English (or other non-Japanese) press,[2] but my guess is that it would have been coined by the English media whether or not the term was used in Japanese.[3] As to why “Abenomics” rather than “Abeconomics,” I can only conjecture as a native-English-speaker that “Abenomics” rolls off the tongue[4] more easily, and as with “Reaganomics,” maintains the same number of syllables as “economics.”

  I would expect[5] the meaning of “Abenomics” (as in[6] “the economic policies of PM Abe,” not necessarily the policies themselves) to be clear to just about any native-English-speaker who knows the name of Japan's prime minister. That is not always the case with English-sounding words commonly used in Japanese,[7] however. I remember soon after coming to Japan,[8] a Japanese friend was giving me directions to a location in Shibuya and said something like, “Walk out of the station and go to the sukuranburu crossing.” When I asked what a sukuranburu was, she could not believe that I didn't know, insisting that it was an English term. This was long before the Internet, so[9] I could only say that it was not English, at least as spoken[10] in the regions of the United States where I had lived. (Interestingly, however, according to Wikipedia, the first sukuranburu intersections were in the United States and the term “scramble intersection” is used in Canada, although it does not appear in my English dictionary.)

  As a Japanese-to-English translator based in Japan, it is important to be careful when translating these types of words. When you hear and read the terms every day, and everyone around you understands what they mean, it is easy to forget that a term may not be “real English.” A good example of this in the news right now is the term “Lehman Shock.” Like “scramble crossing,” both “Lehman” and “shock” have clear meanings in English, but the combined term does not − there is not even an English Wikipedia entry (as of this writing[11])! In the U.S. media, the financial market events of mid- to late-2008 are referred to as the “global financial crisis,” which led to the “great recession” that continued for several years thereafter. This is because the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers was one of a series of events in the United States and Europe associated with[12] the collapse of the financial markets. In the United States, these events included the government-orchestrated[13] sale of Bear Stearns[14] in March, and the government takeovers[15] of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the largest U.S. mortgage-finance[16] companies) and American International Group (AIG) in September. In fact, the Lehman bankruptcy was closer to the end than to the beginning of that chain of events, and was seen more as an effect than as a cause of the larger crisis.

  Without going into too much detail,[17] the underlying cause of the crisis was “subprime” real estate lending in the United States, which led to a bubble in the residential property[18] market. Lenders assumed that real estate prices would continue to rise indefinitely, so if a borrower became unable to repay their mortgage[19] the lender would simply seize[20] the property and sell it to recover[21] their loan. The problem was made worse by the packaging of these loans into securities (known as collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs[22]), which in turn led to even more, increasingly high-risk lending.[23] When borrowers began defaulting on[24] their mortgages, the effect was like a house of cards;[25] there were suddenly more properties for sale than there were buyers, property prices fell, and the value of the securities plunged.

  It was the Lehman bankruptcy, however, that was felt around the world and that brought the crisis home in Japan.[26] This was because of the institution's[27] large international presence[28] and the number of counterparties[29] around the world that stood to lose[30] significant sums as a result. Even if they hadn't bought the toxic securities,[31] financial institutions in Japan and other countries had engaged in a broad range of transactions with Lehman Brothers in other businesses, and stood to suffer significant losses if suddenly Lehman Brothers were to default on those transactions. For these institutions, therefore, it was Lehman Brothers that set off[32] the “shock.”

  To get back to translating,[33] this is why it is important for a translator to follow events in their field in both their source and target languages,[34] using reliable native-language sources for each. Even if an Internet search produces English hits, what are the sources of those hits? If they are overwhelmingly from Japanese sources, additional confirmation[35] is needed. For a term like “Lehman Shock,” this could include[36] searching the Internet sites of major newspapers like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times.

  With the term “Lehman Shock,” the use of the suffix “shock” is also a warning sign. Even though the meaning may be understood, this usage of the term[37] to indicate an event with major socioeconomic repercussions is more common in the Japanese media than in English (the “Oil Shock” of 1973 is known more commonly in the United States as the “Oil Crisis”). A similar term in the United States is the suffix “gate,” which is used to indicate a political scandal. Ever since[38] a break-in at the Watergate office complex[39] triggered the “Watergate” scandal that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation, the suffix “gate” has come to be used at the first whiff[40] of scandal. The Reagan administration had “Iran-Contra-gate,”[41] the Clinton administration had “File-gate”[42] and “Monica-gate,”[43] and the George W. Bush administration had “WMD-gate.”[44] These terms are used more by political adversaries than the mainstream media, however, to create the impression of a major scandal. I don't recall having read or heard of a “gate” associated with the Obama administration yet, but if there is one, let's hope that it doesn't cause too much of a shock.




David S. Spengler

1962年,米国ペンシルヴェニア州生まれ.オハイオ州のウィッテンバーグ(Wittenberg)大学にて,東アジア研究で文学士号(BA)取得(在学中,東京の国際基督教大学(ICU)に1年留学).卒業後来日,以来日本在住.Citibank NA 東京支店(当時)勤務を経て,現在はフリーの日英金融翻訳者・投資家広報(investor relations)コンサルタント.また,研究社『新和英大辞典』第五版で,主に経済用語の執筆を担当した.




[1] cf. I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! (映画『カサブランカ』での,主人公の店についての警察署長の台詞)

[2] ちなみに,NHK のサイトにあるブログ「トクする日本語」の2013年4月17日のエントリー(http://www.nhk.or.jp/kininaru-blog/153005.html)が「アベノミクス」で,そこには「実は,平成18年,第一次安倍内閣のときにすでに使われていました.【経済成長と財政再建は矛盾するものではないとの経済政策『アベノミクス』の基本哲学をひしひしと感じる】当時の幹事長,自民党の中川秀直氏の発言です.中川さんが作ったことばかどうかは分かりませんが,第一次安倍内閣は1年しか続かなかったため,この時には定着しなかったようです」とある.

[3] it would have been . . . この言葉が日本語で用いられなかったとしても英語メディアが造語したことだろう./ 以下で述べられることに関し,研究社『新英和大辞典』第六版に -nomics の見出しがあり,「特定の経済政策を表す名詞連結形」と説明されていることを付記しておく.

[4] roll off the tongue 語呂がいい,言いやすい.roll に替えて trip や slip でも.

[5] I would expect [意味はほとんどだれにも明らかな] はずだと自分は考える.

[6] as in [「安倍首相の経済政策」] という意味で.

[7] That is not always the case . . . 日本語で普通に使われている英語っぽい単語については,そうとはかぎらない.

[8] I remember . . . 思い出すのは来日して間もなく.

[9] This was long before . . . インターネットのはるか以前のことだったので.

[10] not English . . . 少なくとも [自分が居たことのある米国内の地域では] 話されていない英語.

[11] as of this writing これを書いている時点で.

[12] associated with [金融市場の崩壊] と結びつけて考えられる [欧米での一連の出来事].

[13] government-orchestrated 「政府主導の」(government-led)をもじって訳せば「政府隠導の」といったところ.

[14] Bear Stearns 「ゴールドマン・サックス,モルガン・スタンレー,メリルリンチ,リーマン・ブラザーズに次ぐ,アメリカ第5位の投資銀行・証券会社 [で] アメリカ5大証券の一角を担った」(ウィキペディア「ベアー・スターンズ」).

[15] takeover 企業の「買収」や「乗っ取り」の意味もあるが,ここでは「支配権取得」(研究社『リーダーズ英和辞典』第3版).

[16] mortgage-finance 直訳すれば「抵当金融」だが,研究社『総合ビジネス英和辞典』の Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae の正称) 項の次の説明を参照.「銀行・信託会社・保険会社などから住宅抵当融資債権を買い取り投資家に転売する形でモーゲージ債権の二次市場を形成し住宅ローン資金を供給する」.Freddie Mac の正称は Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.

[17] Without . . . 詳細に深入りしなければ,かいつまんで言えば.

[18] residential property 居住用の土地家屋 (研究社『新編 英和活用大辞典』 property (1) 〈形容詞・名詞+〉項).

[19] cf. They tried to repay the mortgage as soon as possible. できる限り早く(住宅)ローンを返済しようとした (ibid, 1mortgage 〈動詞+〉項).本文の their は a borrower を受けている (his or her などに代わる用法).

[20] seize [財産を] 没収する.

[21] recover [融資・貸付債権を] 回収する.

[22] collateralized debt obligation 債務担保証券,債権プール型資産担保証券.「債権をプールしてそれを担保に発行される債券; ローンによる資金調達を助ける貸付債権証券化(securitization)の一方式」(『リーダーズ英和辞典』第3版).

[23] which . . . それ [=貸付債権の証券化] が今度はさらなる貸し付け,それもますます高リスクの貸し付けにつながった.

[24] default on [債務] 不履行に陥る.

[25] a house of cards は,トランプ2枚を互いにもたせかけたものをユニットに土台を作り,下から順にピラミッド状に組み上げたもの.続く文は要するに,供給が需要を上回りピラミッドが頭でっかちになってすべてが崩壊した,ということ.

[26] そのものずばり The Lehman Shock と題した2009年9月13日付 Newsweek 誌の記事は,次の一文で始まる.The failure of Lehman Bros. on Sept. 15, 2008, was an epic calamity, but it may have been more important overseas − where September 2008 is referred to as “Lehman Shock”− than it was here [in the United States].

[27] institution (小売商・仲買人・保険会社などの)商社,会社 (『新英和大辞典』第六版).

[28] large international presence 大規模な国際展開.この presence は「(軍隊などの)駐留,(外国への経済的)進出」(研究社『ルミナス英和辞典』第2版).

[29] counterparty (契約・商取引の)相手(方),取引先(『リーダーズ英和辞典』第3版).

[30] stand to lose [かなりの金額を] 失う立場にある(『新英和大辞典』第六版,stand vi. 3f).

[31] この副詞節の主語 they は後方照応(cataphora)で主節の主語 financial institutions (金融機関) in Japan and other countries を指す.また本節中の toxic は金融用語として「不良な」,証券(securities)についていえば「リスクが高い債務を組み込んだ」ものであることを指す(『リーダーズ英和辞典』第3版,toxic a 2).

[32] set off [ショックを] 引き起こす.文中の set は過去形.

[33] To get back to . . . 話を翻訳に戻すと.

[34] follow events . . . 翻訳者個々が専門とする分野での出来事を両言語で追う.their については [19] 参照.source language が「起点言語」(翻訳の原文の言語)に対し target language は「目標言語」(翻訳の訳文の言語).

[35] additional confirmation すなわち native-language sources (ここの文脈でいえば,英語の情報源)での確認.

[36] this could include これ [=additional confirmation] には [以下のこと] も含まれるだろう.

[37] the term は “shock” のこと.this usage (この用法)は後続する to 不定詞の意味上の主語.

[38] ever since [ウォーターゲート事件] 以来ずっと.

[39] Watergate office complex 名称は Watergate 600 Office Building. 「Washington, D.C. にある貸事務所ビル; 1972年,このビルの6階の民主党全国委員会に [break-in により] 盗聴器が仕掛けられ,ウォーターゲート事件が発生した」(研究社『リーダーズ・プラス』).

[40] at the first whiff [スキャンダルの] においがするやいなや [用いられるようになった].

[41] Iran-Contragate. 文中の Iran-Contra-gate は suffix 強調の表記と理解されたい.「米国による,レバノンで捕えられている米国人人質の解放を目的とする対イラン武器売却およびその代金によるニカラグアの右派ゲリラ Contras 支援事件; 1986年事件が明るみに出て,関与した国家安全保障会議(NSC)のみならず Reagan 政権の責任追及の声が大きくなり ‘Irangate’ といわれた」(『リーダーズ英和辞典』第3版,Iran-Contra affair 項).

[42] Filegate. White House FBI files controversy (ウィキペディアのエントリー)の俗称.クリントン政権の第1期中にホワイトハウス高官が前共和党政権下のホワイトハウス職員の個人情報にかかわるファイルを不正入手したとの疑惑.

[43] Monica [Lewinsky] は1973年生まれ,1995年にホワイトハウスの「研修生となり,Clinton 大統領と性的関係をもった」(『研究社オンライン・ディクショナリー(KOD)』Lewinsky 項).

[44] WMD=weapons of mass destruction (大量破壊兵器).これをイラク(フセイン政権)が保有しているとされたことが2003年のイラク戦争(Iraq War)開戦の大きな理由となった.2013年9月1日付『朝日新聞』国際面記事「イラク戦争の教訓,シリアで生きるか」の次の記述を参照:





『新編 英和活用大辞典』
『新和英大辞典 第5版』

日本文化 英語 ガイド 翻訳 リーダーズ英和辞典 総合ビジネス英和辞典 新英和大辞典 ルミナス英和辞典 リーダーズ・プラス


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