Here is a link to an interview I transcribed for one of my bosses at Official Xbox Magazine. Check it out! I particularly liked the part where Inafune-san talks about the differences between Japanese and Western game developers and why some Japanese aren’t as interested in FPS games.
What I found funny about transcribing this interview was that it took no time at all. It was a 40 minute interview session, which would normally take about 4 hours to transcribe when both parties speak English, but this one took an hour and a half. Since Inafune-san is Japanese, he requires a translator to listen to the interviewer’s question, translate the question into Japanese for him, listen to his answer while taking notes so they don’t forget any of what he is saying, then regurgitate that answer back in the best English possible. From listening to the interview and hearing the answers Inafune-san gave in Japanese followed by what the translator said in English, I can tell a lot gets lost in translation due to the large time difference in how long Inafune-san spoke in Japanese and how long the translator spoke in English. This is nobody’s fault per se, but it cries out for a better method of doing cross-cultural interviews.
Also, have you ever thought about the amount of trust that there has to be in a relationship that requires translation? So much! If you were the non-native speaker, you have to trust that the other person is saying exactly, or as close to exactly, what you are saying. There is so much room for error and since you don’t speak both languages you never know if what you are saying is coming across at all like you want. It’s scary when you think about it, you pretty much give up your voice to the will of others. Not to say that I think translators are bad at their jobs or are malicious in anyway, but that possibility is always there and would make me nervous if I had to communicate through someone else, especially because I think I’am very good at conveying my own thoughts and I have my share of OCD.
I really wonder how much of what Inafune-san said was accidentally left out or didn’t translate well between the 2 languages. Both those factors could severely change what he said.
I think Japanese is a beautiful language. With lots of hard sounds mingled with others that flow in an almost poetic fashion. I find transcribing the Japanese interviews at work a lot more enjoyable than transcribing any English speaking people, because the language is so interesting to listen to and most of the interview is translation, so there isn’t as much work.