Question about Japanese addresses...

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Warren Smith

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Sep 13, 2013, 12:35:37 PM9/13/13
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After 29 years in this industry, I hate asking stupid question....
 
In Japanese addresses, I often see the characters "大字." I have always assumed these to be part of the proper noun, and have dutifully translated these as "Oaza," but I notice that often when I search addresses on the Internet, other translators often just skip these characters. (In the address I am currently looking at, there is not just an Oaza, but also a "字" that is skipped, where I have ...Ken, ... To, ... Machi, Oaza ... Aza ... ## Banchi ###. (I typically render Ken as Prefecture, leave the rest untranslated, and use a dash instead of Banchi.)
 
What do my respected colleagues of this forum do?
 
Thanks.
 
 
 
Warren Smith
------------------------------------
Dr. Warren Smith
JETS: Japanese-English Technology Services
27 Sandybrook Dr.
Durham, NH 03824 USA
 

Inoue Jun

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Sep 13, 2013, 1:21:19 PM9/13/13
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I don't think skip is good.
Eventually, English addresses will be read by Japanese mail persons or parcel delivery men for them to deliver correctly. Most of them cannot read English well. If oaza or aza are skipped, they will be confused.
Also, if ken is translated into prefecture, they cannot read the word "prefecture."
 


2013/9/14 Warren Smith <warren...@comcast.net>

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Jon Johanning

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Sep 13, 2013, 3:00:25 PM9/13/13
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I certainly don't omit 大字 or 字. I don't understand the urge some translators have to leave things like this out of their work. Are they lazy?

What drives me nuts, of course, are patents with, e.g., Dutch applicants in which the Dutch addresses appear transliterated to katakana. I just transliterate them back into romaji and put an apologetic footnote in.

Jon Johanning //jjoha...@igc.org

Warren Smith

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Sep 13, 2013, 3:16:36 PM9/13/13
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What I am concerned about is that the official web sites of some of patent
applicants of the patents I have translated recently have Romanized
addresses that seem to omit these characters.

I suppose it is possible that the patents I am translating are old and that
the addresses have changed, but web searches for Japanese addresses have
returned these abbreviated addresses on a regular basis lately. (In my
current job, all web searches show the Japanese version of the address
including the Oaza, but the English versions of the address not including
the Oaza.)

Thanks, Jon and Jun for the reality check that the way I have been
translating for the past 29 years is not incorrect! (Phew!)

W

Peter Tuffley

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Sep 13, 2013, 6:08:41 PM9/13/13
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The on-line Japanese postal guide I use as a source for place name readings omits "oaza", and FWIW I usually do likewise in dealing
with Japanese addresses (which I do a lot).

I would suggest furthermore that whether omitting it is OK or not depends at least in part on the purpose of the translation. There are many circumstances (e.g. in the translation of personal documents for submission to immigration or other authorities in countries outside Japan) in which transcriptions/translations of Japanese addresses are never going to be read by Japanese mail persons and the need for concern about their becoming confused never arises.

Peter Tuffley

Matthew Schlecht

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Sep 13, 2013, 6:11:38 PM9/13/13
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On Fri, Sep 13, 2013 at 6:08 PM, Peter Tuffley <peter....@gmail.com> wrote:
The on-line Japanese postal guide I use as a source for place name readings omits "oaza", and FWIW I usually do likewise in dealing
with Japanese addresses (which I do a lot).

     Would you mind sharing the URL for the online Japanese postal guide you use?
     I formerly had a very nice one bookmarked, but it went missing about two years ago.

Matthew Schlecht, PhD
Word Alchemy
Newark, DE, USA
wordalchemytranslation.com

Eleanor Goldsmith, Kinsho Language Services

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Sep 13, 2013, 6:21:48 PM9/13/13
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     I formerly had a very nice one bookmarked, but it went missing about two years ago.


I use the Japan Post one: http://www.post.japanpost.jp/zipcode/index.html

I think that one doesn't go as in-depth as Oaza, though. I see what I can find on Yahoo Japan in that situation (sometimes there will be a clue to the reading), but other times I just make my best guess and note that for the agency.

 

Going back to Jun Inoue's comment about the English comprehension capabilities of Japanese postmen, it appears that whoever directs the post to each prefecture understands the term, at least. I never had any problems receiving post from non-Japanese-speaking family and friends during nearly ten years living first in Kumamoto and then in Niigata Prefecture.

 

Best wishes,

 

Eleanor Goldsmith

Auckland, NZ

 

 

Peter Tuffley

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Sep 13, 2013, 7:03:03 PM9/13/13
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On 14/09/2013, at 10:11 AM, Matthew Schlecht <matthew.f...@gmail.com> wrote:


     Would you mind sharing the URL for the online Japanese postal guide you use?
     I formerly had a very nice one bookmarked, but it went missing about two years ago.



Peter



Peter Tuffley, MA, MNZSTI
Japanese to English Translator
114 Birdwood Avenue, Beckenham
CHRISTCHURCH 8023, NZ
skype ptuffley

Andreas Rusterholz

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Sep 13, 2013, 7:16:51 PM9/13/13
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2013年9月14日土曜日 7時11分38秒 UTC+9 Matthew Schlecht:
On Fri, Sep 13, 2013 at 6:08 PM, Peter Tuffley <peter....@gmail.com> wrote:
     Would you mind sharing the URL for the online Japanese postal guide you use?
    
Matthew Schlecht, PhD
 
There is also a romaji-version. (大字 is omitted.)
 
 
Andreas Rusterholz 

imagina...@gmail.com

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Sep 14, 2013, 3:19:49 AM9/14/13
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On Saturday, 14 September 2013 02:21:19 UTC+9, Jun-bug wrote:
Also, if ken is translated into prefecture, they cannot read the word "prefecture."
 

I bet that more speakers of Japanese "understand" the word prefecture (in this sense) than speakers of English.

Brian Chandler

Paul Crowder

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Sep 15, 2013, 11:41:04 AM9/15/13
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 To Jun's comment about the post handlers being confused if the romaji isn't there, I don't think it matters as long as the postal code is there.

The postal code basically covers everything down to the block number at the end of the address. I doubt they even really read the rest...

Paul Crowder

Jonathan Michaels

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Sep 17, 2013, 4:34:54 AM9/17/13
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On Saturday, September 14, 2013 4:00:25 AM UTC+9, Jon Johanning wrote:
I certainly don't omit 大字 or 字. I don't understand the urge some translators have to leave things like this out of their work. Are they lazy?

To play devil's advocate (albeit one a bit late to the party), a translator leaving out 大字 or 字 from an address might be doing so for a reason that's sort of an extension of the reason I don't usually include the word "prefecture" in translations of Japanese addresses (namely, that no one ever says they're from "California State" or includes the word "state" in a U.S. address).

To give an example an a level closer to 大字 or 字 (although I'm not saying I'd leave them out), the town where I grew up had a housing development officially called "Golden Eagle Estates", but I only found out that official name just now from a Google search, as no one ever called it anything other than just "Golden Eagle".  Someone might draw a (debatable) parallel there.

Jonathan

----------
Jonathan Michaels
Mito, Japan

min_sakurauchi

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Sep 17, 2013, 5:49:22 AM9/17/13
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「都/道/府/県」、「市/区/町/村」、「大字/字」も、都道府県名、市区町村
名、大字~/字~などの固有名詞としての地名の一部と考えると:
Shinjuku-ku, Kanagawa-ken, Oaza-XXX, Aza-YYY
としても良いと思いますが?
東京都、大阪府などは、さすがにTokyo-to, Osaka-fuではおかしいし、有名な
のでTokyo, Osakaだけでいいと思いますけど。

M. Sakurauchi

Nora Stevens Heath

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Sep 17, 2013, 7:22:19 AM9/17/13
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Jonathan Michaels wrote:

> To give an example an a level closer to 大字 or 字 (although I'm not saying
> I'd leave them out), the town where I grew up had a housing development
> officially called "Golden Eagle Estates", but I only found out that
> official name just now from a Google search, as no one ever called it
> anything other than just "Golden Eagle". Someone might draw a (debatable)
> parallel there.

Just about every road here in metro Detroit (and, I'm thinking, the US
as a whole) has an official designation like Lane, Road, Street, Avenue,
etc. In many (most?) cases, unless that road is a major and well-known
thoroughfare (and even then, not always), we don't use and are often not
even aware of that designation without consulting a very good map. The
post office would probably prefer we use the full name, but it almost
never matters if we don't. (Unless there's a Starling Circle and a
Starling Court in the same town, of course.)

But in New Zealand, where my husband grew up, one must always use street
designations. Go figure. He figures they used fewer street names
overall and needed the clarification of Street and Road.

Nora

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Nora Stevens Heath <no...@fumizuki.com>
J-E translations: http://www.fumizuki.com/

Eleanor Goldsmith, Kinsho Language Services

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Sep 17, 2013, 7:39:50 AM9/17/13
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Nora Stevens Heath wrote:
> But in New Zealand, where my husband grew up, one must always use street designations. Go figure. He figures they used fewer street names overall and needed the clarification of Street and Road.

Very true. Here in Auckland, we have a couple of Anzac Avenues within 15km or so of each other, two The Strands within about the same distance, and two Pupuke Roads within a mere 3.5km of each other.


Eleanor Goldsmith
Auckland, NZ



Jon Johanning

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Sep 17, 2013, 12:35:50 PM9/17/13
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OTOH, if you're translating patents and patent applications and handling the addresses of applicants/patentees and inventors, just ending with "Kanagawa" or "Saitama" would be selling your English-speaking readers a little short, I think. Just as in those same patents and patent applications, the addresses of American applicants and inventors are given as カリフォルニア州.

But as Sakarauchi-san says, I don't write "Tokyo-to" or "Osaka-fu," because that would just confuse the reader.

Jon Johanning // jjoha...@igc.org

Jonathan Michaels

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Sep 17, 2013, 7:28:54 PM9/17/13
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On Wednesday, September 18, 2013 1:35:50 AM UTC+9, Jon Johanning wrote:
Just as in those same patents and patent applications, the addresses of American applicants and inventors are given as カリフォルニア州.

 While I don't necessarily disagree with your overall point, I don't think this is actually a point in its favor per se; we all know that it's a feature of (written) Japanese to be diligent about identifying the types of place names (i.e. making sure to append 都, 道, 府, 県, 州, 市, 町, etc.), but when it comes to J>E translation, the question, for me anyway, is whether or not that is also the case with English (that started as English).  Nora and Eleanor make the good point, however, that that answer may depend on the variety of English.

Alan Siegrist

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Sep 18, 2013, 10:20:47 AM9/18/13
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Warren Smith writes:

> What I am concerned about is that the official web sites of some
> of patent applicants of the patents I have translated recently
> have Romanized addresses that seem to omit these characters.
>
> I suppose it is possible that the patents I am translating are old
> and that the addresses have changed, but web searches for
> Japanese addresses have returned these abbreviated
> addresses on a regular basis lately. (In my current job, all web
> searches show the Japanese version of the address including
> the Oaza, but the English versions of the address not including
> the Oaza.)

My understanding is that the Japanese Post Office has done a nationwide
reform of addresses in parallel with the assignment of 7-digit (XXX-XXXX)
postal codes. So the old-style addresses containing 字 and 大字 are
deprecated and no longer official.

So the addresses that omit the Aza and Oaza are probably based on the
post-reform official Post Office addresses and thus arguably the "correct"
addresses to use if you want mail delivered there.

Naturally, the pre-reform addresses containing Aza and Oaza still appear in
old documents and some people still use them out of habit.

Translators that use the post-reform modernized addresses in their
translations might actually be doing their clients a favor, assuming that
they do the research to find the correct modern form of the address, rather
than being slothful in just omitting Aza and Oaza.

Regards,

Alan Siegrist
Carmel, CA, USA

Warren Smith

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Sep 18, 2013, 11:03:13 AM9/18/13
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Thank you to all of you for your thought provoking discussion on this topic.


I think that Alan Siegrist had the final word on this one, pointing out that
the addresses themselves have changed (which solves the mystery as to why
the (current) addresses I find online for companies omit the "Oaza" found in
the addresses in the older patents I translate.

Thank you all for your help on this one!

Warren Smith


Jon Johanning

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Sep 18, 2013, 12:44:30 PM9/18/13
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In addresses in old patents, it's not just Azas and Oazas that have changed; practically the whole address is often not the same as the current one. But I think you have to figure out the old one anyway, because that's what's there.

Jon Johanning // jjoha...@igc.org

Steven W. Johnston

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Sep 28, 2013, 8:16:41 PM9/28/13
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Sometimes "Oaza" gets dropped in the most recent version of the address you find on the typical Japanese postal code WWW sites, but that is no excuse for dropping "Oaza" unless the purpose of the translation is to provide an address for actually contacting the addressee right now.

 

Looking up out-dated place names (typically outdated due to mergers of townships) can be quite a problem, but there usually are enough references on the WWW to zero in on the proper pronunciation.

 

Katakana versions of US/European addresses are a particular problem, but in the context of patents, there is typically a filing out there somewhere with the address written in English, French, etc. I sometimes use the European postal code WWW sites to look up addresses, just like you'd do with the Japanese postal code WWW sites. Somehow I seem to use the Swedish postal code site a lot. One advantage of some of the European postal codes is that they may be of such high resolution that it makes it very easy to find even the street name.

 

--- Steven W. Johnston

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certified Japanese > English patent translator, Japan Trans. Fed., no. 6259

certified Japanese > English sci./tech. translator, Japan Trans. Fed., no. 6404

U.S. patent agent, no. 63,097

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