Making English-learning great again.
With Donald Trump as the new U.S. president, people all around the world have been trying to understand the man better – his policies, his ideas, and most important of all, what he is saying on Twitter.
Up until recently many in Japan had no way of knowing what was coming out of the President’s Twitter feed, outside of breaking out an English dictionary or when something was big enough to make Japanese news. But then, on November 20 last year, an anonymous 17-year-old Japanese high school senior who goes by the pseudonym K・T-san changed all of that. He started translating almost every tweet Donald Trump made into Japanese.
▼ And he does a pretty good job too! If you ever wanted to know
how to say “fake news” in Japanese, it’s feeku nyuusu.
(日本語訳)ドナルド トランプ (@DonaldTrumpJPN) January 28, 2017
K・T-san says that he created the account in order to improve his English skills for college entrance exams by doing some translation. He was also interested in what the president was saying, and had others encourage him to go through with it.
To help him figure out some of the more difficult expressions and political/cultural issues, he enlists the help of an American student he met in Japan, an American who works in Japan who offered to help him, and, since K・T-san is only 17, his dad.
▼ Aside from just translating tweets,
K・T-san has also put together summaries of Trump’s policies…
◇トランプ氏の政策まとめ 21日(現地時間では20日)にトランプ氏が大統領に就任します。ここで政策を把握しておきましょう (政策は変わる可能性があります。) #拡散希望 https://t.co/HGLu4soCQQ—
(日本語訳)ドナルド トランプ (@DonaldTrumpJPN) January 19, 2017
▼ …and lists some of Trump’s most
frequently words and their meanings.
(日本語訳)ドナルド トランプ (@DonaldTrumpJPN) January 21, 2017
▼ But it’s not easy, especially when spelling mistakes are made, like
“gas” for “has,” making K・T-san need to explain all the “gas” jokes.
珍しい。。 トランプ氏が誤字――has を gas と誤表記して投稿。これに対し｢トランプこそガスまみれだ｣とのコメント多数 https://t.co/kM2DvnCwWd—
(日本語訳)ドナルド トランプ (@DonaldTrumpJPN) January 29, 2017
When asked if translating the tweets has helped with his English, K・T-san responded that he’s learned a lot of useful expressions. He’s also gained an interest in politics, and he’s gotten many words of thanks from Japanese people for his work with the translation, which are a huge support. As of this writing he has over 60,000 followers, and that number just gets higher every day.
One aspect in particular that makes K・T-san’s translations so colorful is his commitment to conveying Trump’s casual language. For example, when Trump uses “you” to address the American people, K・T-san translates it as anatagata, a very polite “you all.” But when Trump says “you” referring to a someone he doesn’t like, K・T-san translates it is aitsura (an impolite “those guys”) or omae (an impolite “you”), words that Japanese politicians would almost never use.
▼ Here, “you” is translated as kimitachi (a close and intimate “you”) when addressing his followers, showing K・T-san’s prowess translating notoriously difficult pronouns.
全てが今日始まる！君たちとは午前11時の宣誓式で会おう。 ムーブメントは続く― 仕事が始まる！ twitter.com/realDonaldTrum…—
(日本語訳)ドナルド トランプ (@DonaldTrumpJPN) January 20, 2017
K・T-san has said that he will continue to translate the tweets for as long as possible. He plans to study international economics at college and wants to use the English he’s learned in projects all around the world.
We wish the best of luck to K・T-san in his endeavor to translate Trump, and if we ever get the chance to meet up with him, we’d gladly treat him to a Trump burger in Tokyo.