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Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008

Internet translation site takes a humorous turn on fathers


Staff writer

Bring up the subject of fathers with Japanese people studying the English language and you might find their locutions a little on the strange side.

This is because Space Alc, the popular Japanese-English translation Web site, has been drawing attention for its many funny example sentences for "oto-san" (father).

Go to www.alc.co.jp/index.html, enter otosan in Japanese and dozens of examples will appear using dad, daddy, pop, old man and other English words meaning father.

The example sentences include "Dad! Love doesn't have anything to do with age. I love him and he loves me. That's all that matters," and "Dad! Are you insane? If you do that he'll kill me!"

Others are "Dad, why did mom leave us? I wonder where she is now," "How would you feel if your father married someone your age?" and "Dad, don't lounge around in your underwear."

The site is run by Alc Press Inc., a publisher of language-study books.

Spokeswoman Tomoko Kawai said the online translation service, called "Eijiro on the Web," uses a database developed by a group of translators and interpreters called Electronic Dictionary Project. The group updates the database of translations and example sentences every one to six months, she said.

The company will study user feedback and decide what to do about the sentences, Kawai said.

The humorous examples were first reported on a blog discussing funny current affairs. Responses by Internet users include criticism of Space Alc, but some praise Eijiro for listing words and sentences not found in normal dictionaries.

The online dictionary is popular with students studying the English language thanks to its huge and ever-growing database; as of Sept. 19 it boasted 1.67 million English entry words and 1.95 million Japanese entries.



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The Japan Times

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