Archive for March 18th, 2010

Lost in Translation

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

I try to read some Japanese everyday.  Today I was reading Daisuke’s post about his todo list for the Japan Perl Association.  While reading about volunteers and administration I came across a word that I couldn’t understand. It was in katakana so I could sound out the word – buresuto  (ブレスト).  And since it was in katakana it’s probably a word borrowed from a language like English.  The only word I could come up with was “breast” and why on earth would he be talking about that?  So, I asked my friend, what is ブレスト?  And she said, “oh that would be breast”.

I told her that really it couldn’t be because it made no sense.  She came and read the whole sentence and still looked completely confused.  She asked me if it could be a technical term related to Perl, but nothing that sounds like that came to mind.  I looked it up in my dictionary and it told me that the word was “breast”.

I went and got a better dictionary.  The word means “brain storming”.  There are times when the Japanese create words from English words by taking the start of each word and joining them together.  So, for example, “pasucon” is a shortened form of “personal computer”.   And it seems that “buresuto” joins the start of brain and storm.