Commentaries from the Judges （Japanese-to-English Division）
This year’s passage dealt with ransomware, a form of malware that is receiving more attention in the media these days. The content was not particularly difficult, but in order to produce a very good translation it was necessary to read carefully, to follow the flow of ideas throughout the passage, and to make connections between sentences. Congratulations to all five finalists for capturing the key elements of this passage!
Generally speaking, it is important to maintain the paragraph structure used by the original writer, even if the translator thinks a different structure would be better. Maintaining the same paragraph structure ensures that the writer’s message is presented the way the writer intended and also makes it easier for editors or quality checkers to compare the translation with the source text. Two of the finalists created additional paragraphs in their translations. In one instance the division of one paragraph into two led to an error in the content of the translation. (This is another reason to maintain the original paragraph structure.) Additional comments on selected points in the individual translations follow.
This translation is very well done, and there are many excellent choices of words and phrases. However, the instructions indicate that the passage came from the NHK website, not a personal blog. In a few places the tone of the translation may be too colloquial for the NHK website, and in one instance information was lost.
In the fifth paragraph the clause Ｔｗｉｔｔｅｒには「感染してしまった」という書き込みが多く見られます is rendered as “Browsing Twitter will reveal countless tweets kvetching about ransomware infections.” The use of “countless” is somewhat of an overstatement, and the word “kvetching” may be too colloquial. On the other hand, the following clause (情報が流出するわけではない), which explains why some organizations decide not to publicly announce such infections, was completely omitted from the translation.
Most of the content is conveyed accurately. However, there are a few omissions and there are several points that strayed from the original writer’s intent.
In the first sentence of the third paragraph the writer states that a cyber-criminal group 偽物のセキュリティーソフトを販売していた. In the second sentence the writer states that the group ランサムウエアに移行してきた. The tense of 販売していた indicates that the group “had been selling” a certain kind of software, and the use of 移行してきた indicates that the group more recently “shifted” its focus to ransomware. The sequence of events in time is significant and should be expressed in the translation. The ransomware is described as 暴力的な. The term 暴力 is usually associated with “violence,” but in this context “malicious” might be a better choice. If we put everything together, the first two sentences of this paragraph (ランサムウエアは、偽物のセキュリティーソフトを販売していたサイバー犯罪グループが利用していると言われています。偽物のソフトでは金が稼げなくなったため、もっと暴力的なランサムウエアに移行してきたというのです。) could read, “Ransomware is reportedly utilized by a cyber-criminal group that had been selling/was previously selling fake anti-virus software. It is thought that these criminals could no longer make money selling fake software, so they shifted to ransomware, which is more malicious.”
In the fourth paragraph the writer mentions 200,000 emails, which are described as 日本国内に向けて. The phrase に向けて generally indicates the direction in which something is moving or the target toward which something is directed. In this instance we don’t know where these emails originated. (It is quite possible that some of these messages were sent from a country other than Japan.) Rather than “were sent within Japan” it would be more accurate to say, “were directed toward addresses in Japan” or “targeted addresses in Japan.”
In the fifth paragraph the writer describes a particular email as 件名や本文がないメール. The translation reads, “an email containing no text,” but this portion should read, “an email containing no subject and no text” or “an email without subject or text.”
This translation contains many excellent phrases, but there are a few misunderstandings and omissions. In the second paragraph the writer mentions 金銭的な被害, which was rendered as “financial ruin.” “Ruin” is an overstatement; “losses” would be a better choice for 被害.
In the third paragraph the writer indicates that金を脅し取ろうとしたとして逮捕された人もいます. This clause was translated as, “Some people have been arrested on charges of threatening people in this way for money.” The verb 脅す certainly means “to threaten,” but 脅し取る usually means “to extort.” The combination of the volitional form of a verb and とする often indicates that someone is attempting to carry out whatever action is associated with the verb. If we put everything together, this clause could read, “Some of those individuals were arrested on charges of attempted extortion.” (Here, the phrase “those individuals” was used to connect this sentence with the previous two sentences, which described the actions of certain criminal groups.)
The first sentence in the fourth paragraph characterizes Canon IT Solutions as a company that 情報セキュリティーサービスを提供している. This clause appeared as “a company that distributes security software.” A more accurate translation would be, “a provider of information security services.” (Such services certainly involve more than selling software and often include monitoring a client’s network or testing a client’s network for vulnerabilities.)
The term 町田市役所 appears twice in the fifth paragraph. The first appearance was rendered as “Machida City Hall,” which is fine, but the second appearance became “Machida Town Office.” Maintaining consistency, particularly for proper nouns, is extremely important in professional translation. Careful proofreading of the finished translation will help the translator catch most of these errors.
This translation captures most of the intended meaning. However, the translator misunderstood several key points. The first sentence in the third paragraph of the translation reads, “It is now known that ransomware has been included within counterfeit anti-virus software sold by certain organized cybercrime groups.” In the source text the verb associated with the fake software is 販売していた, but the verb associated with the ransomware is 利用している. The difference in tense between these verbs indicates that one action was a continuing action in the past while the other action is a continuing action in the present. Based on this understanding, this sentence could read, “Ransomware is reportedly utilized by a cyber-criminal group that had been selling/was previously selling fake anti-virus software.”
The translator divided the third paragraph of the source text into two paragraphs in the translation. This violates the “mirror image” principle for a translation, but there was no adverse effect on the content. However, the translator also divided the fifth paragraph of the source text into two paragraphs in the translation. The first sentence in the second of these paragraphs reads, “Ransomware viruses do not only infect computers, but can also affect data memory and any servers the infected computers are connected to.” This is a general statement, and it is factually correct. However, in this context the original clause (ウイルスはパソコンだけでなく、接続されたサーバーや記録媒体のデータまで読み取れなくする仕組みで) is not a general statement. Rather, it is related to the specific example of a particular attack on the 町田市役所, which was described in the preceding sentences. By breaking one paragraph into two, the translator lost the connection between the clause in question and the preceding sentences, and this loss of connection adversely affected the accuracy of the translation. Keeping in mind the link to the specific example in question, this sentence could read, “This virus was designed to deny access not only to the infected computer, but also to the server to which that computer was connected and to the data on any storage media (in the computer).”
This translation includes most of the desired content and several clever turns of phrase, but in some places the translation strays from the meaning intended by the original writer. The second paragraph of the translation includes the phrase “but the fact that it is done willingly makes it difficult to press charges.” It is not clear where that clause came from. There are no references to “willingly” or “pressing charges” in the source text. The final sentence in the same paragraph refers to “corrupted data.” The source text simply reads データ. Based on references to 暗号化 in other paragraphs, “encrypted data” would be accurate; “corrupted data” is not.
In the third paragraph the translation mentions “Ransomware’s more ‘direct’ methods of acquiring cash” in contrast to “the slower approach of selling fake security software.” The source text describes ransomware as 暴力的な. Characterizing ransomware as “malicious” or “vicious” would be reasonable, but the choice of “direct” results in a significant loss of meaning. The original writer tells us that 偽物のソフトでは金が稼げなくなった. Rather calling this option “slower,” it would be better to describe it as, “less profitable.”
In the fifth paragraph the writer presents the example of 町田市役所. After describing the infection and explaining that 町田市役所 was able to recover its data from backups, the writer tells us that 一部の業務に影響が出たということです. This portion was rendered as, “but the impact of the virus on other such businesses cannot be denied.” In this context it is clear that 一部の業務 refers to work done by people in 町田市役所, not in a company. If so, this portion could read, “but some of the work done in that department was affected/impacted (by the attack).”
The Fred Uleman description of the translation process is, “Read a little, think a little, write a little.” E20 has clearly worked to produce a clean, direct translation but needs to work a little more on all parts of the process.
Translator E20 started off by violating a basic rule: translate the punctuation. While 鉤括弧 are used in Japanese for both quotations and emphasis, putting “ransomware” in quotes in the English title suggests an ironic intent, not emphasis. Worrying about punctuation may seem overly fussy. Given, though, that our goal is to produce an English version of the text that communicates the content accurately, in a style appropriate for the intended audience, coming up with a title that suggests the author either is being ironic or is cluelessly using scare quotes does not do the job.
In the first sentence, “There is” is a weak start for a text intended to alert the reader to a serious menace. Why not the more succinct “A new type of computer virus is menacing people around the world”? In the next sentence, 写真 is translated as “pictures.” It’s not unusual to talk about “a cute picture of your cat,” but “photographs” is more accurate and works better when talking about computer files. That sentence ends with “to fix the problem” in a good attempt at informality, but “fix the problem” sounds like the act of a kindly plumber, not an extortionist. The next sentence is wordy, stiff, and somewhat inaccurate: The virus is not threatening loss of property; it has already made that property inaccessible. (Here, by the way, I do no flinch at the quotes around “ransomware.”)
The subheading above the second paragraph is a challenge. The obvious translation would be “Do I have to pay the ransom?” or “Is forking over the ransom the only option?” Reading what comes next and then rethinking the subheading, rather than going with the obvious, is advisable (as it always is in translating headings and subheadings). E20 has rendered the first two sentences rather clumsily. For the third sentence, the implications of また were overlooked: the writer is shifting from “Will paying the ransom do you any good?” to “What are the larger implications of paying it?” but that transition is absent in the English. The next sentence, “Taking this into consideration, paying the ransom actually promotes the crime,” is ungrammatical. (“Taking” should modify the person considering the issue, but it is hanging here, positioned to modify “paying.”) In the next sentence, “financial ruin” is over the top for 金銭的被害. The translator has also failed to recognize that the experts say not to pay both because paying promotes crime and because it costs the victims money. “Unfortunately, if you get ransomware, you should give up on regaining your data” is unnecessarily wordy. “Just accept that your data are toast.”
The second and third paragraph contain two instances of 言われています／いわれていますused to indicate that the writer is not speaking from direct knowledge (in this case, of criminal groups’ motivations). Can we ignore that implication, as E20 did, in the English? In the first instance, adding something like “it is said” to the “criminal organizations continue to spread this virus” sentence does not add much: the reader would understand anyway that the writer is making an inference. In the second instance, however, the switch from fake software to ransomware is a hypothesis for which the writer is clearly not claiming responsibility (as the use of というのです at the end of the passage reinforces). Here, adding something like “The story is” would get across what the author is saying more accurately.
In the third paragraph, “vicious” is a good translation of 暴力的. But does “threatening people” make sense when the attack on their files has already been executed? “Since victims continue to emerge” also seems weak for 被害者が絶えない.
In the next paragraph, 提供 is translated as “distributes” and サービス as “software,” putting Canon IT Solutions in the position of selling software, not providing services. That sentence also contains a clause beginning with another unnecessary “there.” Also, “domestic emails” would imply emails sent and received in Japan; the text says 国内にむけて, which does not identify the location of the sender. The final, warning sentence is a bit of a puzzle: are these suspicious attachments or attachments to suspicious emails? Perhaps “suspicious email attachments” would avoid the problem. Despite the Japanese phrasing, I would agree with E20 that it is the emails that are suspicious, but would suggest that “never open” would be stronger—and closer to 決して開かない.
In the next paragraph, E20 refers to Machida City Hall in the first sentence (but with a “the” before it that is unnecessary with a proper noun) but shifts to “Machida Town Office” a few sentences later. Machida is a city. Since, unfortunately, its website uses the usual hilarious machine translation service, the translator is stuck with either calling the city hall and asking what they call themselves in English or perhaps relying on similar examples, as in Tachikawa City Hall. Switching names in midstream is not, however, an option. The description of the incident is also a little confusing. “One of these employees opened the email attachment on an office computer, which was infected by the virus” is ambiguous: was the computer already infected? “Which was then infected” would be clearer. The next sentence is even more confusing. Why “stored files”? Are there unstored files? I am guessing the translator is trying to work around 記録媒体のデータ.
That paragraph’s final sentence is also problematic. 情報が流出するわけではないので is translated as “However, this does not mean that information was leaked,” leaving it unclear what information might be leaked, especially since “this” would presumably be a not well constructed reference to tweets about being infected. That passage, however, actually refers to companies and other entities that are infected but not reporting it.
In the paragraph after the next subheading, “The number of fake emails that appear to be from companies are increasing” is ungrammatical as well rather twisted in the translation. The emails are emails. What is fake are the email addresses. In the same paragraph, the translator has added “has unexpected attachments” to the criteria for emails not to be opened, when the Japanese clearly says, “Never open attachments unless you know the sender.”
The closing line is strong and clear.
Translator E23 did an excellent job of translating the text in a readable manner. The title is strong, the opening sentence compelling, and the translation continues in an informal style that engages the reader.
In the first paragraph, “extorts” might be better than “demands” and “photographs” better than “pictures.” The subheading that follows has been translated to suit the content below it, and the two reasons for the experts’ recommendations have been stated clearly in the second paragraph. That paragraph ends badly, however, with “This does, unfortunately,” where “this” has no clear referent.
E23 also handled the 言われていますneatly in the next paragraph with “Some sources claim.” The Japanese does not, however, explicitly state that it was only one cybercrime group engaged in selling fake antivirus software (and other sources claim there were many). In the same paragraph, “apprehended” is redundant in “apprehended and arrested” for 逮捕された. “Run rampant” turns 被害が絶えない around, very successfully.
The translator also handled the Machida City Hall story in a way that makes sense, except for “data media” for 記録媒体のデータ. That I suspect is more like “data on storage media,” as in every hard drive on the office network. In the last sentence, “kvetching” is indeed the perfect term for this class of tweets but may be a little colloquial for an NHK website text. That sentence also has another “this” with no clear referent.
The how to protect yourself paragraph is good, except for the last sentence, in which we are told to “recognize the sender and the message.” The Japanese does not mention recognizing the message.
In the last paragraph, the translator uses “home page” for “official corporate website.” Was that an attempt to avoid repeating “website” or an inadvertent echo of the Japanese usage?
The closing line is surprisingly literal and weak.
Translator E30 effort to come up with easy-to-understand, readable English seems to have been hampered by a looser grasp of the Japanese. This translator mimics the Japanese in using quotation marks around “Ransomware” in the title, and translates 写真 as “pictures” in the first paragraph. That paragraph’s first sentence is both clumsy (“an amount of money”?) and ungrammatical (computer virus . . . are). “An amount of money” recurs, and “ransom” is also put in quotation marks, for no obvious reason. And why not write “demanded money” or figure out a way to use “extort” for 脅し取る instead the rather polite “asked for an amount of money”?
The tricky first subheading was handled effectively. Unfortunately, the next sentence is painfully repetitive. It is followed by “Because some people do decide to pay the ransom, some criminal groups spread these types of viruses to fund their businesses and activities,” a statement implying that forcibly separating people from their money is not a business criminal groups engage in. The next three sentences are painfully wordy and include “propagating criminal activities,” which is an odd usage. We can propagate plants or ideas, but not activities. (Perhaps the translator meant “promote”?)
In the next paragraph, using “It is now known that . . .” for 言われています fails to communicate that the writer is making an inference not based on direct knowledge while beginning the paragraph awkwardly. The Japanese does not state that “ransomware has been included within counterfeit anti-virus software.” Rather, as E20 clearly wrote, it is now used by cyber-criminal groups had been selling fake anti-virus software. Note that the software is fake, not counterfeit. “Counterfeit software” has the specific meaning of illegal copies of software. The software works. “Fake anti-virus software” does not work.
“Has not significantly decreased” is a considerable understatement for 被害が絶えない. In the next paragraph, the translator states that 200,000 emails were said to have been sent not “in March 2016” but “by March 2016,” a mistranslation of 三月に. The final sentence urges “extreme caution when opening attachments from suspicious emails,” where the Japanese plainly says 決して開かない.
This translator has invented a new institution, Machida City Municipal Office, but at least used that term consistently. “When one of those four workers opened the file attached to the email, their computer became infected with the virus” is puzzling. Why repeat that there were four workers targeted? And what is “their computer”? I suspect that the translator is trying to avoid a gender-specific adjective, but the sentence reads as though all four are using the same computer. Placing the continuation of the story in a separate paragraph (thereby violating the contest instructions), the translator presents it as general information rather than what happened in Machida. “Data memory,” a programming term, seems to be an unsuccessful stab at 記録媒体のデータ.
The Twitter passage translation is puzzling. Why say “claims” instead of “tweets”? Why not translate the tweet as a direct quotation, as E20 did? And why interpret the 情報が流出する as about the Twitter users rather than the companies who have probably been affected?
In the translation of the next paragraph (after a subheading with an unnecessary colon), “sometimes” could work for ことがあります, but not here, where the main ransomware delivery method is being discussed. The next sentence begins, “Lately the increasing amount of counterfeit emails posing as real existing companies makes it hard to discern . . .”; presumably “posing as coming from real existing companies” was intended.
In the next paragraph, why are “other” websites mentioned? And why take so long to get to the heart of the matter, that websites can be hacked or falsified to spread ransomware? (And why use “Unknowingly to these users, websites . . . ,” in which “unknowingly” modifies “websites”? Users could unknowingly do something but websites cannot. The translator might try “Unbeknownst to these users” and then rewrite.) Here, too, a time period has been mistranslated: 10月に as “by October.”
Translator E32 begins well with a strong title: “Wreaking havoc,” indeed. The first paragraph ends rather wordily, with “since it is made with the goal of collecting ransom payments.” Why add “with the goal of”? And why is “payments” plural? Or used at all?
The translator handled the first subheading well, then ran into a problem with tenses: it should be “victims have reported.” “After the ransom was paid” would also be also be more natural. It would also be more effective, to maintain the storyline and lead into the next point, to start the next sentence with the victims’ actions, then move on to the criminal groups: Because some people do pay the ransom, criminal groups make a business out of distributing the virus. (And not “a business for making money,” please.) The “as such” beginning the next sentence is bewildering, and the rest of the sentence is wordy and shifts the emphasis: we know that paying a ransom causes monetary loss. What the experts are saying is that it also encourages criminal activities (or fosters them, but not “the fostering of” them). “Victims should just accept that the data are lost and move on” is excellent.
In the next paragraph, the translator ignored the 言われています entirely, instead of respecting the writer’s caution about the source of the information presented. Here, too, “counterfeit” is incorrectly used instead of “fake.” “Aggressive” is not a bad translation for 暴力的 here, though “vicious” or “malicious” works better. “The occurrence of ransomware attacks has not decreased” sentence is wordy (“Ransomware attacks have not decreased”), weak (絶えない implies “unceasing,” not “not declining”), and ungrammatical (the clause beginning with “suggesting” has no referent).
In the next paragraph, Translator E32 politely gives the full name of the company cited, Canon IT Solutions Inc. This paragraph is translated accurately and effectively, with “suspicious email attachments” a deft solution.
The translator also avoided places where others stumbled in the Machida story, in a very clear and effective translation of it. (“Storage media”!) Making the Twitter bit into a separate paragraph is logical but, unfortunately, violates the instruction to keep the original paragraphing.
The first paragraph after the “Protecting your computer” subheading is excellent. Moving the message “not to open attachments other than those from trusted sources” up gets the main point across effectively.
The second paragraph is not quite as successful. “Commonly visited websites” is very general. いつも閲覧しているホームページ refers to sites that the person in question often visits, not generally popular ones. This translator also uses “unknowingly” oddly, in “Sometimes websites are unknowingly hacked into”: the criminals doing the hacking know; the website is not capable of knowing. But 知らないうちにrefers to the person who would be visiting the website, the person reading this text: A familiar website may have been, without your noticing it, hacked. (Note that E20 and E23 avoid translating that phrase directly. E23’s “seemingly innocuous” is a good workaround.)
The closing line’s “last but not least” is excellent.
Translator E33 begins with a strong title and first paragraph. Unfortunately, the translation of the first subheading is not effective. The Japanese does not imply that paying is a way out.
In the following paragraph, in which the 言われていますnuance has been ignored, “far from uncommon” is a stretch for 人がいる, and the next sentence continues that overemphasis, inserting “since so many users end up paying out of desperation.” The following sentence adds something new, and inaccurate: “the fact that it is done willingly makes it difficult to press charges.” The final sentence, if far too wordy, does agree with the Japanese.
In the next paragraph, the translator has translated 稼げなくなった as “slower” instead of “becoming less profitable.” Adding “through these viruses” does not contribute to the already wordy next sentence, and “relatively stable” is weak for 絶えない.
This translator states, in the next paragraph, that 200,000 emails were sent not “in March 2016” but “as of March 2016,” a mistranslation of 三月に, and that they were sent “within Japan” for 国内にむけて.
The Machida story also has issues. “One of these employees opened the message on their computer.” No, it was the attachment, not the message; that is critical information. And “their computer”? See Translator 32’s version for a model translation. We also have “media records” here, and the data being “forcefully” encrypted. Furthermore, the impact of the virus was on that department’s operations, not “other such businesses.”
The Twitter passage is also muddled: the original seems to be saying that lots of individuals are tweeting about being infected, but companies are keeping that information to themselves [thus leading one to underestimate the seriousness of the problem].
The final section begins with a good translation of the first paragraph. The second paragraph also, despite using “home pages,” begins well, before sliding into “without the owner’s knowledge.” That is an interesting take, but the issue is the user’s unawareness that the site has been hacked or faked, not the owner’s. And, here, too, a time period has been mistranslated: 10月に as “as of October.”
I would first like to thank all of the contestants for making a considerable effort to produce good translations with no guarantee of reward or recognition. I would also like to acknowledge that the five finalists produced very good to outstanding translations. And I would like to congratulate E23 for winning this year’s contest and E32 for being selected the runner-up. All five finalists showed a high degree of accomplishment or potential for growth and could certainly work as translators if they chose.
This year’s contest passage was information for consumers about ransomware from the NHK website. It was not a highly technical topic, but did require the use of appropriate terminology and register. The finalists did a good job of finding appropriate English vocabulary. It was obvious that they had done some research or were familiar with the topic.
The translation instructions called for the translation to be aimed at a general audience. Most of the translations followed the translation instructions to the letter, although some used a few teckie-sounding terms (e.g., “infosec”) and some did not retain the original paragraphs, as instructed. The translation instructions are the equivalent of the specifications of a client’s order. There is often a practical reason, like maintaining a change history or layout considerations, when a client makes a request like retaining the original paragraphs. So, it is good to follow such instructions even if they do not add quality to the translation in your view. That’s what happens when people pay money for translations, like it or not.
A large part of the enjoyment of translation is re-forming the text into something palatable to English readers, using your knowledge of the subject matter and the two cultures. The contestants made a noticeable effort to “localize” the translation so that it was palatable and even dramatic and entertaining to English-language readers. In fact, if there was an overriding trend in this year’s contest, it was a tendency to elaborate and add information that might not have been necessary. Aside from some obvious instances of misunderstanding of the source text, the fine line dividing several of the finalists was the text to which they elaborated on the text.
The judges unanimously chose E23 as the winner and E32 as the runner-up.
E23 pushed the envelope somewhat with the interpretation of the first paragraph, creating a scenario describing what “you,” the reader would see when your computer is attacked by ransomware. However, such license was generally within the scope of the translation instructions to translate for a general audience, and it created a tension and interest in the reader. E23 went on make the fewest “transfer” errors (have the fewest misunderstandings) by my count and write a translation that was generally pleasant to read. E23 addressed the reader directly again, later saying “you are not only out the money, but also encouraging this kind of criminal activity” and by using the imperative mood. This engaged the reader. E23 also produced clean and engaging versions of the sentence saying some people’s computers were fixed after paying the ransom while others’ were not and the section describing the evolution from selling fake security software to attacking people with ransomware. E23 accounted for the use of phrases like 言われている to indicate general attribution and also took into account that 自治体 are not just municipalities.
Indirectness is a hallmark of the Japanese language, but E23 took advantage of the fact that this text used “決して” twice and translated it as “never” both times, while most other finalists turned those injunctions never to do something into softer phrases. E23’s description of the dangers of internet browsing read well.
E32’s translation was very clean and accurate. It was my second favorite to read without reference to the Japanese text. E32 was the only finalist to say that websites had been “hacked (改ざん).” However, like several other contestants, E32 used phrasing that suggested a cyberattack is a piece of software, which sounds illogical to me. Ransomware is software, and an attack is an action performed with the software. E32 also called people working at the Machida City Hall “workers,” which didn’t sound right for, eh hem, office workers.
E32 used the phrase “[t]he best protection is to avoid infection.” This phrase appeared in an article about the ransomware Cryptolocker on the Geek Rescue website. (Cryptolocker is a piece of ransomware mentioned in the full version of the contest passage.) However, another judge found the phrase “[y]our best protection is to avoid infection” on a health-related website, suggesting that similar phrases do exist. Mimicry is a big part of translation and we want to make our English sound as genuine as possible, but we must be careful about how much text we copy and circumstances under which we copy it. For example, when academic articles on a particular topic are written in Japanese and English, there tends to be wholesale borrowing of introductions, background information, and the like (into Japanese, at least), so copying from the original English seems appropriate in those instances.
E33’s translation was my favorite to read independent of the Japanese text, but it contained a few more transfer errors than the other contestants’ translations. E33 also went to great lengths to rearrange the text, when the other contestants were just as effective without changing things around as much. The primary example is the description of evolution of the crime from selling fake software to just using ransomware. Changing things around is certainly not a crime in J-E translation, but writing good English while maintaining fidelity to the Japanese is certainly a plus.
E30’s translation of the title sounded like a real English-language headline (Ransomware Attacks Spreading Worldwide). However, E30 added quite a bit more verbiage to the English text than some other finalists, made more transfer errors, and used the term “an amount of money” for “金銭” and “金.” This is not to detract from the fact that E30 was one of the top five finalists.
With the other contestants embellishing the text so much, I would like to draw attention to a few lines from the one finalist (E20) who took a leaner, more minimalist approach and delivered some extremely faithful renderings. Unfortunately, these clear, economical lines were obscured by some more awkward and incorrect translations of other parts of the text. I tend to do a lot of embellishing and rearranging myself, like some of the other candidates this year, so I think this is a good lesson for us all.
Although some of these renderings may not be perfect, they stand out from or equal the other translations as examples of faithfulness and economy:
“There is a new type of computer virus menacing people around the world. This virus makes pictures and other files on your desktop or laptop computers unreadable, then demands money in order to fix the problem…”
“There are reports of victims’ computers being returned to normal after they paid the ransom. However, there are also reports saying that the computer was not fixed. Because there are people who pay the ransom, criminal organizations continue to spread this virus and make a business out of it…”
“Victims of ransomware viruses include municipalities, hospitals and schools. One such victim was the Machida City Hall in Tokyo. In December of last year, four employees received blank emails with no subject line. One of these employees opened the email attachment on an office computer, which was infected by the virus.”