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Tattoo translation

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Dear Forum Members,
I'm getting a tatto on my abdomen and I would like to have this translate


Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success


Is it possible to have that translated in 8 to 9 characters, Kanji or Katakana? Thank you very much!
 

Mike Cash

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You want something that long done in eight or nine characters? You have at least seven or eight words that would absolutely have to be translated and most of them would be compounds (two or more kanji), plus kana for the grammatical bits.

Have you considered Chinese, Korean, Sanskrit, Ancient Egyptian, or Swahili?
 
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Thank you for the quick reply, no I never thought about it. But yeh if it's possible, in like 7 a 10 characters
 

nice gaijin

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The nature of "translation" is that in trying to capture the spirit of the intended meaning in a foreign language, you will almost always need to change what you're actually saying. Here's a very good program that talks about the pitfalls of translation, and the artistic license you can take: Translation - Radiolab

Normally, I would just strongly recommend against getting a tattoo in a language you don't understand. Search the forum for "tattoo" and you'll find plenty of these arguments. But I thought it would be fun to try to capture the spirit of the phrase in a new way:

失敗は成功への仮橋だ
Failure is a temporary bridge to success. I'm not sure if I can use 仮橋 in this way, but that's just a quick stab
 

Mike Cash

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I thought 失敗は成功の素, avoiding the bridge metaphor in favor of brevity.

Wouldn't you like a nice "Toyota Genuine Parts" logo instead?
 
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Hello Robye,
Your motto, if translated into Japanese, will be far too long to fit into 9 characters. The phrase will inevitably utilize both kanji and hiragana. Writing it entirely in katakana will produce a bizarrely long string of text that looks like it belongs on a telegram rather than on someone's abdomen. But my guess is that you cannot be talked out of semi-permanently (and expensively) marking your body in characters that you can neither pronounce nor understand without the help of an interlocutor, so... I'll give it a shot.

失敗とは、自分を自分の次なる成功へと真っ直ぐ導く単なる一時的な方向変更である。

If you wish to render this exclusively in katakana, which I don't recommend because it is a bit difficult to read (although you may be more concerned with esthetics of western sensibilities rather than legibility for natives) it will look like this;

シッパイトハ、ジブンヲジブンノツギナルセイコウヘトマッスグミチビク、タンナルイチジテキナホウコウヘンコウデアル。

Somewhat longer than 9 characters, but perhaps with a bit of creative inking it will fit nicely around abdomen. Certainly will be an attention-getter. I tend to think that your motto ought to stand on its own merits: I mean, the meaning isn't enhanced by rendering it into Japanese (or Swahili), and so putting it into Japanese seems like a very cliched ploy for attention ("will someone please ask me what this means?"). Bear in mind that I have a few more kms on the odometer than you, and your generation probably has a much more clever take on matters such as these.
 
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Thanks for the replies guys.

@nice gaijin 失敗は成功への仮橋だ would be an option, 10 characters would fit. Exctually I got the Idea for that typical tattoo because of this one: http://tattooroadtrip.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/o-DAVID-BECKHAM-TATTOO-570.jpg ( it looks sick)

@Mike Cash ill get that logo tattooed on my forhead tho :)

@Majestic Indeed, I found some translators online and in stores that said the same thing, If I get it translated completly, I will be tattooed from head till toe
 

Mike Cash

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How about 飛石 (stepping stones) instead of 仮橋?

Why is Beckham showing off his Japanese tattoo at a Chinese university?
 

Mike Cash

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Something like that.
 
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I think it's best if take this one 失敗は成功への仮橋だ But is it possible to get that in cursive?
 

Mike Cash

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I think it's best if take this one 失敗は成功への仮橋だ But is it possible to get that in cursive?
That's up to your tattoo guy.
 

Mike Cash

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Toritoribe

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I think it's best if take this one 失敗は成功への仮橋だ
Although the dictionary has the entry 仮橋 and its meaning "temporary bridge" is easily understandable from the kanji, I've never seen it in my life so far... (I thought it would be a typo of 架橋, 掛橋 or 懸橋 at first.) My two cents.
 

nice gaijin

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Thank you toritoribe, I was looking for synonyms for temporary in the dictionary and came across it, so I thought I'd try to use it as a metaphor. Another pitfall of translation!

I still prefer Mike's shorter one.
 
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