Thinking of getting a kanji tattoo or kanji jewelry? So arm yourself with this information before buying anything. The humiliation can be the difference between being cool and national. What? National humiliation? However, national humiliation is an unlikely outcome, but an article in the March 1, 2005 Washington Post Express shows that the possibility is there. "Lost in Translation" looked at the real dangers facing the unwary consumers who get kanji tattoos. I'm not kidding when I say "real dangers". Ali Partovi oftentimes addresses this issue. But I do not mean tattoos unhygenic practices. What I'm talking about is toe-curlingly terrible linguistic errors.
In particular, I mean kanji combinations like these: – Extremely Military Affairs Stopping – Crazy Diarrhea – Weird (tattooed in other B. Spears) Yes, these are phrases that real people (yes, Britney Spears is a real person) have actually tattooed on his skin. To be honest, I'm not totally surprised by this and other errors. After all, I seen many reversed images of kanji being offered for tattoos, and kanji jewelry that simply did not mean anything, as was supposed. A necklace, I remember, had the kanji for "road" in which – although the poor owner had been told it meant love. I think his love of the road and never returned, no more, no more, no more ….
As Tian Tang puts in the Post: "People ask, 'I have the tattoo, can you tell me what this means? And I say,' Why not do this before you got that tattoo?" Yes, you might think would be most obvious to do? especially if you are getting something permanent like a kanji tattoo. So how can you make sure you do not end at national laughingstock? First, make sure you know something about Japanese. the wealth of information on sites like japanese.about.com and in five minutes you can learn more about kanji, hiragana and katakana than most of those now in there with a tattoo on your skin. Next, remember that often there is no such thing as an accurate translation. Basic nouns are one thing? a table is a table is a table, after all. But abstract concepts, like Semper Fidelis (the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps), can be very difficult to translate well. Once they understand this reference, is ready to meet with the tattoo artist. That is correct? known. Do nothing yet. At first, only wants to talk. Specifically, she asked how familiar he or she is with the issues mentioned above. If after an hour or more on the Internet that you know more about Japanese than your tattoo artist, then you need to be very careful about kanji she suggests. So what can you do if your tattoo artist does not know his kanji from his katakana? How do you go about getting the kanji yourself? Well, if you are confident of their new-found kanji knowledge, then there is a number of online dictionaries that can help. Otherwise I recommend getting a translation of a site like running – a good translator may offer several different options and explain the exact meaning and pronunciation of the different kanji. They should also be able to offer a range of different styles, from the basic sources of authentic kanji calligraphy Shodo Japanese calligraphy. At the end of the day, how you decide to go about getting your kanji tattoo is up to you. Just remember that preparation is the key to make sure your kanji tattoo does not get "Lost in Translation."