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(From The Yomiuri Shimbun/Daily Yomiuri)
Indirectly Speaking / Finding oneself 'lost in translation'
Mike Guest Special to The Daily Yomiuri
Lost in Translation is the title of a movie that has recently drawn a lot of critical praise. It concerns two Americans in Japan who are suffering personal identity crises while trying to reestablish themselves in a country whose language they cannot read or understand--hence the title. The phrase "lost in translation," though, normally refers to cases in which the subtleties and nuances of one language are lost when it is translated into another. But a third example of "lost in translation" may describe the habits of many students I have known, language learners whose English is paralyzed by excessive reliance on translation.
This became apparent to me when I was new to Japan. One day, I casually mentioned to a student in my tutorial that I lived just one block away from her, to …