EliteF22 wrote:Hmm, is that kinda how Yoda speaks in Star Wars?
I wouldn't be surprised if the inspiration for Yoda came from Japanese. But Yoda would be easier to translate I think.
It's not hard to write precise Japanese that'd be easy to translate (which is what you'd get in class if you study it), but most spoken Japanese is often ambiguous. It can be quite hard to untangle the grammar sometimes. Then there's times when you can understand what's being said in Japanese, but it can be quite hard to express in a sane way in English. This is particularly hard when you need to sync what's been said with images (eg for manga or anime), which often leads to rather contorted sentance structures in english.
A common problem case is "anata no koto ga suki", which is basically "I love you", but the verb is at the end, and the "I" is implicit. So what do you do when the "suki" is left about? In Japanese, it would often be quite obvious where the sentance was going, but this ambiguity just doesn't exist in English. Also, what about if there's a big gap between "anata no koto ga" and "suki"? Maybe the closest you can get is "the one I love is... you" or "you are the one... I love", but this doesn't always work.
In series with some action, you sometimes get "[person's name] o...", which is short for "[person's name] o tanomu" - "take care of [person]". You typically get this when someone is leaving the room/area to fight someone else, leaving (at least) two other people behind. The original is really short however, and in manga you might get a really small speech bubble, and in anime you might get very little time to show the subtitle properly. Again, you can have the problem of a gap between the subject and the verb. "Take care of.... [person]" can sound kinda lame while the original Japanese sounds cool.
Then there's words, phrases and concepts that don't really exist (or map well) to english, eg: masaka, sasuga, kuse ni, katte ni, to itai ga, tte (at the beginning of a sentance). You can come up with ways around these problems, but sometimes it's hard to make a character still sound in character and not like some dork.
Another awkward issue is complicated per-modifiers (or whatever the proper term is) - basically a sentance before some noun. Eg "kinou ga katta ringo" which is "the apple I bought yesterday", but ringo (apple) is last in the Japanese while first in the English, while "kinou" (yesterday) is first in the Japanese and last in the English. It can be hard spotting these things sometimes, or untangling them. Then there's the particle "no" which is quite general purpose and indicates a relationship between two things. It can be like the possessive 's in english, but this doesn't always work. Perhaps the most famous example is "kaze no tani no naushikaa" aka "Nausicaa of the valley of wind" though you could try to literally translate it "wind's valley's Nausicaa".
There's a series running in Shonen Sunday which I quite like called "Shijou saikyou no deshi kenichi" (which recently has been scanlated a bit). "Shijou" is "in history", "saikyou" is "strongest", "deshi" is pupil/disciple (often in a martial arts sense) and kenichi is the main character's name. Keeping the word order the same, you could translate it as "History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi", but that sounds a bit awkward. "Kenichi, the strongest disciple in history" is perhaps the best way, but still doesn't sound too cool in English...
I've no idea what kind of real problems Japanese people have with translating real english (which has has a lot of irregular verbs for example). There's two things I can think of - Japanese doesn't have a plural "s" (sometimes you see "zu" in katakana at the end of word, which is kind of a bodge) and doesn't have uppercase and lowercase characters. Both don't seem too hard to work around though.
Anyway, Japanese has a large number of general issues that are tough to translate. A major one being that it's an aggultative (sp?) language, which basically means words/grammer join together. English has natural spaces while Japanese doesn't - you have to know quite a bit of Japanese just to be able to parse the sentances. When a lot of slang is being thrown in, this can be nearly impossible for a beginner (even with a good dictionary). When I started out learning Japanese, I concentrated on learning the grammar first, for this reason...
Despite saying all this, I enjoy reading Japanese. It has many interesting aspects, and often english translations just don't feel quite so rich.