Shinigami vs Death God

As I’m editing my work I’m running across more and more instances where I use the romanized Japanese word for something that I could easily translate to English. It’s not something that happens 100% of the time as I am not fluent in Japanese and I have only just started my lessons to learn the language.

As an avid Anime watcher and Manga reader I prefer to watch things in original Japanese with subtitles and I prefer the companies that keep the honourifics and various other words without trying to translate them into English as that can make the word loose it’s meaning. (e.g. kami means god, or goddess or godlike. It doesn’t necessarily refer to God and depending on the translation, it can be misinterpreted).

I’ve kept the romanized form of some words just because I only know them in Japanese and I don’t know how to translate it to English. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing as the context surrounding said words makes it very clear what I am referring to. I’ve had friends that are not as big into Japan as I am read my work, or those few sentences, to see if they can glean the meaning. Usually, they can. When they can’t, it’s because I haven’t given them a bigger sample.

For those of you who may write with peppered bits of other languages in your works, do you feel this adds to, or takes away from what you’re writing?

I’m hoping it adds to. When I read Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama she used the romanized form of many Japanese words. And I appreciated that so much more than a 100% English text. I feel as though it gives something a little extra.

Hopefully my work will do the same.

Posted by Sarah Jayne

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