The only constant is change

emkubed

New Member
USA, English
Hello,

I recently had a friend of mine stationed in Japan acquire translations for two phrases I want tattooed. If you wouldn't mind looking over the two scans of the written kanji I received, and posting what you read it to mean, I would be much obliged.

I mainly want to avoid tattooing something on my body that is incorrect, and here in the middle of a small town in the US, I have no local resources, so I turn instead to you. :)

Thank you in advance for your time.

Edit: Hmm, it seems I cannot post a link to the jpg files on my server. I suppose anyone interested can email me directly, or if someone can tell me how I can show the two images here, I would be grateful.
 
  • Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    emkubed said:
    Edit: Hmm, it seems I cannot post a link to the jpg files on my server. I suppose anyone interested can email me directly, or if someone can tell me how I can show the two images here, I would be grateful.
    Hello and welcome! :)

    As a junior member, you are not allowed to post URLs. Please send them to me via PM and I will do it for you.

    Jana
     

    erick

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    Let me preface this by saying -- be careful if you hand kanji over to some tattoo artist to have made ... unless they know Chinese/Japanese their text often looks like a child's scribble. I had to stifle my laughter when I saw a French friend with a tattoo in Japanese ... looked like the tattoo artist was drunk, but he probably just didn't know how to write it correctly. (We too have trouble writing the Chinese characters neatly) Here's my shot at translation:

    The first part:

    唯一の不変なことは変化すること when written in hiragana:
    ゆいいつのふへんなことはへんかすること in Roman letters:
    Yuuitsu no fuhennakotowa henkasurukoto.
    This makes sense translated as that expression, "the only constant is change."
    The second phrase is bit problematic in that is sounds strange or doesn't quite make sense. But it's your canvas to do as you please ... :
    純真など無く在るのは罪の意識にみ。
    じゅんしんなどなくあるのはつみのいしきのみ。
    Jyunshin nadonaku arunowa tsumino ishikinomi.
    Literally means something like "there is nothing pure; all that exists is conscience sin." or deliberate sin, guilt, offense, etc. It sounds a little strange or unnatural in Japanese, but could just be my ears. Maybe that's exactly what you were looking for!

    Hope that's of some help...
     

    emkubed

    New Member
    USA, English
    Excellent stuff, erick.

    The first is indeed, "The Only Constant Is Change".

    The second is quite close too. It is supposed to be " There Is No Innocence, Only Degrees Of Guilt ". Being the harder of the two to translate, it is that one I want to be very sure of before putting it on my body. :)

    Do you think, now having read the original English phrase, that the hiragana makes more sense, or would it still look like an odd phrase to an observer?
     

    erick

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    Well just for some clarification ...
    Hiragana is the simplified form. The first line is written with kanji (derived from Chinese characters). When you make the tattoo, use the form with Kanji. Sentences using hiragana only seem childish. Kanji is more sophisticated/learned. (Actually it's Kanji and hiragana used in combination). The first translation and usage is clear to me.

    I'm not sure my Japanese is good enough to say that the second sentence isn't as you say: you can interpret it as "there is no innocence." But I'm rather confident that it doesn't say "only degrees of guilt." Instead it says something along the lines of what I wrote above: "there exists only conscience sin or guilt/offense/etc." The reason I list so many words is because so much of translation from Japanese to English is a matter of interpretation. It's not as convenient and easy as Italian to English or English to French, where there are 1:1 equivalents. But your first phrase is in good shape I think!
     

    emkubed

    New Member
    USA, English
    Indeed. "there exists only guilt" is a bit different from "degrees of guilt", which is definitely what I'm going for.

    Hmm, look's like I have a step two, get that second phrase corrected, or fall back to backup plan B: Try for a Latin translation.
     

    erick

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    emkubed said:
    Hmm, look's like I have a step two, get that second phrase corrected, or fall back to backup plan B: Try for a Latin translation.
    That sounds like a cool idea! One phrase in Japanese, one in Latin. An old Oriental and old Occidental language ... the Italian forum people can help you with Latin. Good luck!
     

    emkubed

    New Member
    USA, English
    Cool. I'm not giving up on getting the second phrase in Japanese, but I was thinking Latin works better for the second one anyway.

    Talking a quick look at the forums, I see Latin requests here under Other Languages. New thread time?
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    emkubed said:
    Cool. I'm not giving up on getting the second phrase in Japanese, but I was thinking Latin works better for the second one anyway.

    Talking a quick look at the forums, I see Latin requests here under Other Languages. New thread time?
    Yes, please - open a new thread for a Latin translation, here (not in Italian :)).

    Jana
     

    emkubed

    New Member
    USA, English
    Oh, I was also curious: Since traditionally this Japanese would be written vertically, I take it left = top and right = bottom?
     

    erick

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    Jana337 said:
    Yes, please - open a new thread for a Latin translation, here (not in Italian :)).
    Well, allowing common sense to prevail for a moment: for a person about to get Latin permanently written on his skin, I think it ought to be permissible to ask it in the Italian thread because he'll get 1. a vastly wider readership of 2. the participation of Italians who are required to take Latin in school, and 3. considering all the junk threads (including how do you say "clay" in Italian for someone's tattoo) in that forum we can make allowance for one slightly off-topic thread that in the end will actually have a real effect on someone. Or Emk, to make it on topic you can just ask, stressing the Latin part, "how do you say this in Italian and in Latin?" in the Italian forum and you'll surely get more results than you would here while keeping the rules police happy. (And hopefully provoke a discussion that will have you find a more satisfactory choice of wording). Who knows, you may even like the Italian wording...

    emkubed said:
    Oh, I was also curious: Since traditionally this Japanese would be written vertically, I take it left = top and right = bottom?
    We have two guidelines to follow. If it's written vertically, it's right to left. (In those days people wrote with brushes so one's hand was clear of the paper and avoided smudging) But it's even more common for us to now write from left to right, horizontally. A bit odd, but vertical: right to left; horizontal: left to right. If you choose vertical and if the phrase is split into more than one column, make sure that the break comes at the end of a phrase and not in the middle of a word. Let me know and I'll help you with that ... cheers.
     

    emkubed

    New Member
    USA, English
    So written vertically, the right-most character in my horizontal example should be at the top?
     

    lalluviafresca1979

    New Member
    South Korea/Korean
    mmm

    i'm not japanese but korean, as you see.


    but

    i don't think it's a good idea to translate the second phrase in latin...

    (it's only my own opinion)

    coz the two of the phrases, i guess,

    they were supposed to be paradoxical phrases

    AND to form antithesis too, actually.


    and if you wanna write some japanese traditional phrases,

    it has to be written in this way : from right-top to left-bottom

    i mean,


    25 19 13 7 1
    26 20 14 8 2
    27 21 15 9 3
    28 22 16 10 4
    29 23 17 11 5
    30 24 18 12 6

    like this ;)
     

    emkubed

    New Member
    USA, English
    lalluviafresca1979, thanks for your input.

    The second phrase "There Is No Innocence, Only Degrees of Guilt", isn't meant to be paradoxical. If it were "There Is No Innocence, Only Guilt", I could see that, but it seems the "degrees of" part is the hangup.

    I may have chosen a difficult phrase to get a translation that captures the meaning. Luckily, I'm not going to rush into the tattoo until I'm sure :)
     

    lalluviafresca1979

    New Member
    South Korea/Korean
    emkubed,

    i see ur pointing out is quite sensible but

    i like to explain my opinion just a little bit more... :)


    i am sure of that

    each one of the phrase is meant to be paradoxical.

    actually, i don't see any "degrees of" part in that phrase!

    "罪の意識" means just "guilty feeling", not "degrees of guilty".


    indeed, the two sentences were meant to be antithetical,

    according to the meaning of the sentences and cadence too.
     

    emkubed

    New Member
    USA, English
    lalluviafresca1979 said:
    emkubed,

    i see ur pointing out is quite sensible but

    i like to explain my opinion just a little bit more... :)


    i am sure of that

    each one of the phrase is meant to be paradoxical.

    actually, i don't see any "degrees of" part in that phrase!

    "罪の意識" means just "guilty feeling", not "degrees of guilty".


    indeed, the two sentences were meant to be antithetical,

    according to the meaning of the sentences and cadence too.
    Indeed, this is the crux of the issue: The translation I got was not the phrase I wanted, it is partially incorrect. What I want is: There Is No Innocence, Only Degrees of Guilt

    That's why this thread is here. I wanted two tattoos, I had a friend get translations for me, and I posted what they gave me here, so the public can doublecheck and tell me if they make sense. The first one seems OK, the second didn't capture the "degrees" part correctly, and I need to get that corrected.
     

    lalluviafresca1979

    New Member
    South Korea/Korean
    oh, i see what you mean!


    but...

    if you don't really mind,

    i wanna say just one more thing for you ;)


    the "degrees of guilty" should be "罪の程度" in japanese kanji.

    but, as my sense about kanji... or whatever

    mmm

    the word "罪の程度" - it's a little bit wierd...

    (actually we don't have any words like that in kanji but

    we really have this common word like "罪(の)意識")

    maybe ur friend considered some context or

    he wanted to make it natural, i think.

    and i think the sentences are really wonderfull! :)
     

    emkubed

    New Member
    USA, English
    Were I to replace 罪の意識 with 罪の程度, would that "fix" the phrase, or does one need to change the whole line of text?
     

    lalluviafresca1979

    New Member
    South Korea/Korean
    mmm

    actually, if you write the the phrase with 罪の程度,

    it's not compeletely wrong or very much wierd.
    somebody can catch the meaning of the words, at least.

    but it might hurt the class of the sentence...,seriously.

    (hard to explain it properly but this would help.

    we have the word 罪意識,
    and we also have word 罪, and 程度

    but no words like 罪程度.

    it soundslike... little bit crude or what.)


    so if you replace the words with 罪の程度,
    you better write the whole sentence again.
     

    erick

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    Emk, I'm chatting with a friend right now ... who graduated from Tokyo University so I wouldn't question his Japanese for a moment. He writes:
    「無実なんてものはない,罪の度合いが異なるだけだ」
    or
    「無実なんてものはない.あるのは度合いの異なる罪だけだ」
    The first version being more natural and concise. I guess (predictably) you didn't get many Latin responses in this forum ... there's always the Italian forum where you can ask in Latin and Italian!
     

    erick

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    To add to the discussion, my friend says that the first sentence sounds a bit strange and suggests this alternative:
    i think this is one of the best ways to put "what does not change is that everything changes" into Japanese.
    万里万象が移ろいゆくのは普遍の真理
     

    erick

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    emkubed said:
    So written vertically, the right-most character in my horizontal example should be at the top?
    PS An important note: if written vertically, the left-most character in all the Japanese text I've written and that you've posted will start at the top. When we write from left to right horizontally, we start at the left. I have a few thoughts to add but will write tomorrow. (A bit tired now) Cheers.
     
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