Hello everyone! It’s Kyle again back to talk about a topic that I have experienced on plenty of occasions and I think you may have too. It has to do with trying to translate Japanese phrases into English, especially ones that don’t really have a place in Western society or, in my case, America. The phrase I want to talk about is the ever-popular お疲れ様です！
As you may know, you can hear this phrase at pretty much any given time if you work in Japan or with Japanese coworkers. It is used in so many different times of the day: when someone comes to work, when someone leaves work, after finishing something that required effort, and even as a cheers when out drinking with coworkers. With a phrase this common, surely there must be a way to translate it smoothly into English, right? Well, things get tricky when you try.
The most common way this phrase is translated is something along the lines of “thank you for your work” or even “thank you for always working hard”. These are two phrases that quite literal translations of the phrase, but they would never be said in an English environment as frequently as お疲れです is in a Japanese environment. This got me thinking that sometimes it’s better to translate the meaning depending on the situation rather than have a catch-all English phrase.
For example, in a common business environment in America, when someone is leaving, you may only hear “thank you for your hard work” if that person went above and beyond what was expected of them during the work day. Since this is a bit of a special expression of gratitude, it would lose its effect if it were said every single day. Instead, just saying something like “See you tomorrow” or “Have a good weekend” is a more suitable replacement because these are things that are said with the same frequency as お疲れ様です in an English environment. It may not be exactly the same meaning, but it is close enough in terms of what is called for in the situation that I feel like it is a natural substitute.
On the other hand, what can you use to say お疲れ様です when proposing a toast over drinks with your coworkers? In this case, the phrase is more of a recognition that hard work was done and now it’s over. In a situation like this, I would suggest you can say something along the lines of “Yeah! We’re finally finished” or “What a tough day!”. Again, saying something like “thank you for your work” would be appropriate if someone or a group of people worked exceptionally hard on a project that is now finished.
The moral of this story is that sometimes it is better to translate the meaning of a word or phrase rather than find a direct word-for-word translation of it. Think about the situation a phrase is used in and do some digging about what is said, if anything at all, in a similar situation in an English speaking environment.
Anyway, keep up all your hard work studying everyone. お疲れ様です！！！！
座右の銘は「You only fail if you fail to try.」