Common Mistakes: Mimashou???

August 5th, 2013By Category: Uncategorized


How to translate “We will see” ?

“We will see” is an English idiom and it is incorrect to translate it into Japanese as “見ましょう” (mimashou.) The English “see” does not always necessarily correspond with the Japanese “見る” (miru.) For example…

1) Are you seeing her tomorrow? 明日彼女に会うの?/会うんですか? (ashita kanojo ni au no? / au n desu ka?)

see =  会う “au” (meet)

2) I see what you mean. 言いたいことはわかるよ/わかります。 (iitai koto wa wakaru yo / wakarimasu)

see = わかる “wakaru” (understand)

The Japanese “miru” has a very limited meaning, when compared to the word “see” in English and other languages, in which it can be used in a more flexible way. In Japanese, “miru” means literally to “watch”, “observe” or “look at something” in the majority of situations.

A case in which “miru” could be translated as “see” in English would be the one below.
I saw my friend’s new-born baby yesterday.
昨日、友達の赤ちゃんを見てきました。 (kinou, tomodachi no akachan wo mite kimashita)
In this case, we do not use 会う (au = meet) and it is correct to use “miru” because the baby is not being treated really as a human being but rather as an object of appreciation (or animal.)

Besides this, there are other kinds of misuse of the verb “miru”, such as “日本では、電車の中で寝ている人がよく見えます” (“nihon de wa, densha no naka de neteiru hito ga yoku miemasu” / One often sees people sleeping in the trains in Japan.) In this case, the correct wording, which would sound more natural, would be “yoku mikakeru” or the adjective “~が多い” (ga ooi = there are many) instead of “yoku mieru.”

So here is the question. How would you translate the “We will see” that parents use when children keep asking them whether they can have a dog?
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Iidabashi Japanese Language School

The Iidabashi Japanese Language School motto is "Be Unique, Have fun Globally!" We teach classes focused on conversation skills to foreigners living in Japan.

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