The article on よろしくお願いします got me thinking--Japanese communication is littered with exactly that kind of phrase, especially polite and professional communication. What do you do with things like 「貴社ますますご清栄のこととお慶び申し上げます」? Or even 「迷惑をかけます(が)」? What place do they have in an English translation, or do they have a place at all?




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    Of course, it depends on the context and how the phrases fit into the surrounding sentences, but if I can't translate it without an overly awkward result, I usually try to somehow include the meaning, and/or submit the job with a note in the comments. This does make translating snippets hard though, doesn't it? Bailey, what do you do?

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    I think you've hit it right on the head with context. Most of the time, these phrases are included because it's proper format and good manners, and to set the tone of the communication, but they do little or nothing in terms of actual meaning. It becomes really important to distinguish formalities from genuine apologies, for instance (申し訳ございません is of particular note, here--sometimes it's not a real apology at all!).

    When a phrase is obviously there because it's "supposed" to be, but doesn't add anything to the translation, I either gloss over but make sure my English is extra polite, or I work it in in a highly paraphrased fashion. "I trust this letter finds you [or your company] well" is a similarly mostly-contentless but common English formality, and I've used it before to replace a variety of openers. Flavors of 迷惑をかける usually turns into something like "If you could _____, I would be most appreciative," which is somewhere between a tone-paraphrase and an omission, I think.

    Again, just as you say, the take-home is really to be much more sensitive to tone and context than to the surface-level words.

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