This is fun?

I was looking for ways to improve my Japanese for the terrifying test I'm going to take this year, and found Nihongolist:

"The Nihongo list is a group of people, at the intermediate level, studying the Japanese language and English language together. Some of the list subscribers are Japanese people studying English and translation. Other subscribers are non-Japanese working on Japanese language skills."

Okay, fine, that's good. I mean, don't we all want to improve our skills? Sure. But it doesn't sound as simple as using a practice book and memorizing words or phrases:

They "have started doing weekly translations, just for fun and practice, of one pre-selected newspaper article, out of newspapers such as the Nikkei and the Asahi...Each member of the group works individually on translating each Japanese article into English, and then submits her/his work to the group coordinator, by email, before the weekly due date."

That's right--they translate articles FOR FUN. Translating Japanese is difficult enough, but to do it for fun, just to learn?

Sure, I've translated articles in my spare time, but that was for a public audience--I think hundreds of people have read them. That's fun. But reading Japanese articles (which are already difficult because you're constantly assaulted by kanji and quirky phrases) and then trying to convert all that into normal English takes a lot of energy and time.

Believe me, I've done a lot of Japanese translations. At the end of a session I'm ready to drain my brain. There's no room to think or worry about anything else because it flies out the window due to the effort that is required to conquer Japanese and make it understandable to an English reader.

So, bottom line, translating Japanese into English hardly sounds like an enjoyable way to pass the Japanese Proficiency Test. Nor practical.

(By the way, if you want to have fun with Latin and Greek, they have a list for that too.)

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