Monday, October 12, 2009
Asian robe cards
I am making foreign language/culture cards for a local Christian college. It's been a very complicated endeavor. Translation is one challenge. I want to be sure of having the precisely right words, and translation sites can't be relied on for that.
Asian cards have been a particular challenge. For instance, Japanese has four "levels" of thank you, from informal to very formal. An elegant card with the most informal thank you would not work.Then there are culture or religious issues; certain symbols that just look like cool designs might actually have major significance. For example, a Chinese symbol that I really liked turned out to be the source of the Nazi swastika! I used to get frustrated with stamps that were labeled "Asian," instead of Chinese or Japanese. I finally learned that the reason for that was that certain symbols are shared by the two languages! I believe the term for those symbols is "Kanji."
Swahili has been another challenge; there are very few resources for it, and often the translations are not well explained. For instance, when I tried to find out how to say "happy birthday," I came up with a one word term, and a four word phrase! I finally learned that there evidently is no term for "Happy Birthday," so these were two congratulatory terms to substitute!
I also had difficulty finding stamp companies that sold Asian stamps. I had almost given up when I happened to look at the website Onyx Expressions for a different reason, and discovered they had a large number of Asian stamps, primarily Japanese. Shortly thereafter, I stumbled upon Stonehouse Stamps, which had very large number of Asian stamps, again, primarily Japanese. However, they had one sheet of Chinese stamps, and it is from those stamps that these cards were made. Although I occasionally set out to copy a card, by the time I finish I've come up with something entirely new. However, these cards really are very little changed from the samples I found here on the website.