Waking to Another Sky Ch2 bit – Translation Problems

Hammond firmly sat on the desire to curse out some of the Japanese officials responsible for blocking any and all attempts to make Midori Kirigaya an offer. By their lights, the SGC had kidnapped several thousand Japanese citizens, they wanted their people back, and anything they could do to make one General Hammond’s job harder was icing on the cake.

It’d taken him several unpleasant weeks and a truckload of bureaucratic bothering-by-the-book even to find out what the problem was. So far as he’d known, the SAO Incident Taskforce had been advised, the Japanese government had given them the green light, and Thor had transported everyone on schedule. What was the problem?

Not every translator is Dr. Jackson. Unfortunately.

Worse, among the twenty-odd languages Daniel did speak, Japanese wasn’t one of them. The SGC’s offer to move the patients for better care had, apparently, gone through. The reply that had come back – he’d tracked down the original text and three separate translators to be sure – had been translated as, That could be a little difficult.

What it meant was, No.

Or more frankly, Hell no, no way, get out of here, thank you so much for understanding.

But by the time he’d figured that out… well. What was he supposed to do, call the Supreme Commander of the Asgard fleets and say oops, please put them back? They’d already had a few deaths from moving the SAO victims once. How could he risk more lives?

Not to mention, Thor was the Supreme Commander of fleets currently in a slugging match against the System Lords and the Replicators. The odds of the Asgard being able to divert another ship to Earth for anything less than life-threatening emergencies were vanishingly low.

There were reasons for the antacids in his desk.


27 thoughts on “Waking to Another Sky Ch2 bit – Translation Problems

  1. Ouch… I translate English to ASL and there are plenty of errors that can crop up there. And I’d be pretty furious too, I was wondering how the players got from Japan to Colorado.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ouch. Yet completely understandable translation mistake. Though it makes me wonder what translators they had access to, as far as I know, they are normally trained to put in notes instead of just direct translations.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was tossing this back and forth with someone who does translate Japanese back when I first roughed this out. To quote Kryal, “Given that the SGC is very much a hidden operation and probably don’t have Japanese translators on staff… the response likely got routed through someone with fifty other documents on their desk.”

      Because bureaucracy. And penny-pinching. It’s canon that the SGC has to keep fighting for their funding. You suddenly need a Japanese translator? Pffft.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And the messages may have traveled through a different chain of translators each time, some of which may have been new hires. Japanese intelligence may well have picked up on Kayaba’s NID connections, in which case they wouldn’t necessarily know the degree to which the NID is separate from the SGC.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I imagine the Japanese government has been poking around the mountain a good deal and has been asking some very uncomfortable questions that the US really doesn’t want to answer.

    And said not-answers are only making the Japanese even more suspicious.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Said questions are also part of what Kayaba was aiming for. If you’re familiar with SG canon, then you know by this point in time the UN Security Council is in the know about the Stargate.

      …Now think of what five nations are on the Council. And how interactions with two of them in particular’s hit Japan, historically.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I’m sure Russia and China were just chomping at the bit to give Japan information!
        ……I couldn’t even type that with a straight face. The Chinese must find this whole situation hilarious

        Liked by 2 people

      2. >Not so much, I think. It’s very likely the Chinese are furious. Or they will be, once they realize what Kayaba really pulled off.>
        I suspect the other countries will be rather miffed as well. ‘Allies’ or not, countries like being on the top of the heap.

        And while you’ve been good at keeping it under your hat, I can see two aspects of what Kayaba has ‘given’ Japan in the form of the SAO players.

        1. It will allow Japan to become much more competitive with the other countries when it comes to the Stargate, alien/advanced technology, something of that sense.
        2 It’s something that the other countries will not be able to develop/possess without Japan and/or the player’s assistance.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. >*G* Hammond’s figuring out some things along those lines, yep.>
        And he has to be the one to inform the president about this mess. Oy vey.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Wait, they didn’t tell the Japanese even after they were already telling the Russians and Chinese?

        SNAFU is too charitable. The historic parallels that come to mind would probably require supporting political and historic arguments.

        If the SGC were not darker than a well at midnight with a new moon, there already would have been resignations. Which wouldn’t have fixed relations with Japan, but might’ve slowed down them getting worse.

        Also, if this is in early November, it will be cold in Colorado. Probably too cold for the players to be wandering around without cold weather gear, which perhaps isn’t already on hand. Especially if a storm drops a foot or so of snow.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. > And he has to be the one to inform the president about this mess. Oy vey.

        …that’s going to go SWIMMINGLY I can just tell. As mentioned these are Japanese players and the fact that other than the possibility that those Marines Janet mentioned are US military personal from one of the military bases? The US doesn’t have whatever advantage the SAO project has instilled in the players. The fact that Kirito could shatter that sink like that after coming out from a two year long effective coma…

        Jack and Hammond are good people and they would go up in flames at the mere suggestion of turning the SAO players into a ‘super soldier program’…but you KNOW its going to come up with talk with the president. If not from the President himself then other advisers like the NID, the Trust etc. The fact that the ‘super soldiers’ in question aren’t even US citizens is going to mean jack squat to those people…and the fact that they would unleash a REALLY ANNOYED group of cleaners on them? oh boy.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. >Wait, they didn’t tell the Japanese even after they were already telling the Russians and Chinese?>
        The United Nations Security Council has five permanent members: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

        The remaining ten are elected by the United Nations General Assembly every October for staggered two-year terms on a regional basis: three members from Africa, two from Asia, two from Latin America, two from the “Western European and Others Group” (which contains Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel), and one from Eastern Europe.

        It is apparently in 2003 where the permanent members of the UN Security Council hold a meeting convened by the United States and Russia to disclose the existence of the Stargate program and to gauge the reactions from the neighboring countries. This was in season six.

        The problem is this plays fast and loose with the timeline a bit. In chapter one the events of an SG1 season three episode (A Hundred Days) was indicated to have happened about a year ago. And season three seems to have been set mostly in 2000.

        Though our Crossover Queen has mentioned AU aspects on both sides of the cross here. So presumably here the US and Russia got the bright idea of actually telling people about this mess sooner.

        Of course we have no idea if the temporary members have been told yet in this timeline. My guess is they haven’t.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I think I’ve mentioned my theory that China and Russia aren’t necessarily less of a threat than the Goa’uld.

        In RL, I’m at least sympathetic to the argument that Russia has Poland’s seat, and China Taiwan’s.

        Many of the reasons to keep the Gate a secret from allied governments are so to better hide it from China and Russia in order to gain an advantage against them.

        Those don’t apply here.

        Elements of the US government colluded with a man who killed thousands of Japanese nationals.

        The US government could have come clean with the Japanese government immediately, but did not because of a secret program that they’ve revealed to Russia. (Okay, yeah, written over a dozen years ago, so the information suggesting that they’ve been using the Islamic terrorists as a proxy against the US isn’t admissible. My apologies for letting hindsight too much color my thinking.)

        Then elements of the US government kidnap thousands of people who happen to be evidence of the first matter.

        Now they are maybe kinda giving the impression they are trying to brazen it out.

        The US has an interest in not turning Japan into an enemy.

        That said, as you say, this might be anywhere from 2000 to 2024. I am probably making the mistake of interpreting SG verse and WTAS verse history and politics as being similar to or the same as ours. Their Russia might have had a different post Soviet trajectory than ours (I’m skeptical, the Russian intrigue culture apparently goes back to the Eastern Roman Empire). If the 2020s, their US-Japanese relations may not have had the developments ours did. Yeah, when I think about it, I am definitely making that mistake, and probably should not.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Doesn’t Kirito’s Dad work in the US? It might be easier to contact him – although that depends on what kind of offer Hammond is trying to make Midori and why.

    I wonder whether the deaths were from moving the players to Colorado, indirectly related, or just coincidental – the results of in-game choices. With no way of knowing, the SGC would blame themselves. But wasn’t the NID in charge of the hospital at first, when the players were moved there? I’m confused…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Not every translator is Dr. Jackson. Unfortunately.

    Most unfortunate.

    Through it would be nice if more of them remembered that it is not just the words when you are translating. There is context, and to actually translate something so everyone is on the same page, you also need to have a good grasp on the culture. Because not everything is outright said. This is true of ANY LANGUAGE.

    Sounds like their translators understood the words but didn’t understand the culture. Or they didn’t add the notes or the notes got lost somewhere between point A and point B.

    Because anyone knowledgeable about Japanese culture could have them that one of the first things to learn is they don’t always just say “No” when they mean no. Especially if saying no outright might cause someone to lose face.

    In those situations, you don’t just say no (that’s rude), you say something that everyone knows means no but allows everyone to accept that no without anyone losing face.

    So by ignoring that, you have demonstrated yourself to be ignorant (because you didn’t realize that means no when it was pretty obvious), rude (because you ignore the no), and arrogant (because you apparently think you can get away with ignoring their no and ask for more from them . . .)

    Also, while it was technically possible to do this kidnapping with planes, if just barely, I bet someone in the Japanese government started picking up the distinct odor of BS from that point forward. And the smell has only gotten stronger.

    So you are rude, arrogant, foreign kidnappers giving them the mushroom treatment . . .

    Okay, I know the translation errors were not Hammond’s fault but I can fully understand why they are going put through bureaucratic hell – I do the same thing in their position.

    Liked by 3 people

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