ノート ≠ Note

Google Image searches confirm that “note” and “ノート” are extremely different objects, but I prefer my own photos:

ノート = 

note  = 

The Death Note series never really bothered me until just now. It’s a crime that the translator left it as “Note,” when they easily could have replaced every instance of “Death Note” with “Death Notebook” and made the whole thing far more accurate.

Just another reminder to remain vigilant in the battle against linguistic reverse culture shock – otherwise known as mistranslating loan words. Past inequalites have included パンツ ≠ Pants, バイク ≠ bike, じゃがいも ≠ ポテト, クリーム ≠ cream, ジュース ≠ juice, except when ジュース = juice, ストーヴ ≠ stove, and カメラマン ≠ cameraman.

11 thoughts on “ノート ≠ Note

  1. It might be the fact that I’ve heard the phrase “Death Note” for so long and before I started learning Japanese, the inaccuracy doesn’t bother me too much. It’s short and sweet; packs a punch. Of course if it had been Death Notebook the whole time, I probably wouldn’t think that way. And I don’t even have to check google images to know that your photos are better.

    That’s hilarious about the khaki pants, I never knew that.

  2. Problem is that “Death Note” is a nice two-syllable phrase — there was already a bunch of nicely balanced romaji art too. You could always argue that although it’s actually a death notebook, you use it to write death notes.

    What really aroused controversy with that translation was whether to translate the (anti-)hero’s name as Light or Raito. Seriously.

  3. And then you’ve got interesting situations where グラス is the thing you drink out of and ガラス the stuff windows are made out of. I wonder how that happened.

  4. Yeah, “Death Note” is definitely punchy, but every time I hear it, I just imagine my junior high school students saying, “This is a note.” Uggg. I want to brain that translator with one of my Starbucks mugs.

  5. It drives me nuts every time the shopping center in front of the nearest station announces, 「自転車及びバイクで来られているお客様は駐輪場をお使いください。」Those customers who have come by [pedal] bike or by [motor] bike, please use the parking area for two-wheeled vehicles.

  6. Actually, the ending might have been more along the lines of 「お使いになりますよう、お客様のご協力をお願い申し上げます。」敬語 is not my strong suit.