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wow. amazing how much effort went into translating this from english to japanese back to english.

i'm wondering why they didn't just use the word for asshole (like the one directly below your spine). i'm sure they have a word for that. and that's all the english word really is--we're talking about the "person" that's really a place where "nothing but shit comes out."

Vanessa Bloomsburg

Given that the katakana has been used for the word "iya," this gives it the connotation of being used as an exclamation. When "iya" is used as an exclamation, it is usually better translated as "awful" "gross!" or just "eww!" While "nasty" is a good translation, it just doesn't have the force of the exclamation.

If it were written in a different script it would translate better as "inappropriate" or "undesirable." The general meaning is anything or anyone that you just don't want to be around or deal with.


"Iya na yatsu" is probably as good a translation as possible. A professional translator who has native-language fluency in both languages (and who hadn't read the book) commented: "the title they used is very japanese-y somehow ... it makes it sound like a book of anecdotes and/or how to deal with them on a personal level".

The dictionary translation of "iya" is: disagreeable, detestable, unpleasant.

As for "baka" (fool/idiot) -- there's another word "aho" that means about the same thing; but which word is more of an insult depends on whether you live near Tokyo or Osaka. They're also both the kind of word you'd use for "you stupid idiot!" after a truck almost runs you over (and they have stronger variants).

Christine Yokoi

I'm Japanese/American & lived in Japan 20 years & have done lots of translation (but with a lot of struggle ;-)).

In Japanese, there are not really swear words ("dirty" words) that are used in everyday situations. So you often see/hear the word "baka" being used as a translation for the many colorful variations of swear words we have in English, in movies & TV.

I'd say this whole title translates quite closely to "the jerk in your workplace," and comes at least closer than using "baka" which literally means stupid and can but doesn't always mean jerk. I don't think there is a Japanese word that means or has the same connotation as "asshole." (So you need to insult people in other ways if you're speaking in Japanese ;-) )

There are other interesting considerations that have seemingly gone into this translation, which involve the selection of the characters used for the words (it is possible to write the same phrase using different sets of characters, such as Chinese characters, or different versions of the Japanese phonetic alphabet) -- which will nuance the impact (visual interpretation by readers) of the phrase.

For example, the selection of katakana (phonetic Japanese often used to represent foreign words) for the Japanese word 'iya' (translated by others here as 'nasty') tends to emphasize it within the title.

Tom salmon

The previous reader's use of "cringe" for "iya" is a good one. Just to add - it is often used for something you want to avoid. Children (like mine) will often use this when, for instance, you turn off the Power Ranger video in the middle because it's time for dinner.
"Yatsu" is a slightly duragatory word for "person", and "guy" is close, but there is no gender attached to the word in Japanese (although it's probably used for guys more often).
There are much stronger words in Japanese, but using them might make it a bit difficult to get your book on the shelves in Japan.

Richard Durnall

I'm familiar with the term Baka from Toyota. They used to use the term Baka-Yoke which I understand translated to idiot-proof (I don't speak Japanese). They had to change it to Poke-Yoke, which I believe is error-proof, as staff objected to the term idiot (Baka).

This probably tells you that Baka is a good choice. Just slightly offensive to make your point!

Kuniaki Takahashi

I want to know the right japanese word for "asshole", because we do not call a person this way, but I somehow sense that "iya na yatsu" might have more intentions to be a jerk while asshole do not really know what he is doing.


Bakka means silly,stupid,incompetent
they don't have any bad intent.
Iya na yatsu do have bad intentions and can be quite smart.


あなたの職場のイヤな奴 is the text for copy and paste (you could use it on the right side of your webpage as well).
`anata no shokuba no iya na yatsu' is how it reads.

roughly: `your workplace's nasty guy'

and that's how it translates directly (using Jim Breen's dictionary ):

* あなた (n) (1) the other; the other side; (2) there; yonder; that; (hum) you; dear (what a wife calls a husband); KD
* 職場 【しょくば】 (n) one's post; place of work; workplace; (P); EP
* イヤ (n) (1) ear; ED
[ear is definitely wrong here, I'd use nasty. as iya is the pronunciation, it was interpreted as ear, I guess]
* 奴 【やっこ; やつ】 (やっこ) (n) servant; fellow; (やつ) (n) (vulg) fellow; guy; chap; SP

sorry, my mother tongue is neither English nor Japanese...

I'm looking forward to seeing it in local stores.

bakka means idiot and not AH.
I guess, they decided that AH might be too vulgar)

Daniel Fath

Excellent! Glad to see the translation has finally been released. "Iyana-yatsu" seems to be a good choice. I usually think of "iyana" as meaning "something that makes me cringe". "Bilious" is the translation offered by Space ARC (Japanese language school).

As for "yatsu", I use this for "jerk" or "S.O.B."

The plural would be "iyana-yatsura".

Since Japan has more than it's fair share of assholes, this should be a best seller.

Bob Sutton


Thanks! And if anyone else can add any nuances, I would love to hear them.


Adam Brock

I asked one of my co-workers to translate the text. She said it roughly means "Your workplace's annoying guy", except more derogatory. She said the "guy" word doesn't really translate into English, but it can be made into the English word of asshole.


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