Ridiculous English grammar for Japanese native:
"If the sky that we look upon should tumble and fall
or the mountain should crumble to the sea..."
What? What a strange way to use "should"! The explanation turns out to be that "should" in this case is a subjunctive form of the verb "shall". The subjunctive often ends up looking like the past tense, but can in fact be used for uncertainty, to bring up a fictional condition "If I were a millionaire", and to be polite. Native English speakers just aren't so aware of this tense because we know the grammar intuitively.
I got some helpful email about this: "This might not really explain where it came from, but Latin has what is called a 'historical present,' meaning they used the present tense for past actions in order to make the reader feel like they are in the story. A very prominent example of this use is almost all of Caesar's Gallic commentary. These 'historical present' verbs are usually translated into the past tense in English." I claim no wisdom about whether this is a related phenomenon, but I'll throw it out as a possibility.
Again, the explanation comes down to that subjunctive case. It can be used to soften language, and it looks like the past tense. Must be tough for non-native speakers.
But what about negative questions? For everyone except
us, this is straight forward. We say "isn't she?" ("Yes,
she is") and "aren't you?" ("Yes, you are"). By the same
logic, we should say, "am't I?"
But we don't say "am't." We say "aren't I?" I suppose the grammatically correct answer would be "Yes, I are." (Weird, huh?)
Actually the perfectly acceptable contraction of "am I not" used to be "ain't." However, some dialects started using "ain't" as a contraction for all sorts of things, like "is not" and "have not." This came to be regarded as rural and low-brow, which led to the abandonment of "ain't" altogether in mainstream English. Oops, then there was no contraction for "am I not"! So people invented "aren't." At first, this sounded weird, but at least it didn't sound low-brow according to thinking at the time. Over time, it came to be normal.
Things to consider when translating Japanese
Japanese text expansion and contraction
Because Japanese is a character based language it can vary wildly depending on the content of your original document. Documents translated from English into Japanese can expand anywhere between 20 and 60%. And Japanese to English translations will contract somewhere between 10 and 55% of course this depends on the subject of the text.