6:46 PMTricky Japanese terms: 一応
一応 (ichiou) can be one of the harder words to deal with. I translate it as "technically" relatively often, as both terms are often used when a description is technically accurate but may not necessarily have any practical relevance. That's not exactly what the term means, though, and in some contexts it doesn't work at all.
The idea I get from both usage and dictionaries is that 一応 is typically used when someone or something is not ideal, but is good enough to deal with the task at hand, or is at the very least better than nothing: 「一応出来ました」 (It's finished, but I'm not confident of the quality). It can also be used when you're not sure something is necessary, but do it anyway just in case: 「一応傘を持って行く」 (I'll take an umbrella with me even though I'm not sure I'll actually need it). The key seems to be uncertainty in whether or not what you're commening on will actually be useful or relevant. The fact as presented is a fact, but there may not be any point to it.
So here are some examples, all from Ar tonelico 2 since I happen to have a lot of text from that handy.
It's also an unusually frequent term in the item synthesis scenes, which have a tendency to produce dubious results. "It's done... such as it is." Or, "I tried adding this neat feature to it, but who knows if it actually works the way it's supposed to." (it never does, but this never stops them from trying.)
Besides the brief but not always applicable "technically", possible corresponding phrases may include "for what it's worth", "such as it is", "on paper", "more or less", or "in a sense" when it's being used to indicate that a description may not be entirely adequate or relevant. For the case where something might not be necessary, "just in case" and "to be on the safe side" tend to work well.
It may help to note that 一応 was originally written 一往, which literally translates to "one journey". Perhaps the typical modern meaning relates to the idea of not being able to fully experience a destination in only a single visit, so you're effectively saying your understanding of the situation is incomplete.
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