|Yes, I'm drinking sake in a yukata with Suehiro president Inokichi Shinjo|
Translation is not a problem for European wines because English and other European languages are related. French used to say "terroir" doesn't translate well, but there are reams of English written about "terroir," and most of us get it.
But Japanese doesn't share any European roots and is prone to terrible and sometimes funny translations, as anyone who has ever rented a car or used a public toilet in Japan knows. I have a sweatshirt that reads "Relax body We are all prostitutes," and even though I speak Japanese I'm not sure what the original sentiment was there.
However, our desire to explain sake with wine terms has led to picking some wrong winners from the sake world -- and shunning some good sakes. Here are three examples.
1. "Nigori" does not mean "unfiltered"
2. "Honjozo" does not mean "fortified"
3. "Genshu" does not mean "cask strength"