«This is the ambiguity I think you're talking about. While Tim's very informative answer is correct about some factors that help you select konna, sonna, or anna, the choice is always predicated on knowing enough about the overall context that the choice is pretty much decided for you. However, in this case, we don't have that extra context to work with.

The translator must select one, but which one? The determining factors that would ordinarily tell us which to choose have happened before Betty entered the room, and are outside of the narrative. Maybe Joshua McDougal had just taken a bite of a fish present in the room, in which case konna would work. Maybe someone else in the room just finished eating a fish and was crying because it was so good, and Joshua, seeing that person's expression, remarked on it, thus sonna would be right. Or, maybe in the room there is a painting on the wall depicting a fish being handed down to a chef from an angel descended from heaven, and, looking at the painting and commenting on it wryly, anna could fit.

My point is just that you, as an author in English, didn't have to wrangle with an exact decision on how it is that Joshua came to be saying that when Betty entered the room, because in English, "as that" stands alone as being a universal designation pointing at the deliciousness of the fish. Some fish, somewhere.

A translator almost certainly would avoid the problem altogether with an entirely different sentence structure. But, in keeping with the spirit of the question, let's assume the Japanese translator has to use one of the a・ko・so words, like the sentence you provide. In doing so, that translator has to choose some model of where delineations are of in-group, out-group, and external to both, for the context of the sentence.

Let's say that the translator asks her publisher boss to contact the author about what exactly Joshua meant, but you've never thought about it that much, because your story is about Betty, and that statement was just filler. So, you say it's okay for the translator to pick whichever one she likes. The translator rolls a dice and goes with sonna. Now, every Japanese person reading that translated book will think that Betty walked in on Joshua observing someone else eating fish, or something like that. An impression people didn't necessarily get with the English book.

It's a subtle, but extant, difference. In Japanese, everything(?) is assumed to have some relationship to a speaker and a listener, and that is built into the language.» 

@темы: gaikokugo