Complete Guide – Japanese Translators and Translation

Have you ever thought about becoming a Japanese translator? Work with it professionally? Ever wondered how to do this without being fluent in the language, or just as a hobby in order to end procrastination and delve deeper into the Japanese language? What types of translation are there? Is it reliable to use google translation?

When we talk about Japanese translation, the subject seems to have no end. It can refer to the simple task of automatically translating a sentence, interpreting a conversation or doing a complete translation of a book or website. In this article we made a complete guide talking about translators and Japanese language translation.

Introduction - Why talk about translation?

Some time ago I was translating some Japanese words with the help of Google Translator and I noticed that the translation is not 100% correct most of the time. And it's not a question of the translator being bad, it's just some eccentricities that the language has.

This is basically saying that Japanese makes you not completely trust translation tools like online translators, including Google Translator. For this reason, if you have to translate some text from Japanese, it is best to always accompany with a Dictionary Online.

Some might think that we are implying that the Japanese language is very difficult. In fact, the opposite is true, the Japanese language is so simple that it is impossible to translate from Portuguese to Japanese or from Japanese to Portuguese automatically using Google translator.

The History of the Japanese Language

As they say, know yourself and you will know your enemy. So before we take sides, saying things like japanese is complicated or it's hard to learn Japanese and stuff like that, let's learn a little more about this language.

Very little is known about the prehistory of the Japanese language, but Chinese documents had records of some words of this language around the 3rd century, but until the 8th century no more texts were recorded with these words. It is believed that the language has undergone gigantic changes during its history.

No Heian period (794 and 1185), Chinese considerably influenced the vocabulary and phonology of Old Japanese. Between 1185 and 1600, the middle period, in the last years of this period the Japanese added changes in the characteristics that approached the modern Japanese and also in this period that the first performance of European loans was recorded.

These linguistic borrowings increased significantly after the isolation of the Edo period ended, around 1853. Borrowings from the English language in particular became frequent and so Japanese words of foreign origin proliferated.

Complete guide - translators and Japanese translation

Features of the Japanese Language

In order not to leave it vague, I will put some characteristics of the Japanese language. I will not cite particularities of any dialect of Japanese, I will only cite the generalizing characteristics that comprise the entire language.

In Japanese, the word order is subject-object-verb, unlike Portuguese, which is subject-verb-object. Particles mark the grammatical function of words and the sentence structure is topic-comment. Final sentence particles are also used to add additional impact be it emotional or emphatic, and also to ask questions.

Nouns have no grammatical number or gender and there are no articles. Verbs are conjugated primarily for tense and voice, but not for person. And as we know, Japan has a well-structured honors system that is used to demarcate the relative status of dialogue participants.

Japanese also extensively uses Chinese characters, or kanji, in their writing system even though they are not genetically related. And a large part of Japanese vocabulary is borrowed from Chinese.

Along with Kanji, the Japanese language writing system uses two syllabic scripts, Hiragana (ひらがな or 平仮名) and katakana (カタカナ or 片仮名). The Latin script has its use in a limited way, as for imported acronyms. The numeral system uses Arabic numbers as well as traditional Chinese numbers.

Complete guide - translators and Japanese translation

The artigo is still half finished, but we recommend opening it to read the following later:

Types of Japanese Translation

Before we talk about translation and translators, we need to know the types of translations that exist and their different sectors:

Professional translation from Japanese: This translation is usually slow and done by a professional fluent in the language and sometimes with documentation that proves their professional skills.

Automatic translation from Japanese: This translation is often inaccurate, especially when dealing with Portuguese into Japanese. Programs like Google Translate cannot identify linguistic aspects and translate everything literally. There are more professional software used by companies, but without human monitoring it is impossible.

Computer Aided Translation (CAT): When a professional translator uses software help to streamline the translation service, but makes all possible changes and corrections.

Literal translation: A translation that is as close as possible to what is written in the Japanese language. A type of translation that requires less time and skill and can be done with the help of programs.

interpretive translation – When we try to adapt the text to Portuguese using synonyms or expressions that make more sense in our language. This is very common in the Japanese language, where literal translation never makes much sense to us.

Administrative Translation – This term refers to the translation of administrative text – a very broad term. For translation, it refers to the common terms and texts used in companies and organizations that they use in their day to day administration.

Commercial Translation – Sometimes called commercial translation, commercial translation covers any type of document used in the business world, such as letters, company accounts, tender documents, annual reports, etc. Business translations often require specialized translators with knowledge of the terminology used in the business. world.

Computer Aided Translations – Individuals and companies often turn to free translation tools offered online to translate sentences or documents. Behind the online translation tool, a software program analyzes the text according to predefined linguistic rules and reconstructs the text in a different language according to the corresponding rules of the target language. They do not produce a perfect copy of text sent in another language.
A free translation service or online translation tool can never replace a human translator and should only be used when you want to translate text written in a foreign language into your native language or a language you understand.

computer translation – refers to translations of anything related to computers, such as software, instructions, and help files.

Financial Translation – For the financial industries, financial translation is the translation of texts of a financial nature, such as banks, stocks, commodities and investment funds.

General Translation – General translations are less complicated and the language used is not high-level (sometimes called lay terms). In general translation, there is no specific terminology or technique used. Although they are simpler, they are usually still not suitable for using a free translation tool.

Legal Translation – Legal translations require highly trained translators as they involve the translation of legal documents such as statutes, contracts and treaties. The translator not only needs expertise in the translating language, but also needs a legal understanding and an excellent understanding of the source and target cultures.

Literary Translation – A literary translation is the translation of novels, poems and plays. A literary translator must also be able to translate feelings, cultural nuances, humor and other subtle elements of the literary work.

Medical Translation – Medical translations are also highly complex and involve the translation of medical packaging, textbooks, medical equipment manuals and drug labeling. Specialization is required.

How to become a Japanese translator?

Being a translator is not an easy task, there are several areas that a Japanese translator can work in. It can translate websites, articles, books, spreadsheets and lots of other information, prices and profits can vary greatly from one service to the next.

There are also numerous translation tools and methods used to work in this area. In the course of the article we will talk about many of them, but first I will leave a video of a friend talking about Japanese translation and then a sequence of somewhat obvious tips for those who want to enter this market.

In the article we are not going to discuss terms such as translation price or service layout, we are just going to talk about the systems, tools and methods used. The video is there to answer these other questions about the translation business.

Tips for becoming a Translator

translate texts: although it is obvious that mastering a language requires a lot of practice, there are people who with just a few texts will become experts in the language. I honestly don't study Japanese but English, and despite having translated several light novels, I don't think I'm even close to reaching the advanced level.

Compare translations: translated the texts? Great, now find out if this text has already been translated and compare them. A good way to do this is to take a book that has already been translated into its original version and try to translate it, then compare it to the already translated version.

ask for opinions: it's no use just translating and comparing, as they say, your translations are not made for you. You need to ask other people's opinion as translators and especially people who are laymen on the subject.

Look for good tools: Things like translators aren't entirely effective, despite having a good rate with other languages. However, in languages such as Japanese, its effectiveness drops significantly, so it is advisable to use dictionaries. But if you prefer these tools, I advise you to use more than one or two to resolve any doubts.

Technology: Your Smartphone is not just for accessing social networks, playing games, watching videos or other utilities. It is a comprehensive tool and can be used to study and even work. There are currently several dictionaries and digital translators for the device.

Audio content: writing is not enough, it is also necessary to be able to understand speech. For that, things like music, movies, anime or the like are incredibly useful.
Professional translation branch

Now that you've received some tips, let's get to know the tools and methods used for translation.

Complete guide - translators and Japanese translation

Active Terminology Recognition (ATR) tools

These tools automatically analyze formatted text to identify occurrences of terms or other items in that text that are also present in a terminology database.

When they identify occurrences of known terms, they can highlight them in the text, propose equivalents stored in the database for insertion into the text by the user, or automatically replace occurrences of these known terms with database equivalents.

ATR tools must be combined with a terminology base (usually stored in a terminology management system) and are often translation memory systems.

Vocabulary translators – bilingual concordants

Bilingual concordants allow users to search for occurrences of strings (e.g. strings) in bittexts (i.e. source texts and their translations that have been aligned and are displayed side by side or one above the other).

They generally allow users to search in one or both languages and offer advanced search capabilities. These tools can help users to find, study and compare multiple occurrences of the string and to identify and/or evaluate potential translations of lexical units, phrases, phrases or even structures.

Complete guide - translators and Japanese translation

Bitext aligners

These are used to create bittexts (i.e. to split source texts (source) and their translations (target texts) into smaller segments and then match the source and target segments). These tools usually work at a sentence level and match sentences according to their relative length, their place in the text, and sometimes their content.

Since these formal criteria and the nature of the texts do not always allow perfect alignment, most tools also provide functions to help users correct the alignment manually.

Bitexts can be used to help analyze translations and technical translations; they can be searched using bilingual concordances and are also the starting point for creating translation memories (cf. the entry for translation memory systems).


These are collections of electronic texts that have been assembled to assist users in studying the language and its use. They are usually designed to provide a representative sample that provides an overview of a given language type (for example, in a specific region, field, or text type record).

These text collections can help users determine which lexical units are commonly used or combined. Corpora are usually searched using monolingual concordants (e.g. in the case of monolingual or comparable corpora) or bilingual concordances (in the case of parallel corpora, also called the corpora of bittexts).

electronic dictionaries

Electronic dictionaries are becoming increasingly popular alternatives to traditional paper dictionaries. These resources, which may be monolingual, bilingual or multilingual, may be available on CD-ROM or online. They often provide quick, easy, and flexible access to the content of dictionary entries to help translators and other users find the information they need.

It is important not to confuse these dictionaries with the term banks, which, while also generally available online, often have different purposes and organization. It is also important to note that not all electronic dictionaries are of the same quality; It is particularly important to be cautious when using free online dictionaries.

Complete guide - translators and Japanese translation

localization tools

Localization tools are a task that involves translating and adapting a web page, software application, or other product for a particular linguistic and cultural community. As the task often involves working with complex computer coding, many participants are often involved in the process.

Various localization tools have been created to assist translators and other localization professionals in managing the complexities of the task (including managing the workflow, providing accurate word counts and estimates, separating the textual components to be translated from the computer code that must be preserved, and management of terminology and previously translated texts or versions of texts).

In addition to dedicated localization tools, translation memory systems and terminology management systems are very useful for many localization projects.

machine translation systems

Machine translation (MT) systems are different from all the other tools described so far because instead of helping a human translator or a language professional in their work, MT systems take care of the entire text translation process. However, this does not mean that language professionals do not have a role to play.

When MT systems are used, humans are most often involved in reviewing (called post-editing) the target text produced by the MT system to ensure that it is correct and suitable for its intended use. In some cases, humans can also adjust the way the MT system works (for example, by adding or modifying the dictionaries it uses) or by preparing documents in such a way that they can be translated as successfully as possible by the system (called pre -edition).

MT systems are most useful when source texts can be carefully prepared to be easily translated by the system (e.g., clarifying ambiguous expressions, using sentences), and/or when the target text is only intended to aid understanding (and not , for example, for publication). There are different underlying techniques used by MT systems.

Some try to mimic the ways in which humans process language (eg grammar rules), while others operate using statistical probabilities or taking examples from previously translated text as models. Just as human translators can produce different versions of a target text, so will different MT systems. It is important not to mix the short form MT for machine translation with TM, which stands for translation memory.

Complete guide - translators and Japanese translation

monolingual concordants

Monolingual concordants are computational tools that aid in corpora analysis. They are mainly used to find and display occurrences of strings (i.e. strings) in corpora. They often offer advanced search capabilities (eg Boolean operators, wildcards).

Some present the retrieved hits in keywords-in-context (KWIC), which displays each hit on a separate line, with the string character the user searched for displayed in the center. This presentation is designed to make comparing multiple occurrences easier and more efficient, particularly as most tools also allow occurrences to be sorted using various criteria.

Analyzing string occurrences can help users assess how words and phrases are used. Many concordances also offer additional corpus analysis functions (for example, it can make lists of all word forms present in corpora and their frequencies, to help identify particularly pertinent items in a collection of texts).

office tools

The Microsoft Office Suite offers several software applications to help with tasks such as creating, editing and managing presentations (PowerPoint), spreadsheets (Excel) and databases (Access). Translators, writers, and proofreaders can use these tools to access documents for translation and to store and manage terminology, customer information, and other data. Teachers may be interested in using these tools to prepare lectures or conference presentations, to store research data, or to calculate grades.

search engines

The most well-known Internet search engine is Google, although there are others (including Yahoo!, Alta Vista, and Search engines analyze the content of web pages and create hit lists of word forms found on pages or their URLs, on the information that web page creators provide about their pages (the page's metadata) or in links to pages .

This analysis facilitates and speeds up online research using keywords. Search engines also use sophisticated calculations to rank search results in an attempt to present the pages most likely to be useful to a user at the top of the results list.

Many search engines also offer several specialized search functions, and each search engine has its own particular syntax that must be learned to optimize searches. A different type of search tool, called a meta search engine (eg Dogpile), performs searches across multiple search engines at once and synthesizes the results.

Complete guide - translators and Japanese translation

term banks

Term banks are resources that aid in searching for terms used in specialized language, and are particularly useful, for example, for specialized and technical translation and technical writing.

Typically bilingual or multilingual, term banks are collections of term records, that is, highly structured entries in databases that store data about concepts that are important in specialized fields (e.g. terms, their equivalents in other languages, definitions, contexts, sources and observations).

This concept-based structure and specialized guidance differentiates term banks from most electronic dictionaries, which are generally organized by lexical item.

term extractors

Term extractors are computational tools that analyze text in electronic form and identify candidate terms (that is, lexical units that appear to be terms in a specific domain). Term extractors use a variety of methods to find candidate terms, all of which call based on formal criteria such as frequency analysis or word combination structures.

Note that this automated software does not produce perfect results. Some actual terms contained in the text may be overlooked, while some candidates that are not terms may be proposed. Therefore, the output of an extractor term must be verified by a language professional.

terminology management systems

Terminology Management Systems (TMSs) are tools similar to generic database and management systems, but which are specifically designed to assist translators and other language professionals in storing and managing terminological data (e.g., terms, equivalents, domains, definitions, contexts and sources).

The TMSs allow users to create, store, manage and search their own term records for items that they think will be useful in future work. They often suggest or even enforce record structures to help users store various types of terminological data, and they also offer a number of search functions to help users find the records they need quickly and easily.

TMSs are often a more powerful alternative to more general Office tools (eg table documents, spreadsheets or databases) for storing terminology. Another advantage is that TMSs can sometimes work together with an active terminology recognition tool and/or translation memory system as part of a larger translation environment.

It is important to note the difference between TMSs (typically used to store personal records or records for a reasonably small group of users) and term banks (which are generally organization-wide or even public or commercial products.

translation environments

Term used to refer to systems that include several different translator tools in an integrated package. These environments are usually centralized translation memory systems or similar tools, but often also include bitext aligners, terminology management systems, term extractors, active terminology recognition tools, and bilingual and/or multilingual agreement functions, among other tools. .

Complete guide - translators and Japanese translation

Translation memory systems

Translation memory (TM) systems are designed to save time and effort when translating documents that contain repetitions (internal, within the same text, or external, in other similar documents).

TM systems store text segments that have been translated, along with their translations, usually in a type of database called a translation memory. (These corresponding segments, sometimes called translation units, can be created automatically as a user translates, or can be assembled using an existing font and the target texts combined using a bitextu aligner.)

Most TM systems link directly to text editors (e.g. word processors) so they can be used while a translator is working on a translation as he normally would. When a translator is working on a text where a segment is similar or identical to one that has already been translated, the TM system can automatically suggest the previous translation for reuse.

The translator can then decide whether this translation is appropriate for use in the new text. If so, he or she can just insert it into the new translation or edit it as needed and insert it. If the suggestion is not appropriate, the translator can simply reject it and translate it himself.

TM should not be confused with machines

translation systems (MT); translation memories allow humans to recycle segments from previous human translations, while MT systems perform translations automatically and most often rely on humans to edit after the fact. While these two types of tools can be integrated into some translation processes or even into a single translation environment, they work in very different ways.

web tools

The web tools category is general, including various types of useful tools for language professionals that can be used online. Some of them are hard to fit into classic tool classes. Others are more general tools that, however, can be useful to translators and others in the language industry.

Complete guide - translators and Japanese translation

word processors

Word processors are software programs that help users enter, edit, format and save text documents. Most also offer additional functions that can help translators, writers, and proofreaders to compare or proofread documents, to save information in different formats or layouts (eg, as tables), and to convert files to different file formats.

Translation memory systems and other translation tools often interact with word processors to provide assistance to translators directly in the word processor environment.

And now? What should I do?

This will depend exclusively on you, which path will you choose? I just laid out the paths, but I can't choose for you. In the most I can only wish you good luck and ask that whatever the way, you have to try your best.

This article is over, folks. If you have any questions, suggestions or criticisms, just comment below. And keep an eye on the site, we are always posting new articles. Thank you, my dear reader, for reading this article this far. Until the next article.

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