Complete guide - Japanese translators and translation

Have you ever thought about becoming a Japanese translator? Work with it professionally? Have you 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 it comes to Japanese translation, the subject seems endless. 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 have made a comprehensive guide talking about translators and Japanese language translation.

Introduction - Why talk about translation?

For some time I was translating some words in Japanese with the help of Google Translator and I realized 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 to say that Japanese leads you to not rely entirely on 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 follow up with a Dictionary Online.

Some might think we are implying that the Japanese language is too difficult. In reality it is the opposite, the Japanese language is so simple that it is impossible to translate from English to Japanese or from Japanese to English 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 that 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 there were no more texts with these words. The language is believed to have undergone huge changes during its history.

At the Heian period (794 and 1185), Chinese considerably influenced the vocabulary and phonology of ancient Japanese. Between 1185 and 1600, medium 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 registered.

These language loans have increased significantly after the isolation of the Edo period it ended, around 1853. English language loans in particular became frequent and then words from Japanese of foreign origin proliferated.

Complete guide - Japanese translators and translation

Japanese Language Features

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

In Japanese, the word order is normally subject-object-verb, different from English, which is subject-verb-object. Particles mark the grammatical function of words and the sentence structure is topic-commentary. Final sentence particles are also used to add additional impact whether emotional or emphatic, and also to ask questions.

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

Japanese also uses Chinese characters, or kanji, extensively in their writing system even though they have no genetic relationship between them. And much of the Japanese vocabulary is borrowed from Chinese.

Along with the 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, however, has limited use, as for imported acronyms. The numeral system uses Arabic numbers as well as traditional Chinese numbers.

Complete guide - Japanese translators and translation

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

Automatic Japanese translation: This translation is often imprecise, especially when dealing with English 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-assisted translation (CAT): When a professional translator uses software help to speed up the translation service, but makes all possible changes and corrections.

Literal translation: A translation that comes close to the maximum of 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 English using synonyms or expressions that make more sense in our language. This is very common in the Japanese language, where the literal translation never makes so 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 day-to-day management.

Business 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. Commercial translations often require specialized translators with knowledge of the terminology used in business. world.

Computer Assisted Translations - Individuals and companies often use free translation tools offered online to translate phrases or documents. Behind the online translation tool, a software program analyzes the text according to predefined language 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 the 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 of a high level (sometimes called layman terms). In general translation, there is no specific terminology or technique used. Although they are simpler, they are usually not yet 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 specialization in the translating language, but also needs a legal understanding and an excellent understanding of the source and destination 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 medication 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 on. It can translate websites, articles, books, spreadsheets and many other information, prices and profits can vary widely from one service to another.

There are also numerous translation tools and methods used to work in this area. During 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 tips that are quite obvious for those who want to enter this market.

In the article, we are not going to address spas like translation prices 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 to Become a Translator

Translate texts: although it is obvious that to master a language it is necessary to have a lot of practice, there are people who with just a few texts will become experts in the language. I honestly do not study Japanese but English, and although I have already translated several light novels, I think I am nowhere near 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 already translated in its original version and try to translate, then compare it with the version already translated.

Ask for opinions: it is no use just translating and comparing, as they say, your translations are not made for you. You need to ask for opinion from other people being translators and mainly people who are lay people on the subject.

Look for good tools: things like translators are not entirely effective, despite having a good rate with other languages. However, in languages such as Japanese, its effectiveness declines considerably, 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 broad tool and can be used to study and even work. Currently there are 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.
Branch of professional translation

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

Complete guide - Japanese translators and translation

Active terminology recognition (ATR) tools

These tools automatically analyze the texts in format 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 those known terms equivalent to the database.

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 (for example, strings) in bitexts (that is, original texts and their translations that have been aligned and 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 find, study and compare various occurrences of the string and to identify and / or evaluate potential translations of lexical units, phrases or even structures.

Complete guide - Japanese translators and translation

Bitext Aligners

These are used to create bitexts (that is, to divide original texts (source) and their translations (target texts) into smaller segments and then correspond to the source and destination segments). These tools generally work at a sentence level and correspond to 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 offer functions to help users correct the alignment manually.

Bitexts can be used to assist in the analysis of technical translations and 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 put together to assist users in studying the language and its use. They are generally designed to provide a representative sample that provides an overview of a particular type of language (for example, in a specific region, field or text type record).

These collections of text can help users determine lexical units that are generally used or combined. Corpora are usually searched using monolingual concordants (for example, in the case of monolingual or comparable corpora) or bilingual concordances (in the case of parallel corpora, also called the bitext corpora).

Electronic dictionaries

Electronic dictionaries are becoming increasingly popular alternatives to traditional paper dictionaries. These resources, which can be monolingual, bilingual or multilingual, can be available on CD-ROM or online. They often offer 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, although also generally available online, generally 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 - Japanese translators and 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. Since the task usually 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 workflow management, 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

Automatic 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 more often involved in revising (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 they use) or 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 the original texts can be carefully prepared to be easily translated by the system (for example, clarifying ambiguous expressions, using phrases), 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 imitate the ways in which humans process language (for example, grammatical rules), while others operate using statistical probabilities or taking examples of previously translated text as models. Just as human translators can produce different versions of a target text, so will different TM systems. It is important not to mix the MT short form for machine translation with TM, which means memory translation.

Complete guide - Japanese translators and translation

Monolingual concordants

Monolingual concordants are computational tools that assist in corpora analysis. They are mainly used to find and display occurrences of strings (that is, strings) in corpora. They usually offer advanced search features (for example, Boolean operators, wildcards).

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

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

Office Tools

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 best-known search engine on the Internet is Google, although there are others (including Yahoo !, Alta Vista and Search engines analyze the content of web pages and create lists of occurrences of word forms found on pages or their URLs, in the information that web page creators provide about their pages (the metadata of the pages) 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 (for example, Dogpile), performs searches on multiple search engines at once and synthesizes the results.

Complete guide - Japanese translators and translation

Terms banks

Term banks are resources that aid research in 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 (for example, 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 texts in electronic format 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 real terms contained in the text can be neglected, while some candidates that are not terms can be proposed. Therefore, the output of a term extractor must be verified by a language professional.

Terminology management systems

Terminology management systems (TMSs) are tools similar to the generic database and management systems, but which are specifically designed to assist translators and other language professionals in the storage and management of terminological data (for example, terms, equivalents, domains, definitions, contexts and sources).

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 usually suggest or even impose 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 generally an alternative to more powerful tools than the more general Office tools (for example, table, spreadsheet or database documents) for storing terminology. Another advantage is that TMSs can sometimes work in conjunction 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 forward banks (which are generally products across the organization or even public or commercial).

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 they also generally include bitext aligners, terminology management systems, term extractors, active terminology recognition tools, and bilingual and / or multilingual concordance functions, among other tools .

Complete guide - Japanese translators and translation

Translation memory systems

Translation memory (TM) systems are designed to save time and effort to translate documents containing repetitions (internal, within the same text or external, into other similar documents).

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

Most TM systems link directly to text editors (for example, 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 in which 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 of previous human translations, while MT systems perform translations automatically and most often rely on humans to edit after the fact. Although these two types of tools can be integrated in some translation processes or even in a single translation environment, they work in very different ways.

Web Tools

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

Complete guide - Japanese translators and translation

Word processors

Word processors are software programs that help users to insert, edit, format and save text documents. Most also offer additional functions that can help translators, writers and reviewers to compare or review documents, to save information in different formats or layouts (for example, 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?

It will depend exclusively on you, which path will you choose? I just laid the path, but I can't choose for you. At the most I can only wish you luck and ask that whatever the way, you have to do your best.

This article is over, guys. 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 so far. Until the next article.

Share This Article: