Why Japanese To English Translation Is Difficult Even For Experts?

For western translators, Japanese is known as one of the most difficult languages to translate since it possesses many complexities. The Japanese writing system and grammatical structure are two things that often face a dead-end during the translation because of the difficulties to generate the equivalent English words. In Japanese to English translation, the cultural differences also make some components feel irrelevant for western culture.

From time to time, translators are often getting confused to find the right essence in order to attain equivalency between the two languages. There are several details that need extra precautions of any translators, rookie or expert, who are working in these language pairs.

Japanese Kanji

Japanese is an official language of Japan that has an official writing system called Kanji. Kanji writing system is not relying on a different set of alphabets to convey a certain sound or meaning like the Latin or Arabic alphabet systems. It belongs to the ideograms family which meaning depends on the different strokes and placements (graphic symbols) that look very complex and difficult. The different style of writing makes Kanji possess thousands of characters making it only relevant for native people who really understand the cultural context that built their meaning’s association.

Understanding Japanese Nuances

Cultural nuance is one that needs extra attention from which the accuracy to the context could be attained. Especially in Japanese culture where language is divided into several degrees of politeness, cultural nuance should deliver the original intention so that the translators must also convey this to the target language. This cultural nuance is the hardest part in Japanese to English translation because it is not deliverable or hard to be applied in another language context that has different cultural values.

Grammatical incompatibility

Japanese is not only having a different alphabet system but it also has a different style of grammar with the English grammar system. Some differences are such as different structures which puts the verb at the end of the sentence, meaningless particles that provide the text a sense of nuances, the use of different honorifics to show a different level of formality and politeness. The hardest part of this is when the addressing does not have an equal translation. The Japanese cultural politeness is shown in many respectful ways.

Non-Literal Translation

Accommodating the global approach to deal with diversity, Japanese to English translation seems compatible with the non-direct translation. The translation process will be much more complex which process can involve several steps. In easy language pairs, translators might only need to break down to do the semantic analysis and transformation. Meanwhile, the Japanese to English translation needs more than one process of breaking down and retransforming. There are other aspects like a cultural nuance that need extra consideration so that the translation will be accurate and correct.

The non-literal translation is used to capture the content instead of pertaining to the form. This method will need someone or some people who have equal bilingual knowledge and skill. The translation of this language pairs is even longer since there is usually a double-check for error and mistranslation.

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