English to Japanese

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Some points to watch out for when translating from English to Japanese.

  • Don't expect perfection.
If your native language is not Japanese in the first place your Japanese is not likely to be as good as a native's even after years of study. This is why most translators translate into their native language.
  • Don't overdo pronouns.
Use of pronouns 私, 僕, あなた, etc are less common in Japanese than in English. They tend to use names more or ommit them all together were possible. Overuse of pronouns is one sure sign that some text has been translated from English.
  • Translate from Meaning to Meaning not from Word to Word.
Literal word-for-word translation is known as 直訳 and it's not a good thing. Instead of working out what each English word 'translates' to think of the meaning of the whole sentence and then try to write a natural Japanese sentence that would be used in the same situation. Ideally you should do this not just sentence by sentence but for the text as a whole.
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