Professional Japanese translation services


No-one could have predicted the meteoric rise with which Japan catapulted themselves to the forefront of business and manufacturing in the latter half of the 20th century, but the fact remains that Japan now has an important presence in the Western world. Making sure that translations both to and from the Japanese language are perfect is incredibly important.

The regional importance of Japan

As a large trading nation, and one of the largest economies in eastern Asia, Japan has significant regional importance, not just economically but also diplomatically. In some ways, Japan is seen as key to Western relations in Asia, both in politics and in business. Even China, seen in recent years as an increasingly important nation, has recently lost its top spot to Japan, signifying that investment in Japan still has a lot to offer those in the English speaking world. Even outside of Asia, Japan can count many major trade partners, such as the USA and the European Union, and following these lines of trade back to their source can be lucrative.

In order to do any of this, it’s important that you can communicate properly with potential business partners and that means making sure that your Japanese translation is spot-on, something that our native Japanese speakers have no trouble helping you with.

What to expect from Japanese translation services

Many people know that Japanese is written completely differently to English, but it’s also important to note that there is more than one Japanese script. You may want to use different writing styles to elicit different responses from the text.

Kanji is the most common form of Japanese text, and the majority of the time this is how you will see your translations rendered. Each kanji character represents a word and most words in Japanese can be rendered as kanji. Much like various English homographs, each kanji can be read multiple ways based on the surrounding context. Important in every language, context is even more vital in Japanese to avoid confusion.

Hiragana are symbols that are used to give inflection to words, and most often are paired with kanji rather than used on their own. Hiragana represent syllables or ‘sounds’ in the Japanese language, and so can also be used to simplify words that aren’t commonly represented as kanji, either because no kanji exists, or because it is very rare. Using hiragana for a word that is normally represented by kanji can give the text a more simplistic tone, suitable for children and colloquial writing styles, so you may want a word to be translated into hiragana rather than kanji for a different interpretation.

Katakana, much like hiragana, are symbols that each represent an individual syllable or sound. Katakana is mostly only used for foreign words, such as words that don’t exist natively in Japanese, names and loan words. In many ways, this makes katakana similar to a Japanese form of italics. It’s likely that your translation will therefore contain a few of these, whether for proper nouns or words that Japanese hasn’t yet translated out of English.

Traditionally, Japanese is read and written from the top right of a page in columns that lead the eye down, and then to the top of the next column on the left. However, Japanese can also be written left to right, like the English script, and the way in which your text is displayed is often largely based on format. Most frequently, your text will be transliterated in a left-to-right format.

Interesting facts about Japanese language

  • There are only 48 ‘sounds’ in the Japanese language, and many words that are translated into Japanese have to be adapted to fit these sounds;
  • The Japanese kanji script is based largely on Chinese, and like Chinese each kanji is unique, representing a different word or idea;
  • Aside from the script, Japanese is not usually considered to be related to any other language, meaning there is no outside source of reference for it;
  • Japanese is the second most common language spoken in Brazil.

Would you like to extend your influence in Asia with professional Japanese translations? Contact The Language Factory today on +44 (0)1727 862722 or email your enquiry to enquiries@thelanguagefactory.co.uk.

 

"As always, Caroline was extremely helpful in getting the text to the translators at short notice, which ensured the turnaround time was very good and our client was happy. Thanks again!"

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