Why it is important to correct translate japanese names into English

japanese translate name
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translating names in japanese

Translating Names

The translation is critical in every walk of life, but there are certain aspects of languages that cannot be translated. Some writers and translators think that poetry cannot be translated accurately. It is one of many things that are not easier to convert into another language. However, to make things understandable for speakers of different languages, translation is a must, making it challenging to translate Japanese names into English.

A name is an integral part of a person’s identity. It is not just something you can use to call someone; it also becomes their identity on their documents. Without a name, a person will have no identity. In the world of translation, names often become a problem. Translators are taught to leave proper names alone. But then there come the exceptions. For instance, if a literary text is being translated, the foreign names would not be relatable to the target audience. So, should a translator change the names in a book to more relatable names? There are no rules to guide linguistic experts regarding these matters.

Latin/no Latin-based tongues

There are many names, especially Christian, that have different spellings in each Latin-based tongue. That means they can be translated into various vernaculars and retain their meaning at the same time. But when it comes to non-Latin-based languages, the situation gets a bit complicated. When it comes to such vernaculars, transliteration works better than translation.

Transliteration makes it easier for people to pronounce a foreign name correctly. It also eliminates the need for the translation of names.

translating japanese names
japanese translator names

Rules of Transliteration:

Transliteration can be very helpful in translations. But it cannot work if the translators don’t know anything about the process of transliteration. Although it can be challenging to keep up with all the rules of translation and transliteration, it is essential to understand them if you want to do your job correctly. Here’s how transliteration works for names:

  • The romanization of every language is done differently. As a result, writing names in the Latin alphabet alone will not help the readers pronounce them.
  • When transliterating, the right guide should be followed. The translator should be familiar with the romanization criteria of the native tongue. If they don’t understand the pronunciation guide, they will not be able to transliterate names accurately.
  • Transliteration is not very helpful when the target audience is unfamiliar with the romanization rules. If an English speaker cannot read the name of a Chinese person even after it is transliterated, then it won’t be helpful to them.

Why Is It Important to Correct Translate Kanji Names into English?

Nihongo is an East Asian vernacular that is spoken by 128 million people. It has three writing systems. Kanji is the writing system for this vernacular based on Chinese characters. Other than kanji, katakana and hiragana scripts are also used for writing this tongue. Although the translation of this language can seem to be a complex process, it is possible for translators. When it comes to names, it is essential to use the correct method. If you don’t translate the name of a Japanese person accurately into English, you will be proving to them that you don’t care about their identity.

Multiple options are available if you want to translate names into English. You can easily find a Japanese name converter online and use it to get the transliteration you require. But these converters only work best if you need to translate a name from English into Modern Japanese. For translations in reverse, the best option for you is to learn the Roma-ji method. You are not supposed to mix dictionary lookup and your knowledge of the language to translate the meaning of a name. You can easily transliterate it so it can be pronounced correctly.

The Romaji method is commonly known as Hepburn romanization or the Hepburn system. It is the method that is used all over the country. The vast majority of the people with their names in Kanji use this system to write their words in English. The system is also perfect for translators. They can learn how to transliterate names into English with the help of the Hepburn system. It also makes things easier for the people who are living in English-speaking countries and want others to pronounce their common names correctly.

japanese translate name
japanese name translation meaning

To Translate or Not to Translate?

Whenever you are faced with the ultimate dilemma as a translator, it’s best to focus on the source text. If you won’t be hurting the feelings of a living person by translating their name, or you won’t be changing the context of the document, it is entirely okay to translate a name. However, if you do plan on translating a name, make sure you know its correct meaning. The internet has far too many websites that offer incorrect meanings of familiar names. If you plan to do something, do it right.

And if you decide to leave the familiar names as they are, it is best to use transliteration. The process will make the reading of the document somewhat easier for your audience. You can’t send in a document to your audience in China that has English names on it. If Japanese people can’t read a foreign vernacular, they won’t be able to pronounce the common words either. So, always think of the context of the document and your target audience when you can’t decide whether or not you should translate common names.

5 Tips on Japanese Translation

1. Select the most suitable tone of politeness

The three primary tones of politeness in Japanese are normal, polite, and honorific. Even in the business environment, the tone employed when speaking to a customer (honorific) vs. a coworker (polite) can differ significantly (the honorific tone involves prefixes and suffixes added to certain words and unique conjugations of verbs). Generally, the more intimate your relationship or time spent getting to know someone, the more casual your tone can be (hence, the most informal Japanese is generally used among family and friends). Making the best first impression with your translated content into Japanese requires choosing the tone that best suits your target audience. Choosing a respectful tone is sometimes the first step in translating something into Japanese.

2. Consider the use of kanji vs. katakana vs. English script

Three different character sets are used in Japanese: hiragana, which is used for vocabulary and grammar patterns that have been acquired from Chinese; kanji, which can replace or be combined with some hiragana; and katakana (used for foreign words and names, onomatopoeia, scientific or technical terms, and occasionally for emphasis). Some words are better left in English when translating into Japanese (e.g., company or product names such as Apple or iPhone). When translating words into Japanese, it may be preferable to use kanji, katakana, or perhaps a combination of the two.

3. Use centered dots or spaces as word separators

There are frequently no gaps between words in Japanese (double-byte spaces are generally used after commas and periods to indicate a break in a sentence or the end of a sentence). It can be challenging to distinguish between Japanese words when translating them using a string of extended katakana terms. Because of this, each word may be separated by a single-byte (“half-width”) space or a centered dot (nakaguro). Consider the katakana spelling of the terms “console” and “application” in the Japanese version of the phrase “console application”:

  • No separation: コンソールアプリケーション
  • Centered dot: コンソール・アプリケーション
  • Single-byte space: コンソール アプリケーション

4. Maintain clean glossaries and translation memories

Maintaining consistency in Japanese translations requires the use of clean glossaries and translation memory. Remember that a word’s or sentence’s Japanese translation can vary depending on the formality of the tone and script employed (kanji, katakana, etc.). The word “Reference ID,” for instance, can be translated as “ID” (katakana), “ID” (kanji), or left in English as “Reference ID”; nonetheless, the most appropriate translation should be used consistently over the period. Thus, it makes sense to keep translation memory and Japanese glossaries current.

5. Plan for several rounds of review

Japanese critics have a reputation for being extremely strict. Compared to other languages, Japanese reviewers tend to be more critical of translations and offer more thorough input. It would be sage to plan for multiple rounds of evaluation because of this. Consider the time needed for “back and forth” with reviewers to ensure that Japanese translations are flawless while arranging for Japanese translation.

It may even be a good idea to plan and get ready for a project beforehand (e.g., give translators style manuals, feedback from previous reviewers on similar translations, and contextual materials); in some cases, taking extra time before the project begins can reduce the amount of time needed for review and the number of rounds of review. Since excellent Japanese translations are ultimately the goal, Japanese corporations tend to favor this proactive approach.

The Best Japanese-English Translation Apps

There are many great Japanese-English translation apps available, but there are a few that stand out above the rest. These apps are accurate, user-friendly, and affordable, making them the perfect choice for anyone looking for a reliable translation tool.

Google Translate

One of the best Japanese-English translation apps is Google Translate. This app is known for its accuracy, with users often finding that it produces translations very close to the original Japanese text. Google Translate is also very user-friendly, with a simple interface that makes it easy to input text and get results. Finally, the app is affordable, with a free version that offers basic features and a paid version that unlocks more advanced features.

Microsoft Translator

Another great Japanese-English translation app is Microsoft Translator. This app also offers accurate translations, with a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to get started. Microsoft Translator also provides a variety of features, including the ability to save translations, share them with others, and even use them offline. The app also has a free version, making it an excellent option for those on a budget.


A portable, quick voice translation device is called Pocketalk. It uses artificial intelligence-powered vocal bidirectional translation provided by cloud-based translation engines. It can interpret lengthy and complex sentences and is intended for face-to-face talks. It has a touchscreen, two microphones, and noise-canceling headphones that make it possible to translate in noisy settings. Additionally, a text transcription of discussions is shown.


There are many translation apps available that can translate Japanese to English and vice versa. Some of these apps are designed specifically for translating Japanese, while others are more general. While there is no perfect app for translating Japanese, there are several that can be pretty helpful in translating basic phrases and sentences.

Recent advances in technology have led to the development of many new translation tools, including Google Translate. While Google Translate can be helpful for some purposes, it is not always accurate. This is especially true for languages that are more difficult to translate, such as Japanese. When translating Japanese, it is essential to keep in mind that Google Translate is not always accurate and should not be relied on for crucial translations.

There are many translation apps available that can translate Japanese to English and vice versa. Some of these apps are designed specifically for translating Japanese, while others are more general. While there is no perfect app for translating Japanese, there are several that can be pretty helpful in translating basic phrases and sentences.

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