Learning Business Japanese as a Beginner II

More foreigners are doing business with Japan than ever before. Whether this is interaction with Japanese clients, working directly for a Japanese company, or working as an assistant language teacher in Japan, more and more people are getting involved with Japan. So language is becoming more and more important. You might not need to learn Japanese for work, but if you’re interacting with Japanese people it’s a good opportunity to learn if you want to. I think wanting to makes a huge impact to studying because it can be something enjoyable, a hobby if you will, rather than a chore. Many resources… Read More…

Learning Business Japanese as a Beginner I

More foreigners are doing business with Japan than ever before. Whether this is interaction with Japanese clients, working directly for a Japanese company, or working as an assistant language teacher in Japan, more and more people are getting involved with Japan. So language is becoming more and more important. You might not need to learn Japanese for work, but if you’re interacting with Japanese people it’s a good opportunity to learn if you want to. I think wanting to makes a huge impact to studying because it can be something enjoyable, a hobby if you will, rather than a chore. Many resources… Read More…

The Importance of Using Japanese

Do you find that no matter how much you study, no matter how many days in a row, how many hours you spend a day or points you rack up with apps like Memrise, that you don’t feel like you’re progressing? Maybe it’s because you’re studying Japanese but not using it? This blog covers the importance of using Japanese, now just studying it. In a previous post called Why Repetition is Important I talked about the importance of studying little and often, which focused on the practice of studying Japanese. In fact, most of J-Talk focuses on studying Japanese whether… Read More…

I’m Afraid of Kanji

I’ve noticed that lots of people want to start learning Japanese but the prospect of kanji is intimidating. A lot of people tell me they’re afraid of kanji, and don’t want to learn it! It’s not like hiragana and katakana which seems simple and phonetic. There are lots of lines and shapes, and the idea of having to memorize over 2000 is even more frightening. But you don’t have to be afraid of kanji, and once you start studying you might even find it fun!   Take Baby Steps No one’s saying to need to learn all 2000 in one… Read More…

All Games Should Be Localised Like Ni no Kuni

Translation & Localisation in Games One thing they never explained in my Theory and Practice of Translation MA, was that translation and localisation are two different things. In fact, the subject of localisation was never touched upon at all. Which in hindsight, was a missed opportunity for myself, the other students, and lecturers. How can you teach translation if you don’t cover localisation? It wasn’t until I played the game ‘Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch’ that I realized the importance of localisation, especially in video game translation. Now, some companies leave the translation and localisation entirely to the translator.… Read More…

How to Translate Japanese Accents

Translating the Japanese directly doesn’t always work, especially when you come across a character with a Japanese accent. This post looks at how to translate Japanese accents in manga, the kind of accents you’d come across and how best to translate it into an English accent. Many people want to translate manga but there is not much information on how to start translating manga. This series looks at different aspects of translating manga for beginners, with the aim of helping you be a great manga translation and improve the overall quality of manga translation online. Translating Manga for Beginners Part… Read More…

Soft Power and Translating Manga

The head of the Theory and Practice of Translation program for my MA was an elderly Chinese man who often made snide remarks about how translating manga wasn’t a “real” form of translation. A view I worry is often shared among professional translators. When the topic of manga comes up many people think of kids people, and never consider the adults that enjoy reading and working with manga translation. They often don’t consider the culture behind each page, the hard work that goes into translating it, or the implications manga can have on society’s perspective of Japan. They don’t think… Read More…

What Makes a Good Manga Translation?

You might think translating manga is just turning Japanese into English, but that’s not the case. A good manga translation is a lot more than that. Many people want to translate manga but there is not much information on how to start translating manga. This series looks at different aspects of translating manga for beginners, with the aim of helping you be a great manga translation and improve the overall quality of manga translation online. Translating Manga for Beginners Part 1: Resources Part 2: Translating SFX (Sound Effects) Part 3: Good Manga Translation Part 4: Translating Accents Part 5: Formatting Translations… Read More…

Translating Japanese SFX in Manga

Translating Japanese SFX in manga might seem really difficult at first as a beginner but it’s actually a lot easier than you’d think! Many people want to translate manga but there is not much information on how to start translating manga. This series looks at different aspects of translating manga for beginners, with the aim of helping you be a great manga translation and improve the overall quality of manga translation online. Translating Manga for Beginners Part 1: Resources Part 2: Translating SFX (Sound Effects) Part 3: Good Manga Translation Part 4: Translating Accents Part 5: Formatting Translations in Word Files… Read More…

Resources for Translating Manga for Beginners

Many people want to translate manga but there is not much information on how to start translating manga. This series looks at different aspects of translating manga for beginners, with the aim of helping you be a great manga translation and improve the overall quality of manga translation online. Translating Manga for Beginners Part 1: Resources Part 2: Translating SFX (Sound Effects) Part 3: Good Manga Translation Part 4: Translating Accents Part 5: Formatting Translations in Word Files   Manga Helpers Community This is a great website for people interested in manga, anime, light novels, and visual novels. But more importantly,… Read More…

Japan’s Lucky Poop – Dajare Puns and Culture

This week I wanted to look at Japan’s fascination with dajare (ダジャレ) or “wordplay/puns” and how their love for them has permeated itself into Japanese customs and media. (I’ve talked about Japanese humour before in Japanese Jokes for English Speakers.)   Japan’s Lucky Poop Dajare One of Japan’s most weird and iconic custom is poo. There is a weird obsession with it to the point where you can buy cute faced poop keychains, and golden poop statues at shrines. So why the poop? In Japanese poop can either be “unko” (うんこ) or “unchi” (うんち), however, “un” (うん) also means luck or… Read More…

JET Teaching in Japan

Many people interested in Japan are interested in moving there. Quite often that means an interest in teaching English in Japan either through JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) or another program. If you want to get a foot in the door to work in Japan, or to get better at Japanese I strongly suggest applying to JET or another teaching program in Japan. You don’t need any Japanese language experience or qualification either. I’ve asked a few current teachers for advice on their teaching programs, working in Japan, and advice for people interested in teaching in Japan.     1)… Read More…

Explanation for Being Away

大変失礼いたしました。 Apologies to everyone, this has been the longest I haven’t done anything with Japanese Talk Online and I wanted to explain why I’ve been afk for so long. Basically I did an MA in Translation last year, which was so-so. But after I’d finished my exams I decided to try the JLPT N1. I studied intensively everyday for about 2 months and after the exam was over my brain just went on shut down. I didn’t want to touch Japanese and haven’t since the beginning of July. Which, I know is very bad and hypocritical of me. Because of… Read More…

Birthdays in Japan

It was Japanese Talk Onlines 2nd Birthday this week (4th October to be exact)!!! 誕生日おめでとう!!! To celebrate we’re going to talk about how people celebrate their birthdays in Japan as they’re very difference compared to the West. The idea of celebrating the anniversary of one’s birth with a party, cake, family and friends, in the way that we understand it, is a very Western idea. You may have noticed watching J-drama or anime, that when a person celebrates their birthday Happy Birthday is sung. This might not seem that strange but when you think about it, this is a VERY… Read More…

Lessons Learnt as a Beginner Translator

Lessons Learnt as a Beginner Translator

Happy International Translation Day! Yes, September 30th is International Translation Day, a day when people all over the world celebrate translation in all its glory. A quick look on Wikipedia reveals that this has been going on since 1953 and always falls on the 30th September the day of the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator who is considered the patron saint of translators. As I am only new to industry I felt like sharing my lessons learnt as a beginner translator. These are mostly from mistakes I’ve made over the last year rather than from my MA in Translation,… Read More…

Japanese Weather Reports

Japanese Weather

This post covers Japanese weather reports, providing you with a vocabulary list of weather and verbs to practice. If you watch the news in Japan then the weather report will be shown, and although you can guess what’s being said based on what’s being shown it helps a lot to understand it. This post does cover very basic weather vocabulary which might be had with average Japanese people, but it focuses more on intermediate and advanced vocabulary and sentences used in Japanese weather reports. In How to Read Japanese Newspapers we covered what to expect from newspaper articles but also useful tools like Rikai-chan… Read More…

Japanese Idioms & Proverbs

A Japanese friend visited me a few weeks ago and I as showed her around London the topic of idioms came up. I was helping her with her English and I mentioned “the grass is always greener on the other side” which does have an equivalent phrase in Japanese. So I’d like to discuss some of the m ore useful phrases you might want to use when meeting Japanese people or when travelling in Japan. I know there are a few other sites that talk about these (I’ll link them at the bottom), but I asked a friend for ones that… Read More…

A Simple Way to Start Speaking Japanese

It’s a bit overwhelming to know where to start when learning Japanese. I already posted Japanese – Where to Start which has advice on learning hiragana and katakana, and Japanese – Where to Start II which covers what to do next. So once you know the alphabet and some vocabulary, how do you start speaking Japanese?  Practice the following 3 steps regularly (even at advanced levels) and you will find yourself getting better and better in no time!     1. Speak Japanese This one might seem a bit obvious, but when you’re reading Japanese, any Japanese, read it out loud. This can… Read More…

Studying Japanese In Japan

Studying Japanese in Japan

One of the best experiences anyone can do is studying Japanese in Japan. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a week or two, a month, a year, or more. If you’re interested in learning Japanese and Japan then going to the country is the best way to do it. The following are tips and some suggestions for going to Japan for different periods of time. These are for all ages, whether you’re in your teens in school or in your 40s and working, it’s never too late to go out to Japan for any length of time.   How to… Read More…

JLPT N3 – Study Methods and Resources

A long time ago I talked about taking the JLPT, but I felt like I was a bit vague when it came to beginners as there aren’t actually that many specific text books for the lower levels because there are plenty of others that cover the basics of Japanese. As a result I wrote this post on taking the JLPT N5 and another for JLPT N4 with what the exam is, resources and study methods (which is why the  posts are very similar, and by very similar I mean practically identical but with the links updated and text changed slightly). This guide is exactly… Read More…

Translation for Beginners – Japanese Translation Agencies

I previously mentioned my studies as an MA student doing translation at SOAS in London. The biggest disappointment has been the lack of vocational information, in other words, useful information for working in the real world, such as with Japanese translation agencies (or agencies in general). There is a large focus on the academic side when 95% of the students are unlikely to become academics. I attended a free Q&A recently with a translation agency in London (who dealt with a variety of languages) who are finding it hard to get good translators. Their Q&A sessions was a way to… Read More…

Tips for When You Take the JLPT N1

The JLPT N1 is said to be an incredibly difficult exam even with years of studying under your belt, and a lot of it has to do with how good you are at exams rather than Japanese. I wrote previously about studying for the JLPT N1 and I even mentioned some other blogs which provide their own advice for studying for the exam. I’ve looked online but there are not many tips for taking the exam itself. So although many of you are probably masters of the exam by this point, here are some tips and tricks you can use when… Read More…

Tips for Studying for the JLPT N1

For those that probably aren’t aware, I took the JLPT N1 exam a few weeks ago (July 2015). This was the first time I’ve taken the exam. I took the N2 in July 2013 in Japan and managed to scrape by it. I felt like I was significantly better prepared for this exam compared to the N2 and yet felt like the N1 had decided to clean house and use my face as the mob. It was painful. Whether I failed or managed to skim a pass I won’t know until September. But either way I plan on re-taking the… Read More…

Review of MA in Theory and Practice of Translation, SOAS

  For the past year, from September 2014 until September 2015, I have been doing an MA in the Theory and Practice of Translation (Japanese) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. (Updated 2016) My decision to do this had always been a Plan B as SOAS is seen to be a very prestigious school and there are not many Japanese translation courses in the UK. And due to reasons, my decision and application to the school was a bit of a rush job (done in just 3 days). I had looked at the program in… Read More…

Try! JLPT Grammar Book

The 「Try! 日本語能力試験   文法から伸ばす日本語」or “Try! JLPT – Studying Japanese from Grammar” is the best Japanese grammar book I have ever used for learning JLPT grammar. I mentioned before that grammar is my weakness. I am so bad at grammar, partially because I don’t know English grammar (terms, I know how to use it naturally), and partially because I find it difficult and boring to practice. HOWEVER, this is the first time I’ve actually understood Japanese grammar and enjoyed learning them! Try! is a fairly new series of grammar books published in 2014, so unlike Nihongo Somatome and Shin Kanzen… Read More…

JLPT – Hitting the Wall

With only two and a half weeks before the JLPT for July 2015 some of you may be feeling a number of things. Stress, anxiety, boredom. Keeping yourself motivated is something I’ve written about in the past but I feel like at this point it would help to go over some points, and bring forth some new ones specifically for the JLPT.   First of all DON’T PANIC You’re probably behind schedule and have found another 100 things or more that you need to study, but first thing is not to panic. Panicking causes stress and anxiety which begins to interfere… Read More…

Learning Japanese Radicals

Radicals (or in Japanese, ぶしゅ 部首) are the roots which kanji are made up of. Every single kanji in the Japanese language has at least one radical. Now you can get by without learning these radicals, but when you begin learning similar kanji it begins to get difficult to distinguish the differences between them, and you will wish you had at least a basic understanding of radicals.   For example – 3 kanji (all N4 level): The following kanji all have the radical for 寺 in them (on the right), which means “temple”. But each one has a different starting… Read More…

How to Read Japanese Newspapers

Being able to read Japanese newspapers is considered to be one goal for becoming “fluent” in Japanese. For some it might be a sign of fluency, for others a challenge, and perhaps a few just enjoy reading the news and keeping up-to-date with what’s going on in Japan. This post looks at the difficulties of reading Japanese Newspapers and highlights things to keep an eye out for. As well as suggestions for further readings and other resources to help you become a Japanese newspaper master. Rikkai-kun doing its stuff One magical tool which will be useful for reading the following… Read More…

Being “Fluent” In Japanese

“What does it mean to be fluent in Japanese?”   When I tell people I speak Japanese they often ask “are you fluent?” to which I often reply “no, not yet”. Yet I’ve been thinking more about this question, and realised that what you define as “fluent” can vary from person to person.  According to Google the definition for “fluent” is: 1. able to express oneself easily and articulately. 2. smoothly graceful and effortless. I mentioned before on the Why Repetition is Important post, that to me getting to the point where you can do something without even thinking about it, is fluent.… Read More…