翻訳. This site does not provide a translation service. However, questions about translation are welcome provided that they have some academic merit. For example, questions about translating uncommon words, phrases that have different meanings in different contexts, and other non-trivial topics.

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Why does someone intend to die in this JLPT question?

This is a question in my JLPT practise book: 手遅{ておく}れかもしれないが、死{し}んだ__になってやれば、間{ま}に合{あ}うかもしれない。 A もの B わけ C つもり D はず None of the answers made sense to me, so I didn't even choose one. The ...
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What is the purpose of the suffix “さ” on adjectives?

What is the purpose of the suffix "さ" on adjectives like 美しさ and 多さ? The former is the title of an essay by Banana Yoshimoto, so I don't have much context for it. The book editors translated it as "...
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Heaven in Japanese

I have found that there are a number of words in Japanese that correspond to "heaven" in English. By heaven I mean the concept of a paradisiacal afterlife. The two most frequent in my limited and ...
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Can 対 be used in Japanese where “Versus” would be used in English?

Let's say you were comparing/contrasting two concepts e.g. in a title of an essay/article. Concept A vs. Concept B - Which is Better? The above is just an example. Can 対 be used? Also, how ...
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440 views

Likely Sentences (Nuance in use of 〜てもらう vs Passive form)

Our professor gave us some problems where you are suppose to circle which statement the person is more likely to say. Below is an example. おまわりさん よく道を聞かれます。 よく道を聞いてもらいます。 I think this means ...
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800 views

Meaning behind adding 'め' after someone's name?

I've come across this once or twice where people will say someone's name and then add 'め' in an irritable/victorious tone [e.g: ヒカルめ, マコトめ, etc.], but I've yet to find a textbook example explaining ...
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740 views

Translation of 「そんなことない」

What is a correct translation for 「そんなことない」 and when can it be used? I understand the "this is wrong"/"this is not correct" general sense but is this considered either as harsh or a gentle way of ...
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610 views

Use of になります in the context of time

While attempting to translate the sentence "It will soon be two years since I started learning Japanese", I started wondering how になります works in the context of time. Ignoring any other translation ...
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137 views

Help understanding these uses of 「取っぱらい」

Yet another sentence in a taiko performer's memoirs that I can't quite grasp... 総ての枠を全部取っぱらって、というのはやっぱり難しいけれど、投銭興行でやったのも一つの取っぱらいだった。 I know 「取っぱらう」means "to throw away" or "set aside", etc. The ...
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506 views

Understanding the abbreviated labels on a Japanese driving license

I'm attempting to write a guide to understanding what is written on a Japanese Driving License for Wikipedia, but I've reached the limit of my reading comprehension abilities. Here's a labelled image ...
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456 views

What is this crazy guy shouting?

Note: I understand the risk that this question might be considered "too localized". However, my hope in asking isn't just to translate this one instance, but to use it as an exploration of how and why ...
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1answer
161 views

Expressing “the nth person to 〜”

I would like to express the following in Japanese: You are the third person to ask me that. You were the first person to greet me yesterday. If I attempt to translate, I end up with: ...
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415 views

How to parse 親も辞書を買ってやったかいがあるってもんだ

親も辞書を買ってやったかいがあるってもんだよ The context is that speaker (a child) is trying to find the meaning of a word and asks her friend if she can borrow a dictionary. The friend ridicules her. She brushes aside ...
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I wish I hadn't gone there

I would like to translate this pattern "I wish I had/hadn't done XXX", precisely within this context: I went somewhere and I wish I actually hadn't. I could come up with: 行かなければ良かったです Whereas ...
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745 views

Usage of と at the end of a sentence

I'm having trouble translating this sentence from a manga. A guy who's already dead is talking to another. He says: 私を殺したあの時と And then the next page, it's only this speech bubble: 何一つ I would have ...
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428 views

understanding hōgejaku — an archaic imperative?

I would like to understand this Zen calligraphy:                          &...
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383 views

How should “イモ” be translated?

With regard to translating "イモ", having the listener imagine the image and flavour of the vegetable is infinitely more useful than merely a convenient translation. I have seen "イモ" translated as "...
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603 views

Adnominalisation (Relative clause - noun - copula structure): What does it mean? How can we translate it?

I have two examples of this structure which does not obviously correspond to a pattern in English although it is quite common. I'd like to know what it means, why it is used and how it should be ...
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239 views

Does バラの寝床 come directly from the English expression “bed of roses”?

I came across this phrase in a Haruki Murakami short story, and I was wondering if this is just a literal translation of the English phrase? I tried googling the Japanese phrase, but I could only ...
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4answers
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How to say “Nobody is perfect” in Japanese

I'm wondering how to say "nobody is perfect" in Japanese. Would 「完全な人いない」 be a correct translation?
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“That's my train”

How should I say "that's my train" (when waiting at a station)? My guess would be: これはしんかんせんです。 I'm pretty much a total beginner so simpler expressions are preferred!
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839 views

What does ワソマソ mean?

I'm trying to translate some of the signs in the anime FLCL, and I came across this sign on the side of a train in the first episode: ワソマソ 出入口 The second part means "doorway", correct? But what ...
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274 views

How to translate rows and columns

I am trying to translate the GUI of a simple memory game from English to Japanese. I want to the user to be able to choose how many rows and columns there should be in the memory game. For a 2x3 ...
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Can kanji-heavy Japanese be easily translated into Chinese?

How much is changed or lost in translating (say) an old Japanese text that's mainly written in kanji into hanzi? How does it compare to translating into a completely foreign language like English? I'm ...
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What does 花つ月 mean?

緋【あか】色【いろ】の花【はな】つ月【づき】 I'm trying to figure out the meaning for this part of kanji in a title for a series. The red flower month? The red flower moon? The month of blossoming red flowers? I'm ...
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454 views

Verb + うる form. What is this?

Can't really understand this form: I've seen already this form with 考える and translated it like this: 考えうることだ - conceivable (possible) However how do you translate with other verbs? is this ...
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639 views

How to say “open Pandora's box” in Japanese?

How to say "open Pandora's box" in Japanese? Ex.: When I asked Jane about her problems, I didn't know I had opened Pandora's box. What kind of Pandora's box do we open if we decide not ...
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447 views

what does どことなくつかみどころがなくmean?

I came across this phrase in the sentence: 勘【かん】というものは、しょちゅう経験【けいけん】していながら、どことなくつかみどころがなく、いまの科学【かがく】ではまだその正体【しょうたい】が、明らか【あきらか】にされていない。(Soumatome N1 dokkai, p45) My best effort to translate it ...
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508 views

What does ぉ character mean in のぉ?

Can somebody explain the purpose of ぉ character in the end of the following sentence? What part of speech can be assigned to ぉ ? Can the ending の be glued up with ぉ? アドビにうまいことやられたのぉ。
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672 views

Use of こそ. What words is it replacing here?

OK , so I am a huge fan of Kill la Kill, and I looked up how to say "Fear is Freedom, Control is Release, Contradiction is Truth". The whole line in Japanese is: 「恐怖こそ自由!君臨こそ解放!矛盾こそ真理!それがこの世界の真実だ!...
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201 views

Meaning of 「なぜでもだ」

I've been watching 7th episode of Aldnoah Zero S2, and stumbled across a part I couldn't completely understand - なぜでもだ. If I'm understanding correctly スレイン is saying something like "Don't give me your ...
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〜しては is this a grammar pattern?

I was trying to translate this sentence: 僕はアルバイトしてはレコードばかり買っていたから、一日半働けばLP一枚買えるな、と思って働いていた。 I think I get the overall meaning as: Because I spent all my wages on records I went to work thinking "If ...
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362 views

What is this English doing in the middle of my Japanese?

Note: I understand this question is on the edge of being off topic. I'll accept the community assessement if enough people feel that is the case. I'm reading 脳{のう}は0.1秒{びょう}で恋{こい}をする by 茂木{もぎ}健一郎{...
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160 views

Difference between 友達出来た vs 友達を作った

I was watching a movie where a guy was texting his friend. One of the text messages he sent was 「友達出来た?」 The subtitles translated it to be "Made any new friends?" From the context of the movie the ...
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How is 空気を読む translated into English?

I've often seen 'read the air' (literal translation) or 'read between the lines' but is there a better rendition of this concept in English? Or does it just not exist?
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171 views

What is the correct “healthy” adjective for healthy foods?

The situation is that I've expressed that I like Sushi, and then want to proceed and explain why that is, describing sushi as delicious and healthy. Something along the lines of: すしはおいしくてヘルシーですから。 ...
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254 views

How would you say “for all I know” in Japanese?

The best I can think of is 僕が知る限り + fact + とは限らない. Does this work, are there better alternatives?
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230 views

かかったためしない - how can this be translated?

I encountered the following sentence in a comic book which I could not make sense of. The comic strip depicts a character using a simple bird trap and saying: 「長年やってるけどかかったためしないなあ」 The first part, ...
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1answer
454 views

What kind of a thing is a “やつ”?

I've been seeing やつ used for "thing" reasonably frequently in Manga/online etc, for example: ほとんどは本とか食玩とか細かいやつかな。 "It's virtually all stuff like books, those small toys sold with food and small ...
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1answer
458 views

What does exactly does さま mean in dictionary definitions?

I've been using Japanese-Japanese dictionaries for a while now and this keeps popping up. It seems to me like a kind of usage that is found for the most part only in dictionaries. Can anyone help ...
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193 views

This PSA was written in the past tense. When is it correct to do this?

While riding a train, I read a public service announcement that said: たばこを持つ手は、子供の顔の高さだった。 Underneath, the English translation said: A lit cigarette is carried at the height of a child's ...
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Is there a Japanese phrase equivalent to the English phrase: “Guilty Pleasure”?

I am at a loss of words to describing to my host family why I sometimes listen to "bad" or embarrassing music. Is there a japanese phrase that can help me tell them it's a "guilty pleasure" of mine?
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得意とするところ explanation?

As far as I'm aware this expression means "(a persons) strong points', but I'm not sure how とする is being used in this context. My best guess would be something like "the thing (a person) tries to do ...
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626 views

Can 預金 mean account?

I looked up the definition of the word 預金{よきん} and my English-Japanese dictionary translates it as "deposit", "savings", and "account". One of the WWWJDIC definitions is also "bank account". I ...
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1answer
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Does 好きな really mean “favorite”?

In books that I've come across and even in dictionaries, I've seen the word 「好きな」 translated as "favorite". I'm a little confused by this because 「好きです」 normally gets translated as "like", or in my ...
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1answer
150 views

How do I translate a pattern like “Tap to enter comment”?

I find it difficult to translate short software GUI instructional pieces like: Tap to enter comment Press here to talk Sign in to continue Should I put it like: タップしてコメントを入力 or must it be: ...
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209 views

た+ではないか or た+のではないか can someone enlighten me?

I encountered a question in my JLPT n1 practice book , and I got really confused because I was sure my answer was right but when I look at the answer sheet the answer is really far from what I have ...
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539 views

What is the difference between と, たら and 時【とき】?

First, I came across this sentence using と in a way I've never encountered before. ピノキオはうそを吐くと、鼻が長くなります。 My translation: When/As Pinocchio tells lies his nose becomes longer. After a little ...
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0answers
302 views

Thoughts about event frequencies and “often enough”

I'm having trouble expressing the concept of "not often enough". The most basic way to say "often" is よく, but I think there's a problem in putting qualifiers on this word. For instance, expressing "...
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What does ちがいます。 mean?

I saw this translated in the first episode of FLCL as "It's wrong.", but checking the translation, I get "Different." Could someone clear this up?