Although this site is not a translation service, 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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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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What does イケメン mean?

I am in a Japanese 101 class. We are supposed to translate the following sentence: 日本ぶんかの先生は、イケメンですが、ぜんぜんやさしくないですから、あまり好きじゃありません。 I am having trouble with that word イケメン. So far, I have: The ...
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227 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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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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421 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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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: ...
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word search: voluntary pause between desire and action

Some years ago, I read that Japanese has a word (or idiomatic expression) that means roughly: The action of voluntary interposing a pause between the moment you desire something and the moment you ...
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342 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 ...
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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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215 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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337 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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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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366 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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214 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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722 views

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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984 views

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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140 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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332 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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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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673 views

What does はくださらない mean?

I am having problems finding a word in this sentence in the dictionary: 一体全体なぜこんなところにおいでになったのか、たぶん話してはくださらないのでしょうね? Unknown word: - はくださらない The English translation is: "And I don't suppose ...
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959 views

How accurately can 使い be translated as “angel”?

On jisho.org, 使い is translated with words such as "errand", and the same holds true on translate.google.com. Neither site is offering "angel" as a suggestion. Yet in Matthew 1:20, the phrase:     ...
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Shouldn't this phrase using だけのこと mean “just for that”?

In a grammar textbook I have, there is this phrase: 幸{さいわ}い日本{にほん}で日本語{にほんご}を勉強{べんきょう}して、かなり話{はな}せるようになりました。日本{にほん}に行{い}っただけのことはありました。 The translation given is: Fortunately, I studied ...
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What does これ以上 (kore ijou) mean?

The whole sentence reads これ以上 シャレてる時間はない which is from the lyrics of this anime song. which, according to this website, means There's no more time to be fooling around I understand the first ...
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My name is Midori, but I have never known the Kanji

My parents are not Japanese but they named my sister and me with Japanese names for the meanings they had: Mariko - Child of Truth Midori - Youthful Immortal. With these definitions as guidance, can ...
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538 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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817 views

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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515 views

What does 思いっきりどうぞ mean?

I heard this phrase a few times but I still can't grasp its meaning. Does it mean, "as much as you would like"?
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Have you tried XYZ before?

I English I can ask somebody if they've experienced or sampled a food or drink, or even an activity with this verb: Here try this and tell me if you like it. I tried koregusu once but I didn't like ...
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321 views

How to say pork loin in Japanese

How do you say pork loin in Japanese? Jisho.org says it should be ロース, but it seems too vague since I want to use it in a recipe. What about 豚ロース肉?
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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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980 views

Is there a Japanese term to express the concept of “Comfort Zone”?

According to Wikipedia, it would be "舒适区" IN CHINESE- I would like to know if this is valid and recognizable in Japanese, too, or if there are more specific/nuanced terms to convey the same idea in ...
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Expression equivalent to “as far/long/much as I/you X”

Is there an expression in Japanese that is equivalent to "as far/long as I/you X", for example "as far as I know", "as far as I'm concerned", "as much as you want", "as long as he is still alive" etc? ...
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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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820 views

〜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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How to say, “try to __”, “have to __”

For some reason I can't remember how to say "try to _" or "have to (must) _" in Japanese. How can I say this? Any variations you can include would be appreciated.
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What is 引っ越しハガキ?

In the novel I'm reading now (「キッチン」 by 吉本{よしもと}ばなな) there is a passage about moving house and preparing 引っ越しハガキ. What is 引っ越しハガキ? I guess it's some kind of a note/postcard you prepare when you move ...
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129 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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372 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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327 views

understanding hōgejaku — an archaic imperative?

I would like to understand this Zen calligraphy: ...
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397 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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How does 話{はなし}が噛{か}み合{あ}わない work?

I saw this phrase discussed on esaura.cc 話が噛み合わない 'There's a gap in their conversation.' 'They can't meet on common ground.' 'They have been at odds with each other.' 'They have not been ...
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I can't find a translation for 言やいー

I would very much appreciate it if someone could tell me what 言やいー refers to. All I know is that 言 has something to do with speaking or words, but that alone doesn't help. Is it slang? The entire ...
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How to say copyrighted material in Japanese?

How do I say copyrighted material in Japanese? Is 著作権のある資料 a good translation? I want to say that uploading copyrighted material is prohibited.
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Is this a slang, and possibly derogatory term, for “lesbian”?

Warning: Potentially offensive terms. I'm watching The Walking Dead on Hulu Japan with Japanese subtitles. I've noticed that the English dialogue and Japanese subtitles differ a lot. More than usual. ...
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661 views

What does “ni tsuki” mean in the title “Sono otoko, kyōbō ni tsuki”?

According to Wikipedia, the Japanese title of the film "Violent Cop", "その男、凶暴につき" ("Sono otoko, kyōbō ni tsuki"), literally means "That man, being violent". Is this correct? What other translations ...
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463 views

translation for “It serves as a good reminder for me”?

After I've say watched a film with some friends (or read a fable or something) and learned something from it, i want to say "It [the teachings of this fable/film] serves as a good reminder for me". ...
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407 views

what does 可哀想{かわいそう}でならない mean?

I came across this expression in my JPLT N2 study materials. I deciphered the parts as 可哀想{かわいそう} means pitiable, pathetic でならない means can't help feeling so does it mean "can't help feeling ...
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How do you write “share” (as in “tell others”) in Japanese?

My company is developing an iPhone game that will be for sale in the US and Japan. There is a share button that allows people to text message, email, Facebook, and twitter their friends about the ...
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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." Can someone clear this up? Thanks.
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It's time to [verb]

I know this is dangerously close to a translation question, but bare with me. Today I found out a co-worker of mine is studying Japanese as well. And at the end of the conversation I wrote: Jikan wa ...