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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319 views

Equivalent of someone's valentine

How would I describe the designated object of someone's affections on Valentine's Day? The meaning I'm referring to is meaning 2 on Wiktionary: A person to whom a valentine is given or received, ...
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3answers
222 views

Expressing: “Send them over/up, please”

This should be a rather straightforward (if a bit specific) bit of translation, but I cannot find a form that makes sense to me and gets corroborated by Google. How would one translate the typical ...
6
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2answers
419 views

What does “ごうと音がして” mean?

I am currently practicing Japanese by reading a novel but I have reached a sentence that I could not understand. ごうと音がして Can you please translate the vocabulary and verb used along with any unique ...
6
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1answer
210 views

How should I respond to a client after receiving materials?

A client sent some materials and I have to respond, so I want to give a quick thank you acknowledging that I have received the materials and will email again once I have reviewed them. (It's always ...
6
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3answers
299 views

How would you say “talking shop” in Japanese?

In English, when we say someone is "talking shop", we mean that they are having a conversation about a particular trade or skill that they're familiar with (usually because it's their profession), ...
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3answers
921 views

Does the (USA) English metaphor “Unable to see the forest for the trees” keep its meaning if translated verbatim into Japanese?

The phrase "Unable to see the forest for the trees" implies one is too entangled in a situation to understand what is transpiring from a larger context, and thus, unable to determine the correct ...
6
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3answers
381 views

How to say “all in all”

I have been many times blocked in a conversation because I have no way to translate "all in all" in those general contexts: All in all it takes 15 minutes to get there All in all this movie was ...
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2answers
2k views

What is -からです, and when is it used?

I have seen this expression a few times, and have never quite understood it. In particular, it seems to be equatable both to ですから and to んです, but I can't figure out where it would be used over either ...
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1answer
1k views

How is the “のです” working here?

目立つ事を恐れ、一緒でなければいけないという日本人が確実に減ってきているのです。 The strong feelings that Japanese have of being afraid of standing out and everybody having to do things together are starting to become less ...
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2answers
305 views

What's the literal and natural translation of たるもの?

子{こ}たる者{もの}すべからく親{おや}の命{めい}に従{したが}うべし。 Children should obey their parents What I got from ALC is that a child isn't fit, unqualified, to be one's child if it disobeys its parents. Or is it ...
6
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625 views

What's the difference between そうかな and そうなんだ?

I've always thought that they both mean something like "I see" or "Is that so?" and I was told that they have different meaning. Is that so?
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271 views

What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば?

What's the meaning of すます in 耳をすませば? How would you translate this?
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1answer
220 views

What is the difference between 予想、期待、予期、思惑 for the meaning of “expectation”?

What is the difference between these 4 words for the definition of "expectation": 予想{よそう} 期待{きたい} 予期{よき} 思惑{おもわく} Specifically, which would you use for "managing customer expectations (for project ...
6
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2answers
235 views

Shouldn't 確認する always be translated into “check”?

One thing I have noticed among my Japanese coworkers is that it seems that they overuse the verb "confirm" when translating 確認する: テストを確認する ("confirm the tests") 彼と確認して欲しい ("[I want you to] ...
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232 views

Shop or Shop Owner

If you have the name of a shop plus さん, what possibilities are there for the translation? I get the sense that it can either be a formal way to speak, or it can mean the store person. 薬屋 = pharmacy ...
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1answer
198 views

知っとった meaning of grammar?

What does the grammar form of 知るin the below sentence mean? 闇の世界とは関わるはずがないと知っとったんだろうな The sentence is from the Japanese version of Harry Potter I
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1answer
129 views

“XYZ mentioned in newspaper ABC!” in Japanese?

My organization XYZ has been mentioned in a newspaper, and I would like to post a link to the online article, together with a short explanation like "XYZ mentioned in newspaper ABC!" How about ...
6
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1answer
254 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 ...
6
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1answer
191 views

What does 揺らぎやすい女性 mean?

I was translating a passage the other day for a health spa and came across the following passage: 揺らぎやすい女性のための限定メニューができました。 1ヶ月の周期の中で、私たちの体は大きく変化します。 生理は、体をととのえる絶好のチャンス。 ...
6
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2answers
330 views

What does “湯冷ましを兼ねて” mean?

While looking around, I found this [湯冷ましを兼ねて] expression that no dictionary has been able to translate. Examples of use would be the [再び湯冷ましを兼ねて周辺を徘徊。] line in this post or the first sentence in this ...
6
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1answer
216 views

火の車 Where did it come from

My sensei in class told us about 火の車 that means someone in a difficult financial strait . I was wondering what does it have to do with fire 火 and a car 車?
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1answer
170 views

Why did the translator use ゴナラ here?

I've got a copy of "オ・ヤサシ巨人BFG", Taeko Nakamura's translation of the famous children's book by Roald Dahl, The BFG. The story concerns a friendship between a little girl named Sophie and a friendly ...
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3answers
216 views

Computer calculation: is there a better word than “オンザフライ” to say “on-the-fly”?

As a valuable feature of my software product, I want to say that results are calculated on-the-fly, meaning the user does not have to wait and receive results by email: results are displayed after two ...
6
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1answer
215 views

Translating volitive expressions in ads into English

I saw this on an advertisement outside the construction site of a company that makes wooden houses: 木{き}の家{いえ}と、暮{く}らそう。 I'm trying to think of a way to translate it other than: Live with a wooden ...
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2answers
309 views

What does the phrase らしいと言えばらしい mean?

I am reading a book where one character describes another's reading habits, and the person she is talking to says 「らしいと言えばらしいな」. From context, he seems to be saying that her reading habits are ...
6
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2answers
743 views

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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1answer
181 views

How to express “with (x) as well” and “even with (x)”

I am trying to express something akin to these sentences: Even with a spoon, he digs well (でも?) Even without a shovel, he digs well I would also like to express this: With a shovel ...
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2answers
315 views

“Tourist trap” in Japanese

Assuming such a concept exists in Japanese, how do you say "tourist trap"? Wikipedia describes it as: A tourist trap is an establishment, or group of establishments, that has been created with ...
6
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1answer
200 views

Meaning of ぎゃほ ?

What does the interjection ぎゃほ mean? Context: A: We are mentioned in (famous newspaper) B: ぎゃほ! かんどう====333 Does it have the meaning of かんどう ? Or is it surprise, or something else?
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168 views

Questions about my translation of this conversation

I'm not sure my translation for this brief conversation is correct, particularly the last sentence, so would like it double checked please. カレン: ニールさんは音楽の学生ですね。 ニール: そうですが、どうして? カレン: ...
6
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1answer
128 views

Questions on the use of 動物 in reference to mankind/humans

I got this quote from a journal an online associate writes. I provided the translation. Some of the wording in Japanese struck me as strange, so I am wondering about whether in fact this quote is a ...
6
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1answer
341 views

What is the best word to use to mean “to take long-term a break (i.e. from school)”?

Just to add some context to this question: I graduated with a B.A. last June, and am currently taking a two-year break from education to work off some of the inordinate amount of debt I accumulated in ...
6
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1answer
128 views

「〜がする」 the extended use of する (to do)

I'm going through some basic grammar and this one website teaches the "extended" use of the word する. There is a confusing example which looks like: 波の音 がする The translation is: "(I) hear the ...
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1answer
254 views

How to parse 友だちに〜聞かせられた?

芥川龍之介's story 片恋 begins with the following sentence: 一しょに大学を出た親しい友だちの一人に、ある夏の午後[京浜電車]{けいひんでんしゃ}の中で[遇]{あ}ったら、こんな話を聞かせられた。 Perhaps because 聞く can mean both "to hear" and "to ask", and also because ...
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1answer
95 views

“to talk with friends” structure

I tried to make "to talk with friends" based on 彼と話がしたい, so my try is this: 友達と話がする, but not only I'm not sure about this, but I also have some questions regarding its structure. 1.-Why that と? I ...
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1answer
155 views

What is wrong with お書きになられたり?

I have the following sentence to translate for class. 岩田先生は、 退職なさるまで 全世界で貝の化石の御研究をされていて 雑誌などに記事をお書きになられたり テレビで放送された教育番組にも出られた So far I have the following. Professor Iwata until he honorably ...
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1answer
350 views

What does お土産持しててね mean? [closed]

I got a message from a friend, about to go on a trip, and it ended with: お土産持しててね I think it's basically "[I'll] bring a souvenir/gift/omiyage [for you]" but I'm not familiar with the 持してて part, I've ...
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1answer
1k views

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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0answers
181 views

What would be the Japanese name of a person with a native Chinese name? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When Chinese personal names are written in Japanese in kanji is there always an obvious reading? What would be the common ways to convert a Chinese name for a person to ...
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6answers
1k views

What Does 火信 Mean? [closed]

I saw 火信 tattooed on a gentleman's neck. I looked up the words, but couldn't make sense of their combination... What does it mean?
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4answers
528 views

Is there a general/default word for “to wear”?

I've been introduced to 着る (for things you put on like a shirt) and 履く (for things you put on like pants) in class, but is there a general way to just say something like wear clothes? Or must the ...
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669 views

This use より baffles me

From the anime Noir, Episode 2. Context: The husband comes home and his wife and son greet him outside. Wife: おかえりなさい。今日は早いのね? Husband: ああ、思ったより早く仕事が終わってね。 The wife's line, I get. The ...
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2answers
208 views

What does 公け mean?

I am wondering what the reading and meaning of 公け is in the following sentence: 彼女のことが公けになることを好まず、ひそかに離縁しようと決心した。
5
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2answers
716 views

Can the qualifiers “very” and “too” be expressed unambiguously in Japanese?

I've noticed that some of my Japanese friends with fluent but imperfect English often say "too adjective" when a native English speaker would say just "very adjective". (I am asking about "too" in ...
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2answers
140 views

difference between 歩く and 散歩します

I was wondering the difference between the two words since both mean to walk. When to use verb 歩きます and when to use 散歩します。
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2answers
495 views

Which verb for “get off” / “leave” the Shuto Expressway?

I'm not sure which way to say something like exit/leave/depart/get off/escape is most appropriate when the thing I want to get off is the system of expressways in Tokyo called the Shuto 首都高. I'm not ...
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2answers
376 views

What does 母を恋はずや mean?

What is the meaning of 母を恋はずや in the film title? Edit: the meaning of "恋う" according to the dictionary is "romantic love" as in "koi suru". E.g. ...
5
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1answer
571 views

What does 看板親父 mean?

I searched every translation site I could find, and I can't make sense of what it's supposed to mean. I know 看板親父 is some kind of chef in a restaurant, but what do you called it in English?
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3answers
773 views

Could you help me translate this sentence?

I've been reading this article which I can understand fine in general, but it's the last couple of sentences in which the translator gives his own opinion I'm at a loss. The article is about how Lego ...
5
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2answers
317 views

I am wondering if someone can shed light on this tweet from Japan?

A friend of mine recently translated a Japanese article from Japan's October issue of An An magazine and sent her a tweet in English telling her that it was completed. The author replied with the ...