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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Correct word for “indeed”

What is the correct translation for "indeed"? I found 実際{じっさい}に and 確{たし}かに. If both are correct, what is the difference? Thanks.
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881 views

How would you say “if you don't mind my asking”?

This is something that is often said in English to politely ask a question while avoiding sounding overly intrusive. For example, What do you do for a living, if you don't mind my asking? The ...
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407 views

手ぇ & つないで meaning and translation help

I've been reading よつばと! and I'm on a chapter where Fuuka has a crush on a guy. She says this: 手ぇつないで歩いてたの I assume the small e is just for emphasis/extension and it doesn't seem to serve a ...
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418 views

Expressing neighborhood in Japanese

Something I have often stumbled on is the expression of "neighborhood" in Japanese. For most uses I find that 近所 works well. However, this usually seems to refer to a closer proximity than one would ...
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283 views

What does 気が遠い mean?

Could someone help me translate this? 22歳でこんなことも思い出せない。。。あせる これから気が遠いよ I think the first sentence is something about being 22 years old and not remembering well. As for the second sentence, I ...
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194 views

Explain how 向{む}く “to face” can take “上{うえ}” as a direct object using を?

There's a famous old song that's actually the only ever Japanese language song to reach #1 on the US pop charts: "上{うえ}を向{む}いて歩{ある}こう". This is both the title of the song and a frequently repeated ...
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289 views

How do I differentiate all these terms for “illiterate”?

I looked up the word "illiteracy", and was offered many different possibilities. Here they are, with my personal take on the nuance behind their origins: 活字{かつじ}離{ばな}れ ("removed from printing"?) ...
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115 views

Understanding もう少しゆっくり休む - “Take the day off more slowly”?

I have a long translation I need to do. It has basically talked about how the speaker's younger brother was very sick. The last sentence of the translation is the following. 弟が、明日、会社に行けるかわかりませんが、 ...
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3answers
380 views

Translation of “に” into “natural” English

All of my Japanese teachers have told me that な-adjectives converted to に-ending words and い-adjectives converted to く-ending words, when followed by a verb, are 'adverbs'. However, sentences sound ...
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1answer
205 views

Understanding the phrase 「最も多くの乗客が乗っていた」 from a news article

Reading an article on NHK, it starts with this sentence about the missing Algerian plane. The French foreign minister says that it probably crashed in northern Mali: ...
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2answers
259 views

What does 「なし」in 「問題なし」 mean?

I just started playing the video game Mother 3, and if you try to examine the trash can in front of his house, Lucas says, 問題なし. I expect this means something like, "no problem here", but I haven't ...
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136 views

Difference between してください and なってください in this sentence

Is there a difference in translation and meaning between these two sentences or are they practically interchangeable? ギターのボリュームを小さくしてください。 ギターのボリュームを小さくなってください。 My translation: Please can ...
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527 views

Kana causing translation difficulty: 「きれている」

Ok, so I've been having trouble with a passage. It's mostly written in kana, and I can get most of it, but because of the kana, I have no idea what a certain word is. At the beginning of the music ...
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255 views

How do the two が in もう止まらない あなたがあなたのことが恋しい work?

The following lyrics are from a song called "YOU": "もう止まらない あなたがあなたのことが恋しい" Mou tomaranai  anata ga anata no koto ga koishii I know that "mou tomaranai" = "no longer stops" and "anata no koto ...
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2answers
451 views

Is Japanese one of the Buddhist canonical languages?

The languages of oriental Buddhist traditions, be it Theravada or Mahayana, do not always provide complete and entire canonical texts. Up to now, I am aware of Pali, Chinese and Tibetan versions of ...
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487 views

What is the difference between それでいい and それがいい here?

As I understand it, それでいい means 'it is fine like this' and それがいい means 'this is fine', but what is the protagonist trying to convey here by first using それでいい and then correcting himself to それがいい? ...
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168 views

Difference between 研究所 and 研究室

What is the difference between 研究所 and 研究室? Do both mean a research institute?
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1answer
382 views

Could somebody please translate this and show me what I'm missing?

Just for a little bit of context: There's a flyer about a Japanese church's beach retreat that's been sent around, and I'm trying to translate it for practice. That being said, the flyer has been ...
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318 views

あれで for surprise - confusing example sentence

My book explains that あれで can be used to indicate mild surprise, and gives some example sentences. They all make sense to me except this one: ...
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1answer
198 views

“You and I both know full well” = 「二人ともよく知っている」?

I'm writing a section of a relay manga for Hokkaido University's Manga Research Society. How you do you express "You and I both know full well..." and "our actual skills" in formal お嬢様っぽい Japanese? ...
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1answer
631 views

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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1answer
186 views

What are some translations for 後は無い?

Does it have a less literal meaning that "nothing left behind"?
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224 views

How can I say “counted in (specific unit)”?

Specifically, I am trying to say something like "a semester's length is counted in months" in order to imply how short it is as compared to, say, your whole life. When I tried to look this up in my ...
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1k views

How to say “Little did I/he/she/they know”?

I found a few examples at ALC, but still not sure about the best way to say it.
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390 views

How is “誰も” used in this sentence?

I am a bit confused about a sentence I came across in an anki deck: 誰もその話を知らない。 I know that that 誰 means "who" and も means "also", but the translation it gives me is: "No one knows that story." ...
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454 views

Is my interpretation of the grammar in 「気にしてられないと思えるようになる。」 correct?

人の目なんて。 気にしてられないと思えるようになる。 You can't concern yourself with what other people think. I saw this on a TV show where the hosts were talking about coming out in public if you are gay. They had ...
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314 views

What does カイデー mean?

I saw this in a tweet just a few minutes ago. アメリカ…俺よりカイデーな選手がゴロゴロ(゚o゚;; This could be talking about the world cup. I can't find カイデー defined anywhere. What does it mean? What does that tweet say?
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1answer
462 views

How to express “X sounds like Y”

How can I express the idea that one word sounds like another? As a concrete example, I wanted to say, 「フライアー」sounds like 「fryer」. Looking in dictionaries (wadoku/jisho) for "sound like" turns up ...
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760 views

How can you express “as long as you want”?

I want to tell my friend that he can stay at my house as long as he wants. I was thinking: 泊まるのは何ヶ日でもいいです。 or 泊まりたい程泊まってもいいです。 What is the correct way?
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211 views

Usage of the word 心配

Sorry if this is really simple and I'm overlooking the obvious, but I'm not sure how the following sentence should be translated as I've noticed on previous occasions that the word 「心配{しんぱい}」 might be ...
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135 views

How to say “go by bike”

I want to say "many Dutch (go by | take the | use the ) bike". (or car,...) I've come up with: おおぜいのオランダ人は自転車{じてんしゃ}で行{い}きます。 and おおぜいのオランダ人{じん}は自転車{じてんしゃ}を使{つか}います。 But they seem very ...
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171 views

Translation of particle で in 「オーストラリアは今夏でとてもあついです」

オーストラリアは 今 夏で とても あつい です。 Does this sentence mean: “Australia is currently in summer and it's very hot”. Or, “Australia is now very hot in summer”. I know that the Japanese sentence could ...
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502 views

Few hard to recognize handwritten characters in miniature umbrella

There are a few characters handwritten in a miniature umbrella acquired in Hakone mountain in the mid 60’s that I don't understand. Could you please help me with those characters? I’ve transliterated ...
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1answer
90 views

さまよう vs ぶらつく vs うろつく for the sense of “to wander”?

I thought I might add a word to my Japanese vocabulary that means as close to "to wander" as possible in English. In the English Wiktionary three Japanese words are mentioned but only one has an ...
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1answer
416 views

The meaning of “ぶん” in “見ているぶんには…”

The line I first saw it in is: 大げさなジェスチャーは小さいころからのクセだ。見てるぶんには面白いので俺はあえて注意しない。 A few other examples I've found: "遠目で見ている分にはいいけれど" "見てるぶんには可愛いけど…こびとづかんになりたくはない。" "Paris Photo ...
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1answer
157 views

“Apple tax” in Japanese

Wiktionary more or less defines "Apple tax" as The price premium paid by consumers of Apple consumer products over comparable devices from competitors. Is there an equivalent term in Japanese ...
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1answer
196 views

Should I use 通訳 or 翻訳?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but 通訳 is used for translating conversations(interpreting) whereas 翻訳 is used more for translating documents, right? I have a document that I had a Japanese friend translate ...
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522 views

How to say: (one) month through (another) month

I'm working on my Japanese homework, and we're practicing describing weather. We're given charts on temperature to say things like: カイロは九月が一番あついです。Or, "In Cairo, September is the hottest month." ...
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352 views

When is it appropriate to choose にわたって or を通じて in regard to time?

I seem to have a hard time recognizing when to choose either にわたって or を通じて in the following question: この地方は一年(  )暖かく、とても過ごしやすい。 The correct answer is を通じて. My idea is that を通じて would make this ...
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190 views

What's the best translation of アタリ in the context of drawing?

I'm reading through a book on how to draw in a classic Japanese manga style. Specifically, the book is about the basics of デッサン, "sketching". They use the term アタリ a lot. For example, this typical ...
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592 views

How can I say “make a big deal [about/out of/of] X”?

See title. I'm looking for idiomatic ways to say something like this - over-emphasizing something, worrying about it overly much, etc. Bonus points if a literal 大 (whether read as だい or おお) is ...
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1answer
126 views

How to say 'they will suffer'?

I'm trying to say, that if there is a natural disaster, the whole of Japan will suffer. However, I'm finding it quite difficult to translate this into Japanese. Do either of these make sense? ...
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237 views

How do you translate “My hovercraft is full of eels”?

The good old nonsense phrase of foreign languages is Monty Python's classic "My hovercraft is full of eels". Accordingly in Japanese one of the first things I learned was "私のホバークラフトはうなぎがいっぱいです". ...
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270 views

Translation check and meaning help please

Would the following be a good translation of the text in the above two speech bubbles? "Everything in this universe is composed of atoms. Destroying something is equivalent to destroying the ...
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1answer
177 views

What does の頃【ころ】 mean in this sentence?

I don't know what の頃【ころ】 means in this sentence. I know ころ means 'about' or 'around' but I still don't understand its use here. ロンドンに来たばかりの頃【ころ】、私は「Chip Butty」を知りませんでした。 My best translation: I've ...
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222 views

What does 「声室」mean in this context?

I found the following sentence in a document relating to this webpage: 「お客さまの声室」受付時間を2012年11月3日(土)より以下の通りに変更いたします。 My initial guess is that 「お客さまの声室」 is some kind of feedback room where costumer ...
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168 views

Does this sentence using も twice say that the speaker doesn't have 女子力?

I am participating in a relay manga through a university student group in Japan, and the previous member's contributed pages to the manga about a 女子力バトル introduced a sole male character who seems to ...
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1answer
126 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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1answer
202 views

Is “part-time work” an accurate translation of バイト?

The most common translation I see of バイト I see is "part-time work". However, the contexts I see it used in seem to refer to casual work, as opposed to people having a permanent job, merely with ...
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152 views

What does り have to do with this?

So I asked some Japanese guy if he really meant something (about speaking in certain language) with 本当ですか and I got this as an answer: 実はしゃべれるわけじゃなかったりする I understand what わけではない means, but ...