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In English I could write, "Birds (various kinds)". In Japanese could I translate the version using parentheses as something like 鳥類(各種), or should the language/parentheses be used differently?

I'm not sure what the rules are for round vs square parentheses.

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The way you have it is fine. In general, always use round parentheses, square parentheses are not used very much perhaps except only in specialized areas. However, it is common in Japan to use different types of parentheses when nesting, i.e. [()]. This is also why they are referred to as 小カッコ (), 中カッコ {} and 大カッコ [].

  • Don't forget these bad boys:【】〈〉〘〙《》 and so on – ssb Feb 7 '13 at 7:01
  • @ssb: As far as Japanese grammer is concerned, those versions have no valid use cases. – Jesse Good Feb 7 '13 at 9:08
  • @JesseGood, can you elaborate? Who decides what is valid or not? – dainichi Feb 7 '13 at 14:30
  • @dainichi: AFAIK, the 国語審議会 is originally responsible for deciding much of the punctuation use in Japan, and they only talk about (), 「」 and 『』. There are also many other "standards", one example is from JIS for technical documents: 括弧は,丸括弧“( )”及び角括弧“[ ]”とし,補足,注解などに用い,その使い分けは,次による。, as you can see they only talk about () and []. You may find use cases at publication companies that make their own in-house rules though. – Jesse Good Feb 7 '13 at 22:33
  • @JesseGood, In くぎり符号の使ひ方, linked to from 国語審議会, it says "なほ各種のカッコを適当に用ひる。 (()) 〔〕 [] 【】", "use various parentheses as needed". I don't see how this supports your point that they are not valid. – dainichi Feb 8 '13 at 0:17

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