I have the following sentence to translate for class.


So far I have the following.

after graduating from Virginia State University
became getting a full time job at a Japanese movie company.

That することになっている seems strange to me. I would expect するようになっている which is a structure we recently learned.

Can anyone explain and maybe give a better English translation?

  • "(Someone) is scheduled to ~~~."
    – user4032
    May 3, 2014 at 3:35

1 Answer 1


「ことになる」 means "it has been decided/it has been arranged". The focus is on the fact that the decision is not made by the person being the topic of the sentence but by someone else (e.g. employer, parents).

For example:

It has been decided that I will study abroad.

You passage can be thus translated as:

It has been decided that Morita-san will get employment at a Japanese movie company after graduation from Virginia State University.

Note that there is a similar structure 「ことにする」 which conveys the meaning that the decision is made by yourself. For example:

I have decided to study abroad.

  • This does not sound like a very natural translation to me.  "is supposed to" or "meant to" sounds better and is another translation of ~することになっている
    – Tim
    May 1, 2014 at 1:52
  • @Tim I agree it doesn't sound too natural but I think it shows the difference between ことになる and ことにする well: not my decision / my decision. This is especially true for non-native English speakers who may misinterpret "supposed to". This is also a quite common way of explaining those structures in grammar books/websites.
    – Szymon
    May 1, 2014 at 2:10
  • It is a bad translation. Don't take this the wrong way but if your explanation of a piece of grammar does not include an expression that can be used naturally then the explanation is not complete. (This is a site for Japanese but you are not doing a favour for any student of English with this translation either.)
    – Tim
    May 1, 2014 at 3:30
  • From Cambridge dictionary (dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/…): "be supposed - to have to; to have a duty or a responsibility to". Is that what ことになる means?
    – Szymon
    May 1, 2014 at 3:36
  • If you look up ~することになっている in Space ALC then two suggested translations include: ■be meant to〈英〉(義務として),■be supposed to(義務・規則・取り決め・約束・任務などにより / 期待に沿うために). I am open to more authoritative suggestions, anything to get away from "It has been decided that.." which does not feel natural and only seems to appear in bad translations.
    – Tim
    May 1, 2014 at 6:04

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