Let's say, on a site like lang-8, I present the following string, hoping for native speakers to help me by correcting it.


And let's say in the "Native Language" section, I write this:

Oh, Who are you?

Now, a lot of the time, they will respond by writing a 1:1 translation of the English, rather then correcting the Japanese.

If I'm trying to make, for example, a translation for a game; I may not want a 1:1 translation, but rather some equivalent, based on the Japanese I presented.

You know, what could I add to my post to ask the native speaker to treat it more like a localization, rather then a perfect 1:1 translation, respecting what I originally wrote?

Sorry if this is a dumb request, but I'm a novice and am at a loss for what to use to achieve this goal, thus I thought I'd ask here.

PS. Sorry if my examples fairly bad. The point is that English uses a lot of set phrases, which Japanese people will often translate literally, which, among other things, is what I want to ask them to avoid.

1 Answer 1


Here are some common expressions:

  • 逐語訳【ちくごやく】: word-by-word translation
  • 直訳【ちょくやく】: literal translation
  • 意訳【いやく】: free translation
  • 自然な訳: natural translation

The difference between 逐語訳 and 直訳 is not large, but the former may sometimes refer to strictly 1:1 translation which can even be ungrammatical.

Taking "It's a piece of cake" for instance, its 直訳 would be 「それはケーキの一切れだ」 and its 自然な訳 would be 「楽勝だよ」. In your case, you can say なるべく自然な日本語訳でお願いします or something like that to request natural translations.

By the way, あなたかな means "Is that you?", not "Who are you?" Frankly, there seems to be no way to "correct" this Japanese sentence so that it means "who are you"...

  • 1
    I know my example sucks, I just can't seem think of a good example where this seems to happen, sorry.
    – Tirous
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 19:50
  • あなたかな ="Are you a person I am looking for?", don't worry your translation "Who are you?" could be natural in another circumstance.
    – user20428
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 1:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .