Three sentences from the same news article on NHK 'Easy News':

Becuase the children were in the nursery they weren't injured or anything
However, there were a lot of families and others who had come to collect children near the gate.
The police did not announce the reasons and so on for the explosion.

This article seems to use など almost obsessively (and is no different from many other articles I have read on the NHK site).

As you can see from my very childish translations I have great difficulty in translating など. Most of the time it seems completely unnecessary. I feel that I'm either somehow missing the nuance of など or there is a better translation that I'm not aware of.

Is など used naturally in these sentences? Can you help me understand how など adds useful information to these sentences?

2 Answers 2


It seems to me that you have a perfectly good understanding of など. Generally, I would say that など doesn't need to be translated in the English every time it occurs: it sounds a lot more natural in Japanese than its translations do in English. Each language is picky about different things; Japanese is picky about the particularity of things and hearsay in a way that English just doesn't seem to care.

Nevertheless, the quotes you're providing from the NHK page do seem to be overdoing the use of など in my opinion. But that could be just a consequence of those pages being "easy" Japanese.

If you look at this Fukushima paper's article or this Asahi article, you'll see a different reporting style. The Asahi link (the 2nd link) does use など, but what is more notable is the use of the pluralizing ending ら in both articles where the "Easy News" uses など: notably 親ら in the Fukushima article and 迎えに来た保護者ら from the Asahi site vs 家族など in the Easy News. (And, just the meaning of these phrases "parents", "guardians", "family" shows the range of possibilities that can be extrapolated from など.) The NHK site, which is designed not just for foreigners but a younger Japanese audience, perhaps is avoiding this reporting style because they might feel it's more complex.

(Incidentally, this perhaps also shows why ら isn't really a plural in the sense of "s" in English. The comparisons here show how ら is much more like など than anything else, essentially meaning "and other things that are easily fall under this category".)

  • Just a clarification, when you say "Easy News." Do you mean that the Japanese is easier in those reports?
    – ajsmart
    Jun 19, 2017 at 13:19
  • 1
    @ajsmart "Easy News" is the name that NHK gives this particular on-line site. It's not a judgment on my part.
    – A.Ellett
    Jun 19, 2017 at 14:07

I agree with A. Ellett first two statements: your understanding of など is fine, and it's an expression that often does not need to be translated into English.

It sounds more natural in Japanese because (as one of my Japanese co-workers put it), there's a certain degree of cultural reluctance to making definite statements, which leads to a tendency to use など extensively.

I work as a technical translator, and am regularly confronted with long sentences that sometimes use など at least three or four times. My main strategies for dealing with it are (in no particular order):

  • Ignore it
  • Use expressions like "such as..." or "including..."
  • Use a variation such as apples, pears, and other fruits if I can find a generic term for whatever things are getting など-ed
  • Use (e.g., A, B or C) if they're parenthetical (either literally or in terms of significance)
  • Use any or one of its compounds (as in your "or anything" in the first sentence).

The actual approaches I use at a given time is heavily dependent on the flow of the text and how I've dealt with the ten instances of など in the two previous sentences! :)


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