My question is simple: what is the equivalent Japanese of the word 'clunky' in Japanese? (possibly in one word, or two/three words at most) to convey the sluggishness of something walks/works/operates. (How to say it in Japanese and I want to emphasize it).

I looked it up on google, it's translated as 不器用な = clumsy, awkward.. and it's labeled archaic..
On the other translation: 魅力のない = no appeal/no charm -> I don't think this is the correct translation.
When I searched more, I found this> ぎこちない -> Can I use this one?
Is there any word that doesn't have 'ない', and no 難しい please.

Sentence context:

This translation feels clunky and hard to read.
This apps feels clunky and hard to use.

Is there anyone that can help to convey it better?
Thank you very much everyone!

  • 1
    It could be hard to find a translation that fits both "clunky translation" and "clunky app" without being "clunky" itself. Are they just examples of a larger category of things you want to use the translation for or are you interested in these two specific cases only?
    – siikamiika
    Aug 5, 2017 at 18:10
  • I wouldn't know where to start on this one. But just from the words you've offered here, ぎこちない actually looks like it's the closest to what you want particularly since it looks like it can be used both for how something works and how words seem to flow.
    – A.Ellett
    Aug 5, 2017 at 18:10
  • 1
    @FlonneLightberry Alright, I just wanted to get that cleared up. i'll leave the answer to somebody more experienced, but you could edit your question and clarify that it doesn't have to be the same word for both cases if I understood correctly.
    – siikamiika
    Aug 5, 2017 at 18:18
  • 1
    I can't really say. I was just looking at the definitions in a Japanese dictionary (ie a dictionary written in Japanese). Other than that I lack the experience with these phrases to chime in one way or another. I'd just explore further what you think you can get with that particular phrase: ぎこちない.
    – A.Ellett
    Aug 5, 2017 at 18:34
  • 2
    – chocolate
    Aug 6, 2017 at 6:49

3 Answers 3


Here is one word: 不格好{ぶかっこう}な

What does this word mean

When 不格好な is looked up in online Japanese dictionaries, the word describes something that is awkward, clumsy, poor in appearance, and improper as it appears to be.

Basically, 不格好な refers to the negative appearance or condition.

When 'clunky' is looked up in bilingual dictionaries, 「不格好な」 was similarly found in Longman English-Japanese Dictionary (2007). This dictionary was the only physical dictionary that I have had those words. If you have this dictionary, see page 293.

Despite the words are linked by the dictionary, I feel these words are not quite interchangeable between two languages. Additionally, 不格好な is not used for describing slow movements or reactions (sluggish). There is another word for that.

However, these words could agree with each other, when referring to awkward or unsophisticated appearance.

Where does the word fit

There are at least two instances that the word is used in Japanese articles on the web.


From Xperiaの「Walkmanアプリ」がロリポップ対応。フラットデザイン化を達成 – すまほん!!


From 「Windows」PCは死なない--「ペイント」もまたしかり - CNET Japan

Even without translation text in English, we could tell that both articles use 不格好 to describe awkward or unsophisticated condition of particular software (Xperia, Walkman apps; Windows, Windows Creators Update).

Therefore, 不格好 is compatible with "clunky apps".

What about "clunky translation"

From my quick googling, the phrase 不格好な翻訳 did not return any relevant result. Moreover, the search engine even misunderstood the query as "translation for 不格好な". So far I have never seen this kind of usage.

Therefore, 不格好 is not compatible with "clunky translation".

To describe "clunky translation", I'd suggest to use 不自然{ふしぜん} that means unnatural or artificial; or perhaps a simple word, おかしい that means strange, weird and possibly awkward.

As a result, the following are possible:

  • 不自然な翻訳 or 翻訳が不自然
  • おかしな翻訳 or 翻訳がおかしい

Another word besides 「不格好」 is 「ださい」(not to be mistaken by suffix phrase -ください). However, 「ださい」 could include the meaning of criticism rather than to simply describe negative appearance or condition itself.

Not quite apt, but 「ださい」 may be compatible with the word "clunky" in American English that is used as slang - Not stylish or attractive.

Yet another word 「イマイチ」 means not very good or something is lacking. This word merely hints something is less satisfactory, but that alone does not necessarily describe the negative appearance or condition itself. Not quite apt either.


The following are suggested sentences for "clunky apps" and "clunky translation":

  • このアプリは 不格好で、 使いにくい・使いづらい。
  • この翻訳は 不自然で、 読みにくい・読みづらい。
  • この翻訳は おかしくて、 読みにくい・読みづらい。

Above all, this answer suggests to use 不格好(な) for "clunky apps" as well as 不自然(な) and おかしい(おかしな) for "clunky translation". There is no single word that fits for both use cases.


  1. Longman English-Japanese Dictionary (2007)
  2. 不格好な - Weblio辞書
  3. 不恰好・不格好(ぶかっこう)とは - コトバンク
  4. ぶかっこう【不格好/不恰好】の意味 - goo国語辞書
  5. Clunky - Collins English Dictionary
  • 1
    Your explanation is the most complete and thorough one, that's why I chose this answer. The first and second answer is good as well, but I loved how you logically sequenced it into a great answer! 有難うございます!
    – Flonne
    Aug 9, 2017 at 12:14

This translation feels clunky and hard to read.

  • この翻訳は気難しくて読みにくいです。 (weird)
  • この翻訳はイマイチで読みにくいです。 (OK)
  • この翻訳はイケてなくて、読みにくいです。(OK)

This apps feels clunky and hard to use.

  • このアプリは使いにくいと感じます。(OK)

You should change the word according to the context. Therefore, there is no one definite and best word for the translation of "clunky" for all the contexts.

  • この翻訳は(   )、読みにくい。
  • このアプリは(   )、使いにくい。

"clunky" is defined here as:

clumsy in style, form, or execution •a clunky thriller •clunky earrings

None of them are suitable.

Any of the following words or phrases will make sense as Japanese when it is put in parentheses.

注釈:最初の4つは、clunky, clumsyにぴったりの訳ですが、今は余り使われなくなっており、少し古臭い感じがすると思います。意味としてのピッタリ感は劣りますが、現代風に翻訳すると後の4つでしょうか。これを見ても日本語の表現力が失われている感が否めません。
Note: The first four are the perfect translation for clunky, clumsy, but now they are not being used so much and seem to be a bit old-fashioned. The latter four words or phrases will be usable if you translate them in contemporary style, though the perfect sense as a meaning is inferior to the previous four. Even by examining these words or phrases, I cannot deny that the expressive power of Japanese is being lost.

  • 「くどい」とはいかがですか。「UIがくどい」等は、聞いたことがありますが。 Apr 18, 2018 at 0:56
  • @EiríkrÚtlendi: 「くどい」は違うと思います。「くどい」は irritatingly repetitive , wordy , redundant という意味です。UIがUser Interfaceの略なら 「UIがくどい *The UI is irritatingly repetitive*」 とは言いますが clumsyとは意味が違います。
    – user20624
    Apr 18, 2018 at 3:14

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