I work for a company that creates mobile apps to control and maneuver toy robots. Recently I've seen our Japanese translators as well as our Japanese business partners (native speakers) using the word ドロー to mean "draw" in the following context:

"Draw, Block, and Text Coding" They've recommended: "ドロー、ブロック、テキスト"

"Draw" means that the user of the app would be able to draw a line or path on the mobile screen and the robot would follow that path design as it moves around. They can then see the programming coordinates of this path.

Why would you want to use the katakana ドロー instead of 描く? Does it sound better from an advertising perspective? Does it make more sense for children to read this word?


描く is not a valid choice because it's a verb, whereas ブロック and テキスト are nouns. A better alternative would be a Sino-Japanese word 描画, which is a noun (and suru-verb). Unfortunately, 描画 and ドロー are equally difficult words, so translators may have chosen the katakana word which visually goes well with the other two. Late teens and adults who are interested in technologies will probably understand ドロー. (If your target audience is small children, they won't understand テキスト, either.)


If they plan to use it for advertising it makes sense to use katakana instead of kanji or even hiragana. Katakana is cool and (by lack of a better expression) has an edge to it. Hiragana looks cuter so it’s mostly targeted towards girls / women / very small children.

If they don’t plan on advertising with it, it still makes sense because ドロー is a noun. The other two are also nouns.

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