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Questions tagged [translation]

翻訳. This site does not provide a translation service. However, questions about translation are welcome provided that they have some academic merit. For example, questions about translating uncommon words, phrases that have different meanings in different contexts, and other non-trivial topics.

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34
votes
4answers
16k views

How to say f*** yeah in Japanese

I often get asked about swear words by Japanese people. As I sometimes watch Netflix, I can see how other translators approach these phrases and get helpful hints. Specifically, I'm curious about the ...
33
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3answers
26k views

The many ways to say “and” in Japanese

In English, we just have one word for the conjunction and which works just fine for many categories, but in Japanese, there are separate words: と joins nouns together in a closed list や joins nouns ...
33
votes
2answers
25k views

What do the shapes △ ◯ ╳ ◻ mean in Japanese? And are there variations in meaning, depending on whether or not the shape is filled?

I am interested in Japanese culture and the symbolism used in Japan, specifically I'd like to know what the △ triangle, ◯ circle, ╳ cross and ◻ square mean to a Japanese person. How are those shapes ...
28
votes
7answers
4k views

How would one convey “get over it” in Japanese?

As a foreigner in Japan, one has to get used to the fact that some Japanese will compliment you on things that are too mundane to really deserve mention. Like the fact that you can use chopsticks, eat ...
26
votes
8answers
7k views

Does the Japanese language only have negative terms for flirting?

I am looking for terms in the Japanese language which can describe the act of flirting in a positive light. This probably requires inventing terms to close a lexical gap, because as far as I know, all ...
25
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4answers
3k views

What does the final て in 待ってて signify?

In this scene a young girl, Yotsuba, drops in on her neighbors for some breakfast. The mother who's cooking breakfast says: 「今お父さんの焼いてるからその次ねー。ちょっと待っててー。」 So I guess she's preparing her husbands ...
23
votes
1answer
6k views

Can someone identify this stamp in a Bible that allowed my roommate's Grandpa to keep it in a POW camp in WW2?

Can someone identify this stamp in a Bible that allowed my roommate's Grandpa to keep it in a POW camp in WW2? Normally Bibles would have been forbidden but apparently this stamp that was inspected ...
22
votes
2answers
5k views

Is [mathematical] 'analysis' in Japanese the same word as 'fine cuisine' in Japanese?

According to the Fields medal winner Cédric Villani, in the Japanese language the word 'analysis' is (I quote) "the same word" as the word for 'fine cuisine'. Such can be seen in a video of a ...
22
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4answers
4k views

Is there an easily accessible list of terms in the Japanese grammar written both in Japanese and English?

I am a native Japanese speaker with a casual interest in languages. I sometimes have trouble explaining the Japanese grammar in English because I do not know the established English translation of ...
21
votes
2answers
37k views

What does さあ (saa) mean?

I have seen this term used a lot in many different ways. 「さあ、忘れましょうその未来が」 saa, wasuremashou sono mirai ga — in this sense, I assume it means "come". But I have also seen it used as 「でもさあ」 demo saa — ...
20
votes
4answers
19k views

Difference between そうです、 ようです and らしいです.

Here are the example sentences. デイビットは料理が上手そうです。 デイビットは料理が上手なようです。 デイビットは料理が上手らしいです。 Firstly, what does デイビット mean as based on reading alone its sounds like 'debit' to me which is a strange name ...
20
votes
1answer
7k views

How do I politely ask my boss for a moment of his time?

My boss is a native Japanese speaker. In English, when I have a question or an issue to bring up, I can ask "Do you have a minute?" to see if it is an appropriate time to interrupt them. In Japanese,...
20
votes
4answers
6k views

When did you last…?

I am searching for a way to ask a question like "When did you last see her?" or "When did you last do the laundry?, or also "When did we last meet?" Basically, how do you construct a question with ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

Is it true that the meaning of あ可よろし is unknown?

One of the cards in a Hanafuda deck looks like this: The character that looks like の is actually , a hentaigana for ka derived from the kanji 可. The card says あかよろし, not あのよろし. According to ...
19
votes
3answers
22k views

What does よろしくおねがいします mean when departing?

When on business in Japan last year, a Japanese colleague said よろしくおねがいします to me as the group were leaving after dinner. I'm aware of its usage in initial greetings, as is usually taught in textbooks,...
19
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3answers
1k views

What's bugging the Japanese language?

In my JLPT workbook, it has a section which gives a list of idioms that use [虫]{むし}. 仕事{しごと}の虫 (worker bee) 点取{てんとり}虫 (derogatory term for a student who tries too hard) 虫がいい (selfish) ...
18
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3answers
2k views

Should I use the formal form (~ます) on the buttons of an app?

I'm an iOS app developer who's learning Japanese. I want to localize my app to Japanese (make a Japanese version of it, basically). For context, my app falls into the "Utilities" category on the app ...
18
votes
2answers
9k views

What is the meaning and usage of ネタ?

For example in this phrase: 話すネタはもっていそう I translate it into "he might have some stories", but I have the impression it has many other meanings.
18
votes
1answer
2k views

ち suffix I've never heard of before

Ok, so I've been reading よつばと recently, and I've been seeing a suffix coming up that I cannot seem to find a meaning for. It's not in any dictionary, and I'm not sure if it's a name suffix, or some ...
18
votes
1answer
825 views

What does this ad say? (Connotations of ガキ大将)

This is a frequent problem that I think many Japanese learners experience. You look at some Japanese sentences, and you understand the words, and most, if not all, the grammar, and yet still, it just ...
18
votes
2answers
837 views

An interesting postcard

According to my information, this postcard was sent from Japan to Russia, and probably in 1945. Needs a translation badly and nobody has seemed to care since then. I suppose that the historical kana ...
17
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9answers
3k views

What are other language equivalents to Japanese particles?

When a person is learning は and が in terms of particles, what are the best way to relate them to English equivalents? The closest I can come to explaining them to others is "the" and "a" but I'm not ...
17
votes
4answers
8k views

What's the difference between いいえ and English's “no”?

In "Japanese for Busy People I" page 2 (kana or romaji edition) it says that いいえ is 'virtually the same as "no"'. It sounds like there are some differences, but they want to omit mentioning them for ...
17
votes
2answers
7k views

What is 〜からです and when is it used? How does it differ from 〜ですから and 〜んです?

I have seen this expression a few times, and have never quite understood it. In particular, it seems to be equatable both to ですから and to んです, but I can't figure out where it would be used over either ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

How are ambiguous “brother” and “sister” typically translated into Japanese?

Japanese has different words for "younger sibling" and "older sibling". Then how are the English words "brother" and "sister" (or any other European equivalents for that matter) typically translated ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

Difference between 書かないようになった and 書かなくなった?

Example sentences: ぜんぜん長い手紙を書かないようになった。 ぜんぜん長い手紙を書かなくなった。 My Translation: I never write long letters anymore. I believe they both mean the same thing but there's obviously some difference I don'...
17
votes
2answers
960 views

How to translate historical names which don't necessarily have an equivalent in Japanese?

What is the acceptable procedure for writing proper names in Japanese academic papers when you don't know the official Japanese translation or the katakana for it? Is there an expectation that all ...
16
votes
1answer
4k views

What does ルツクハ mean?

I found this written on a blue bottle. What does it mean? ルツクハ
16
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3answers
1k views

Japanese idiom equivalent to “take with a grain of salt”

Is there a Japanese idiom equivalent to "take with a grain of salt"? In other words, an idiom which means "don't accept this information as completely true or the complete truth".
16
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3answers
1k views

Blue blistering barnacles, what is Captain Haddock saying?

For those who might not be familiar with the series Tintin (soon to be in a major motion picture, by the way), there is a character named Captain Haddock who is famous for shouting out colourful ...
16
votes
2answers
9k views

How to say: “I am returning your call”

Title says it all! If somebody called and left a message, when calling them back, is there a set expression for that? I generally just use "さっきにお電話頂いた...", but wondering if there is a more idiomatic ...
16
votes
1answer
4k views

What do you mean, “In Japanese there are no words for ”I’m suffering“”?

Today I noticed this article about eating disorders in Japan, which I got to via the News on Japan site. The first line jumps out at me. Supposedly, in an interview, a 25 year old Japanese woman ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

What do you call young animals in Japanese?

In English we have a lot of very specific words for many animals. Male foxes are known as reynards or tods, female foxes are known as vixens, and baby foxes are known as kits. It's not an isolated ...
15
votes
1answer
3k views

Meaning behind adding 'め' after someone's name?

I've come across this once or twice where people will say someone's name and then add 'め' in an irritable/victorious tone [e.g: ヒカルめ, マコトめ, etc.], but I've yet to find a textbook example explaining ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Saying “to miss” (“I missed you over the weekend”)

What's the best way to say "to miss" in the sense of feeling a longing for something, or that something pleasant is missing? I understand there's [懐]{なつ}かしむ, but it seems to me that, like 懐かしい, is ...
15
votes
2answers
776 views

What is the correct veritable meaning of 水無月 and 神無月?

This question is the result of a conversation with Chocolate in chat, and also this Japanese calendar I have that lists the months according to the traditional Japanese names. For some reason, there ...
15
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5answers
2k views

Understanding the usage of もう with present tense verbs

I think when a lot of people first learn もう it's as "already', right? There's also the meanings of "anymore", "soon", "now", "more', "another" and its use as an interjection. That's a lot of meaning ...
14
votes
6answers
4k views

My Japanese is rusty

While it sounds perfectly alright when said in English, as in "My English is rusty", is there an equivalent in Japanese language? I have used this line before when I said "私の日本語は錆びている" and "...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

What does “齓” mean?

I've found this kanji during Shodo practice. My teacher (Japanese) didn't know the meaning (she recognized the Tooth bushu/radical but not the "word"). I tried to look it up on the electronic ...
14
votes
1answer
3k views

How to translate ‘To be or not to be, that is the question’

This is not a 100% serious question, but I find it interesting. How could we translate in Japanese the famous sentence from Hamlet? The absence of be as a verb makes it challenging. I saw the ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

What does the sentence structure AでもB mean in this song?

The song in question can be found here. For example: いっぽんでもニンジン While I do know that でも means 'but', I also know that most particles have multiple meanings. Since 'but' wouldn't make much sense ...
14
votes
1answer
598 views

How are musical beats counted?

In English, it is common to count beats of music using numbers for the beats and certain filler syllables for further subdivisions. What is the most common way to count beats in Japanese? Adding some ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

No word for “time” until 1871?

In a German newspaper article an interviewed professor says: For a long time the Japanese didn't have any interest in clocks: Until 1871, there hadn't even been a word for time and therefore no ...
13
votes
4answers
9k views

What does イケメン mean?

I am in a Japanese 101 class. We are supposed to translate the following sentence: 日本ぶんかの先生は、イケメンですが、ぜんぜんやさしくないですから、あまり好きじゃありません。 I am having trouble with that word イケメン. So far, I have: The ...
13
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4answers
3k views

How would you translate this? バタコチーズライス

So I'm working on translating a short recipe that I found online. The title calls it バタコチーズライス. I know that バタ is "butter", チーズ is "cheese", and ライス is "rice", but I can't for the life of me figure ...
13
votes
7answers
818 views

IT system renewal: Can I say 更新 for “renewal”?

I am starting a new project and have to come up with a name for it so that everybody knows what we are talking about. The project is the renewal of an IT application that I will call エックスワイゼッド. ...
13
votes
9answers
2k views

How to say “What's it to you?” in Japanese?

What would be appropriate expressions or idioms to convey the typical English response: What's it to you? (in a sense that goes somewhere between "None of your business" and "This is not your ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

よかろう - What does it mean? Where does it come from?

This is another question that's come from a 昔話。 We have the following section: 大きい箱と小さい箱がありますが、どちらがいいですか。 どちらも結構じゃが、どうしてもと言うのなら、小さいほうでよかろう。 I'm having trouble with the second sentence. My ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Asahi Dry Black beer can

What does ビアホール仕立ての黒 on Asahi Dry Black means? Specifically 仕立て(sewing?) and ビアホール(via hole?). I tried searching it on japanese web, but it's kinda assumed as common knowledge and never mentioned ...
13
votes
1answer
4k views

How would you say “x says hi” in Japanese?

I've given this some thought but due to both my lack of knowledge in Japanese (still studying atm, although in Japan for a year so that should improve) and just not being able to come up with anything ...