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Software localisation

To be user-friendly and intuitive, interfaces need the most appropriate words to describe their functionality. This means that the translator needs to understand the software’s functionality in order to translate properly. Think about translating...

What’s in a name?

Don’t be alarmed if a translator working from Japanese to English asks you how to pronounce (or read) a personal or place name. This isn’t a sign that they lack basic knowledge of the language, but rather a comment on how complex Japanese names can be. The...

How is Japanese written?

Japanese uses three alphabets: kanji, derived from Chinese pictograms, and hiragana and katakana (collectively referred to as kana) two phonetic alphabets made up of simpler glyphs. 薔薇 (kanji) バラ (katakana) ばら (hiragana) rose Katakana is most often used for foreign...

Mind the gap

Japanese sounds do not map perfectly onto English ones, which is no real surprise with two such different languages. This can lead to problems when Japanese words are rendered in English – especially personal and place names. 松本 Matsumoto Matumoto (pronounced...

How are Japanese words written in English?

Japanese can be written in English letters using a system called romanisation, which maps Japanese sounds onto the Latin alphabet. There are several varieties of romanisation which produce slightly different versions of the same Japanese word due to differences in how...