For Japanese translation, it is important to know that the Modern Japanese language uses four different types of scripts, so when choosing a Japanese translator it is important that they are immersed in the language and know each instance for which the scripts are used.

Kanji are characters of Chinese origin, usually used to write nouns, stems of adjectives and verbs, as well as Japanese names. Hiragana is phonetic syllabary, usually used to write inflectional endings of adjectives and verbs. Hiragana is also used for Japanese words which have no kanji or for words the intended readership probably will not know the kanji. Katakana is another phonetic syllabary used to write foreign words and Japanese words that originated in another language (besides Chinese). Ramaji are Roman characters used to write acronyms like NATO. Ramaji is also used for Japanese words or names intended for use outside Japan, like on passports or brand names.

When translating place names, companies, and other products where Ramaji is not used, care must be taken with these words by a Japanese translator. When translating names into an ideographic language the translator needs to take care that the resulting characters (each of which have a meaning of their own) do not result in a word that is nonsensical or negative. It is also important that the translator know the correct pronunciation of the names they are translating. If they do not, then it will be impossible to translate them phonetically.

This also causes a problem for a Japanese translator when trying to translate via automated web sites. Many of these sites can translate word to word but not colloquialisms or longer words, and will not translate places or names. On a company’s own web site, the web developer should be contacted to make sure that Japanese characters can be supported on the web site. Multi-lingual systems should be designed so that clients from other countries can view web content and purchase a company’s products or services.

One option may be to hire a professional language translation company when in need of a Japanese translator. Reputable companies use translators who are immersed in the native language and a proof-reader in the original language to check place names and to check for errors. Often business material to be translated is very technical; there are translators available who specialise in technical translation. Specialist translators must understand, conceptually, the business specifics in order to translate it correctly and so that the foreign reader can understand the translated material.

Professional translators and agencies that have a proficient understanding of a particular subject are able to work fast with fewer errors. It is worth spending the time to find a reputable company capable of carrying out all your Japanese document translation requirements.

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