The Japanese language and its tricks
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Until the very end:
An initial problem beginners run into when learning Japanese involves the language’s Subject-Object-Verb sentence structure. As an example, there are no rules stipulating where in the sentence the noun, direct object, or any modifiers should be. This has to do with the fact that individual sentence parts are governed by predicates, which hold almost all of a sentence’s important grammatical information. In a Japanese sentence, the predicate describes who does something, whether or not the action is active or passive, in what tense the action takes place, and the relationship between the speaker and listener. As a result, you have to hear or read every sentence all the way through before you can even begin to make sense of it.
Selection times three:
The Japanese language has three different writing systems which must be mastered in order to be able to read and write the language. The two "local" scripts, Hiragana and Katakana, each consist of 60 different characters, which represent syllables. Hiragana is used for everyday writing while Katakana is only used to express non-Japanese words such as "Computer" or names such as "Google". In addition to these writing systems, there still remains Kanji, a character script adopted from China. Each Kanji character has various Japanese and Chinese “readings” and can be put together with other Kanji characters to form a compound word. There are far more than 5000 different Kanji characters with thousands upon thousands of possible combinations which a native speaking Japanese person couldn’t even learn. Therefore, you will find at least one Kanji dictionary in every Japanese household, that is referenced anytime you stumble across a character combination in a newspaper or book you can’t read.
It goes: polite, more polite, Japanese:
Japanese are known to be very polite. This comes across in the language as well. There is a kind of courtesy language, called Keigo, which actually contains its own words and its own grammatical forms. While Keigo is relatively easy to learn in terms of its different forms and vocabulary, its application is somewhat complicated due to varying levels of politeness in Japanese. For example, a boy would speak in an informal and familiar style with his sister, very close friends, and family, but with less close friends, neighbors, or random acquaintances, he would quickly change to a slightly formal style. If someone calls an office, a higher Keigo would be spoken to show respect. However, if you go into a restaurant, the servers speak to you as if you were of much higher social status while you can place order with simple politeness.
These differences in politeness are often minimal and can quickly lead to problems. If you sound too rude, the speaking partner could see it as a type of insult. However, if you choose an unnecessarily high level of politeness, it comes across as sarcastic and overbearing. Therefore, Keigo, along with learning Kanji, is one of the largest and most difficult obstacles for foreigners who are interested in learning and applying the Japanese language.
On the safe side with our translation agency
If you want to be sure of conversations with clients and business partners, you should let your English documents be translated by native speaking translators. This ensures that the text strikes the right chord. Working with the translation agency Fasttranslator always puts you on the safe side, because we work exclusively with academically trained, native speaking translators. If you have any questions about the Japanese language or would like a customized quote, just email us the document you would like translated or give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you!
How much does a translation into Japanese cost?
The standard rate for translations from English into Japanese is $ 0,27 per word and for translations from Japanese into English the industry rate is $ 0,24. For new customers or large texts (more than 5,000 words) we may significantly reduce our rates. For urgent jobs that need several translators working simultaneously, we'll apply a surcharge. For a full list of rates per language, please visit Rates table for most requested language combinations.
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