Category Archives: translation

What’s the difference between a 翻訳者 (‘honyausha’) and 翻訳家 (‘honyakuka’)?

In recent years I’ve gradually transitioned from simply learning Japanese to becoming deeply interested in Japanese to English translation. Besides actually doing a lot of translations myself, I have been trying to understand how to talk about translation in Japanese, in particular understanding the nuances of various terms related to translation. As you may already… Read More »

Talking about ways of doing things in Japanese with 〜かた (~kata)

When you first learn a foreign language, you might be frustrated (or at least challenged) by how it differs from your native language. But the more you study, the more you’ll find aspects unique to that language that allow you to express things in convenient ways. In Japanese, by using the suffix かた (sometimes written… Read More »

Japanese word 我慢 (gaman): putting up with it

The Japanese word “gaman”, often written in kanji as 我慢 (or sometimes in hiragana as がまん)、is one of those words that seems conceptually simple, but doesn’t always have an easy English equivalent. “Gaman” is fundamentally about suppressing or putting up with some emotion or desire. Similarly, it can also have a nuance of enduring of… Read More »

Adverbial “~ku”(〜く)form of Japanese i-adjectives (and challenges of translating them)

Compared to English, I feel that Japanese is a grammatically pure language, meaning that there are less complex grammar rules, and those rules can be used more freely without becoming ungrammatical or awkward. For example, Japanese has much fewer verb tenses than English, and factors such as the subject are not taken into account when… Read More »

Japanese word highlight: 相談 (soudan)

In this post, I’d like to focus on the word 相談 (そうだん / soudan) for two reasons: it’s high frequency in business-level Japanese and the fact it doesn’t have a great single-world (one-size-fits-all) translation in English. I’d like to begin the explanation by giving the Japanese definition of the word from Dictionary Goo, followed by… Read More »

Confusing Japanese loanword: エール (Eeru)

As you’ve probably already discovered, Japanese has a huge number of loanwords, especially from English––and that number seems to be increasing fast. Fortunately, a majority of these can be guessed from context if you can manage to match them up to their original word by sound. But some of them are hard to guess because… Read More »

“The Allure” sample voice narration (from “Tales of the Disturbed” short story collection)

Recently I announced the release of my latest ebook, “Tales of the Disturbed”, a collection of short stories I have translated from the classic Japanese author Yoshio Toyoshima (豊島与志雄). As part of the editing process I was reading parts of the stories out loud, and after doing this for a while I realized that it… Read More »

The making of “Tales of the Disturbed” (Japanese classic literature translation)

I recently announced my latest ebook “Tales of the Disturbed”, and in this article I’d like to talk a little more about the process involved in producing the book. To be honest, I don’t remember where I first discovered the author Yoshio Toyoshima (豊島与志雄, Japanese wikipedia page). I do know that it took a few… Read More »