Introducing the Japanese Correction Service (JCS): get feedback on your Japanese writing

By | October 5, 2020

I’m always on the lookout for different ways to help people throughout the world improve their Japanese. For example, a few months ago I started experimenting with free online classes, and I also have a series of articles about practicing writing in Japanese (Japanese Writing Lab).

After having an exchange with one of my readers over email, I was inspired to try introducing a new service––Japanese Correction Service (JCS). In JCS, I give feedback on your writing in Japanese in exchange for an inexpensive purchase (one of my books). Here is how it works:

  1. Decide on what Japanese text of yours you would like me to look over. You can use anything you’ve written for learning purposes, including something you did for Japanese Writing Lab or for a class (please avoid anything from a class that would be considered cheating, though). I am also open to providing feedback on short fiction. Please keep the text to roughly one page.
  2. Send me an email (to selftaughtjapanese (at) gmail.com) with either:
    1. A link to a Google Doc with the text where I have been given edit and comment access. [greatly preferred]
    2. The text you want me to look at in the body of the email.
  3. Once I agree to help you look over the text, please purchase one of my Ebooks on Amazon, which are all $0.99 – $2.99, and let me know which you have purchased. (Note: I reserve the right to refuse texts, but I do not generally expect to do this. I may refuse if I determine the text is mostly/completely error free and you would not get much out my feedback.)
  4. Once I get confirmation of the purchase I will proceed to look over your text. Generally I expect to respond between one day to a week, but if I get a lot of requests it may take longer. If you have specific timeline you’d like to get feedback by, let me know. If send a Google Doc, I will use comments and/or edits to explain suggested changes, and if possible give reasons why something is incorrect or awkward. If you just used email I will try to quote awkward/incorrect sections and give some help to improve them.
  5. I’ll let you know once I have done a first pass through and you can make changes based on my feedback if you like. If you do, I can eventually make a final pass to see if there was anything I missed or anything new that was introduced by your changes.

While it isn’t a required part of the deal, of course I hope that you are able to read and enjoy whichever work of mine you chose.

As for the target audience, I am aiming mostly for those who have been studying Japanese a few years or less (beginner/intermediate), though even if you have studied for longer and feel uncomfortable with your writing, that is OK. I just would prefer not to get advanced texts such as scientific papers intended for journals or other works which require specialized domain knowledge to properly understand.

Examples of things I will be looking for to provide feedback on are:

  • Correct usage of particles and verb tenses.
  • Correct use of Katakana, Hiragana, and Kanji
  • Correct use of vocabulary words, expressions, including nuances
  • Avoiding unnecessary words (subjects, objects, etc.)
  • Consistency (using desu/masu form throughout, etc.)
  • Politeness (this will depend on the content)
  • Overly wordy or hard to understand sentences

Depending on the number of issues I find, I may give priority to those I feel are the most serious or the most clear-cut, as opposed to pointing out every little thing.

Like my online classes, please consider this an experimental service that may change or be cancelled at any time. Generally I will work on texts on a first-come-first-serve basis, and if I get too many entries I may put the reception of new entries on pause.

I will consider allowing one person participating multiple times, depending on how many people are currently in the queue.

(Note: picture of a mobile device with pencils and erasers taken from Pexels.com)

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