Languages have different vocabulary and grammar for different areas (or “domains” as I call them), for example newspapers, popular novels, and Internet forums. This can be frustrating because being knowledgable in one domain doesn’t mean you’ll have an easy time in another. But the plus side is that once you learn some common phrases and structures in a new domain you’ll start understanding things better there.
Marketing-––language you would see on advertisements, brochures and the like––is one domain that its own set of phrases. In this post I’d like to go over the phrase “詳しくはこちら” (kuwashiku wa kochira), which you are likely to come across if you do any Internet browsing of Japanese websites.
For beginner students of Japanese it may be hard to pick apart the words of phrases and sentences. So first let’s see what words comprise this expression:
- 詳しく (kuwashiku)
- は (written “ha”, but pronounced “wa” in this phrase)
- こちら (kochira)
Now let’s go over these one at time.
“Kuwashiku” is a form of “kuwashii”, an adjective that means “detailed” or “knowledgable”. The “~ku” form can be used in a few different ways, but for our purposes we can consider it as an adverb, meaning it describes how an action is done. You can translate this literally as “detailedly”, but this word isn’t very common in English.
“Wa” here is the topic particle. This is one of the trickier particles to master in Japanese, but for out purposes we can understand it as meaning “as for…”. You can see a few articles I wrote about it here and here, and I also cover it in my particle quiz book.
The word “kochira” has a few meanings, but they are all related to being close to the speaker: “here”, “this”, “I” or “we”. In this specific case “here” is the most applicable definition. Another phrase with the same meaning is “kochira e douzo” which you might hear at a restaurant, and can be understood as “over here please”.
Now if we stick together the meanings of these three words (as a badly programmed machine translator might do), we would end up with:
- As for detailedly, here
Despite the fact this is an awkward translation, given the context of a net advertisement you might already be able to figure out what it means.
In order to have a complete understanding (and be able to make a natural translation), you should know that “詳しくは” can be considered as a shortening as the fragment “詳しく知るには” (kuwashiku shiru ni wa), which means “in order to learn/know in a detailed fashion…”
This still may leave some confusion, since there is no final verb in the sentence. This is not surprising since Japanese tends to omit “unneeded” words, and limited screen space gives another reason to abbreviate things. The full implied meaning behind “詳しくはこちら” can be understood by this sentence:
- 詳しく知るにはこちらをクリックしてください (kuwashiku shiru ni wa kochira o kurikku shite kudasai)
If we ignore the context (a potentially small web ad), we can translate this verbosely as:
- For details, please click here.
By the way, while I have included the word “please” here, I think most natural translations would omit this because it is uncommon to use such politeness in English in this setting (in contrast to Japanese, where it is typical).
I did a quick survey of some Internet ads to see what types of phrases are used for this situation. It depends on the product or service, but some examples are: “Click here”, “Details”, “Get it”, “Buy now”, and “Learn more”. Some ads will just use icons such as arrows or mouse cursors to convey this idea, though.
By the way, the grammatical construction “~ku adjective” + “wa” is not that common, except for when a form of “nai” follows it (ex: “samuku wa nai”, which has the nuance that “It isn’t cold[, but it is…]”)
Another similar phrase you can find on the Internet is ”詳細はこちら” (shousai wa kochira), which has essentially the same meaning. “詳細” is a noun that means “details” so the grammar is a bit more straightforward.