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Sunday, April 08, 2012

Translating JAPANESE


Japanese holds third place in terms of languages spoken worldwide surpassed only by English and Chinese. In regard to economic power Japan and China are both important market for translations.

121 million people live in Japan and Japanese is spoken by 125 million people around the world and uses double byte characters much like Chinese. In fact, many of the characters written in Japanese are the same in Chinese. However in speaking the pronunciation of these two languages are completely different.

As a freelance translator writing the Japanese there are three important character sets you must know. The first two; Katakana and Hiragana, use characters that represent awful syllable. Katakana is used more for recent additions to the Japanese language, names and foreign words. Hiragana on the other hand, is used for simple words, articles of speech and verb conjugation.

The third character set is called Kanji, which was brought to Japan by the Buddhist monks more than 1,200 years ago from China. Today the influence of this character set can be seen although in a much more simplified form. In Kanji, each character represents a complete word and is the predominant character set of most Japanese text.

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