We could just learn Japanese


  • Member

    We should all learn Japanese. Then we would not need translators.


  • Member

    @srk9 speaking one thing , learning new alphabet is so hard. And Japans have 3 :D ashdgasd
    so i really wanna learn but when i think about it , i ask myself "maybe one is not enough but two is not enough either??? , i mean they are not social people."


  • Premium Member

    @hopebestman Personally, I don't find the different writing systems too bad. Hiragana and Katakana you can learn over a week each. Kanji is the time consumer, but if you do it smartly, it's not too bad. For me it's the grammar that I find difficult.


  • Premium Member

    @timmaaah unfortunately it is totally the other way around for me. Grammar, vocabulary and usage are rather easy - like with English. You just start to think Japanese. But books... from what I have seen in preview pages they do not support those Kanji -> Katakana/Hiragana helpers which you find in manga... Otherwise it would be a different story for me...


  • Premium Member

    Hiragana and Katakana aren't too difficult to learn, it's Kanji that's the sudden wall that people slam into.


  • Premium Member

    Personally, I find that Kanji actually makes reading easier. It helps break up the words since there are no spaces in Japanese text and there is nothing worse than just getting a block of Hiragana to read with no Kanji to help separate things out.
    However learning Kanji is a slow road, at least for me. I know just over 1000 Kanji, but still struggle when I pick up a light novel because there are still so many that I don't know. Manga isn't so bad since there is usually Furigana, and the vocabulary and complexity aren't too difficult either.


  • Premium Member

    @serah said in Why do translations take so long?:

    But books... from what I have seen in preview pages they do not support those Kanji -> Katakana/Hiragana helpers which you find in manga

    That depends on the market; Furigana aren't always used unless the kanji is "too advanced" for the intended market. Books targeting teens would use more than books targeting university students.


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    One of my issues is that while I already know "kanji" due to being Chinese, I have to put the scare quotes around "kanji" because the actual kanji characters sometimes have different meanings to Chinese hanzi, and I have no idea which.

    And of course, I know it with the Mandarin pronunciation, and not the Japanese pronunciation. So quite often I have to check the kana around that kanji, and then guess the meaning from the kanji-equivalent hanzi, and from there check my memories of anime to see if there's an oft-said phrase that matches.


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    When it comes to katakana I have a hard time telling the difference between 'n' and 'so'. Sometimes I can't tell the direction the 2nd line is flowing (especially with some printed fonts where they don't put marks in to aid with telling the "direction" the 2nd line is flowing). And sometimes 'ri' is written in a way that it looks like a 'n' or 'so' when some people have really bad handwriting. Other than that I learned hiragana and katakana over 20 years ago and reading it is like riding a bike to me.

    Kanji is my weak point myself. I've been told it takes knowing around 1800 kanji to be considered literate.


  • Premium Member

    Kanji is everyone's weakness. It's not enough to learn vocab words, you have to learn them twice. It creates a disconnect between spoken Japanese and written Japanese and you have to bridge it in order to really progress.


  • Member

    Huge modern day advantage nowadays is that you pick up any digital device outside of Japan and they can immediately display Japanese language contents and a quick configuration away to enable Japanese text input. It was unthinkable not too long time ago.

    I remember the day that I paid like $300 for a copy of Japanese edition of MacOS for the Mac I bought in US.


  • Premium Member

    @saffire However the advantage of Kanji is it helps remove ambiguity that is riddled throughought Japanese. If you only rely on phoenetics it introduces a lot of potential ambiguity. Some Japanese humor relies on these ambiguities.

    I've seen multiple instances where the reader knows what was intended because of the Kanji used in dialog but the other person participating in the dialog uses a different kanji pronounced the same or extremely close and acts on that miscommunication. This humor can often cause problems for translators figuring out how to represent it in different languages.


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    I'm working on it. I'd love to have the fluency to read LNs and manga. Right now it's hit or miss. I either completely understand everything on the page or I need a dictionary every other word.

    Kanji isn't so bad once you get a feel for it. General vocabulary is what I'm lacking at the moment. I'm sure a deeper understanding of the grammar is needed but at my current skill I need to memorize more words before I really study grammar any further. I have a few hundred LNs and hope to read them all someday. I'm planning to work through them in the hopes to improve my comprehension.


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    It's a big time investment for something I will never use outside entertainment.


  • Translators

    @unsynchedcheese It's late and I need attention, so I'm just gonna pitch in my poorly valued two cents.
    In my personal opinion, you're probably in the best position to reach a proficiency level where you can comfortably consume Japanese media on your own. If your Mandarin vocab is solid, then it's not too much effort to convert it all into Japanese. Then, you just need to grind enough to internalize their grammar and you'll be set.
    In fact, on-yomi of most kanji follows the same pattern as Chinese, which is just a plain freebie. Like, if a couple of hanzi have the same pronunciation in Mandarin (ignoring tone), they likely have the same on-yomi pronunciation in Japanese as well.

    I speak from experience, because I walked a similar road. Mandarin -> Japanese -> English while forgetting all my Japanese -> picking Japanese back up.


  • Premium Member

    @hiroto This is a prime example of why I really should work harder on learning Japanese so I can read the source material. Unfortunately my language comprehension stat has a negative correction on it and capped at a G rank, while my computation skill is SS rank. Almost wish I could switch those around.


  • Translators

    @Chalax I don't think in general that people will have meaningful intrinsic strengths or weaknesses when it comes to language learning. It all comes down to understanding some core learning principles (Stephen Krashen's input hypothesis for example) and studying in effective, efficient ways on a daily basis. If you feel like you're bad at language learning I will say with almost certain confidence that you're just not studying properly (e.g. using a trash site like Rosetta Stone) and/or giving up very quickly instead of doing daily study for multiple years. There's some extreme cases like feral children not having the capacity for language, but in general anyone can learn a language and very few people actually have poor aptitude for language learning. Usually the problem is just how generally misunderstood the process of learning a language is.

    It all comes down to how language interacts with memory. The core idea of language learning is how long-term retention is related to constant exposure to meaningful input. As Stephen Krashen discusses in his i+1 framing, we must engage wit--- (rest redacted for Rahul's sanity)


  • Premium Member

    @Quof When I was in the Air Force, I was fortunate enough to land a job in a career field who's primary function/trait was learning how to learn quickly. In my case, the best way for me to learn and retain is total immersion in a moderately stressful environment (survival school/active mission time). I got deployed to Okinawa/Kadena Air Base for 3 months and did pretty well in picking up the language verbally, enough so that I could watch anime on TV and understand what younger characters were saying (adults were much more difficult to understand though). That said, I never learned a single character of hirigana/katakana while I was there, though I wish I had gotten the chance as it probably would have stuck with me pretty well.

    I'm open to suggestions from people on what has worked for them as I'm trying to get the basics down with DuoLingo at the moment. Once I actually have the basics down, the director of the anime convention I help run has classes for learning Japanese that I'm looking to start taking once it's actually safe to even have those classes.


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    I spent about a year and a half studying with decent consistency but was only at N5 level. I realized my studying left me very little time to actually read light novels, and so I stopped studying. I had no real goal outside of consumption of entertainment. Not wanted time though as it was fun and it's always good to challenge your brain


  • Premium Member

    In my case, I basically wanted to read manga where the translations were poor, slow, or nonexistent, so I learned to read Japanese... by reading manga. I was aided in this by 1) the self-study I'd done in high school that failed to help me get an A past my first semester as a Japanese major (apparently one needs to continue studying instead of resting on one's laurels. Who knew?) and 2) a wonderful little program call KanjiTomo that made looking up words in manga so much quicker (it's got some limitations - for instance the reason it's pretty good at recognizing common kanji is because it doesn't know any rare ones...). Later I was able to move onto WNs and LNs, though I really can't read them at any more than quarter the speed I read English. I tried doing flashcards with Anki early on but it didn't do much for me.

    TL;DR: Don't learn Japanese to read comics, read comics to learn Japanese.


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