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.


  • Premium Member

    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.


  • Premium Member

    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.


  • Premium Member

    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.


  • Premium Member

    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.