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Japanese Dialects and Language Translation Software

ItWhen you translate Japanese it is important to remember that there are three major Japanese dialects. Learning more about dialects can be important when working with language translation and language translation software.
Japanese is spoken by over 130 million people worldwide. Pronunciation and usage of the spoken Japanese language varies between countries, but regional differences are not so great as to make the language unintelligible to speakers from different areas.
The differences between the three major dialects of Japanese are about the same as the difference between British and American English.

What is a Dialect?

A dialect refers to the differences in a language from one geographical or social area to another. A dialect applies to the vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation characteristics of a particular area or region.

English Dialects / American English Compared to UK English

The differences between Standard Italian and many of the dialects can be thought of as being similar to the differences between English in the US and in the United Kingdom. While the language can be understood by speakers of either dialect, there are words and pronunciations which vary. For example, the UK speaker may say, “I need to go to the market and buy some tinned meat.” Here in the US we would say “I need to go to the market and by some canned tuna.” While the UK speaker referrers to “canned” items as “tinned”, you can still get the idea of what they are saying.

Systran’s Language Translation Software has built in the ability to translate by using either British English or American English to account for the two major English dialects.

Spoken Japanese Dialects

There are three main dialects of the Japanese language. They are: Tokyo-type, Western-type, and the lesser used Kyushu-type.

Written Japanese

When working with translation software you will pay more attention to written Japanese than the spoken dialects.

Written Japanese has a much larger alphabet than the English language.

Japanese uses 4 distinct alphabets:

  • Kanji - used to write parts of the Japanese language such as nouns, adjective stems and verb stems.
  • Hiragana - used to write inflected verbs and adjective endings (okurigana), particles, native Japanese words, and words where the kanji is too difficult to read or remember.
  • Katakana - used for representing onomatopoeia and non-Japanese loanwords.
  • Romaji - is the romanization of Japanese using the Latin alphabet to write the Japanese language.

What is Localization?

Localization is when you modify the translation for a certain dialect, region or culture. With Japanese this can even include using colors which can have a lot of symbolism.

Systran’s translation software and Japanese Language

You can easily customize the Japanese translation by training the software to recognize different words by building your own custom dictionaries and building translation memory.

See all Japanese Translation Software


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