Web content is increasing exponentially and systems for producing dynamic, localized Japanese content that changes according to the viewer are becoming ever more complex.
We have developed strategies to deal with all Japanese website and web content translations, whether that be translating a small website from Japanese all the way through to translating newly authored content inside CMS systems into 35 languages, each day, on the fly.
The variety of digital content that we translate means that we have to be flexible and think originally to give our clients the most suitable service. Some clients have small amounts of high value text for translation regularly. Others have one off translation requirements that are vast.
We look at each client’s requirements and then advise on the most suitable approach, applying suitable technology to be as efficient as possible.
We have specialist teams of Japanese linguists in various fields and competences. They are experts in their industry, with relevant knowledge and experience, and we assign them to work according to their skills sets.
Although many of our Japanese linguists are located in Japan we also have a large number of mother tongue Japanese translators and interpreters dispersed all around the world. Our global Project Management presence and dispersed teams of Japanese translators means that we can offer you real advantages where you have tight turnaround requirements.
The Japanese language is an East Asian one that is spoken by about 125 million speakers, mainly in Japan, where it is the accepted national language. It is a part of member of the Japonic language family, which is related to other language groups such as Korean and some think the Altaic language family although that is debated.
Not much is known about the language’s prehistory, or even when it first surfaced in Japan. Chinese documents from the third century did record a few Japanese words, but nothing substantial appeared until the eighth century. During the Heian period from 794 to1185, Chinese had a significant influence on the phonology and vocabulary of Old Japanese. Late Middle Japanese which was used between 1185 and 1600 saw changes in some of its features when it began to edge closer to type it is now, as well the appearance of European loanwords. The standard part of the dialect moved to the Edo (modern Tokyo) region from the Kansai region in the Early Modern Japanese (EMJ) period in the early 17th century until the mid-19th century. At the end of Japan’s self-imposed isolation in 1853, loanwords from European languages into Japanese increased markedly. English loanwords particularly became frequent, and the amounts of Japanese words that have English roots have increased.
Japanese is generally known as what’s called a mora-timed, agglutinative language with relatively simple phonotactics, phonemic vowel and consonant length, a pure vowel system, and speaking lexically, a noteworthy pitch-accent. Word order in the language is usually subject–object–verb with particles that mark the grammatical function of the words, and sentence structure is laid out in a topic–comment format. Sentence-final particles get used in a bid to add emphatic or emotional impact, or to make questions. In the Japanese language Nouns will have no grammatical gender or number, and there are no articles. Verbs are conjugated, primarily for voice and tense, but not for person. The equivalents of adjectives are also conjugated. The language has a complex system of honorifics with vocabulary and verb forms to designate the status of the speaker, the listener, and people mentioned.
The language has no type of genealogical relationship with Chinese, but it makes widespread use of its characters, or kanji in writing, and a large part of its vocabulary is copied from Chinese. Along with kanji, Japanese uses two syllabic, or moraic, scripts, katakana and hiragana. Latin script is used up to a point, in imported acronyms for example, and in numeracy it is mostly Arabic numerals, alongside traditional Chinese ones. Japanese was not studied by non-Japanese until the Japanese economic bubble that occurred in the 1980s.
In the past, standard Japanese in writing, called: literary language, wasn’t the same as colloquial language. The two have dissimilar rules of grammar and some discrepancy in vocabulary. Bungo was the main way of writing until around 1900; since then kōgo slowly extended its influence and the two types were used in writing up until the 1940s. Bungo still holds some relevance for literary scholars, historians, and lawyers (thanks to several laws that survived World War II that are still written in bungo, even though there are continuing efforts to make their language modern). Kōgo is the dominant method of both writing and speaking Japanese in the present day, although bungo vocabulary and grammar are sporadically used for effect.
Universities across the world do Japanese language courses, and secondary and some primary schools across to world offer courses as well. This is remarkable considering that before the Second World War, only 65 Americans that were not of Japanese descent could read, write as well as understand Japanese.
For native speakers of English, Japanese language has always been one of the trickiest languages to learn, mainly due to its writing system.
Interest internationally in the language dates back to the 19th century but has become increasingly prevalent following economic growth as well as the global popularity of Japanese popular culture such as Pokemon and anime cartoons. Nearly four million people studied Japanese worldwide in 2012: more than 1 million Chinese people, up to 872,000 Indonesians and around 840,000 South Koreans studied it in higher and lower educational institutions. Over the last three years China increased by 26.5% and Indonesia increase by 21.8%, but South Korea experience a drop of 12.8%.
More than 90,000 foreign students went to Japanese language schools and Japanese universities, including 15,000 South Koreans and 77,000 Chinese in 2003. Local governments and NPO groups provide free Japanese language classes for people who are foreign residents, including Japanese Brazilians and people who are married to Japanese nationals. In the UK, studying of the language is sustained by the British Association for Japanese Studies.
The government provides tests to measure written and spoken comprehension of the language for second language learners; the most conspicuous is the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, which has five levels of exams, and they range from advanced to elementary. The JLPT is only offered two times a year. The Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO) organizes the Japanese Business Proficiency Test which tests the ability to understand the language in a business setting. The foundation for Kanji Aptitude Testing, which usurped the the BJT from JETRO in 2009, announced in August 2010 that their test would not be continued in 2011 due to finance.