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2019.05.20

Translation in general

Does your brand speak proper Japanese or do you still use Google translate?


The most commonly used langue online is English. That is probably obvious to everyone. But which languages are next? According to Wikipedia English is followed by Russian and German on place 2 and 3. Japanese ranks on place 6 with 3,4 % of the top 10 million websites in the world being in Japanese.

Japanese people do not speak English

There are a lot of countries with decent English skills but unfortunately, Japan isn’t one of them. According to a research conducted by Cross Marketing Group, about 72% of Japanese people aged 20–49 said they either “cannot speak English” (41.6%) or “can only string together some words” (30.4%) (http://economic.jp/?p=29982).

If your site is not available in e.g. German, most Germans can read the English version. If your site is not available in Japanese only a small portion of the Japanese population can understand the English version. You miss out on several millions of possible clients. In Japan, 93,3 % of the population use the internet. By localizing your online content into Japanese you can potentially reach almost the whole nation.

No one in Japan will find your English site

Most Japanese internet users search for Japanese terms when they do online research unless they are looking for something very specific. If your site is not in Japanese it will never pop up in a search query for a Japanese term.

So even the 28% of the population that could potentially read your English website will probably never find it. And even if they would find it, having a website in their mother tongue will provide them with a more pleasant customer experience and make your content more engaging for them.

But Google translate doesn’t do the trick

If you cannot invest in a professional Japanese translation you might think about trying to use a machine translation. Whereas machine translation has reached a certain level when it comes to translating languages that are quite similar, like English and German. The machine translation level for languages that are not similar at like English to Japanese still has a long way to go.

If you use machine translation you will end up with not only unnatural translations but also translations that can be misleading. I once saw the English sentence “The menu is out of the tax” on an English menu in a Japanese restaurant. It was most probably a machine translation. What they wanted to say is, that the prices on the menu do not include tax, however, with this sentence, you could also interpret it in a way that the menu is tax-free.

If you use machine translation for your Japanese translations, your Japanese might end up just like that. You hire experts to write articles for your site and spent a lot of time editing and refining them to make your brand message come across. By using a machine translation all this effort will be for nothing.

And do not forget that a machine translation will never be able to refine your text in terms of SEO for the Japanese market.

Human translation is the only option

 If you hire experts to write your content you also have to hire experts to translate your content.

With over 40 Japanese native speakers transeuro can provide natural-sounding Japanese translations of your content, that help you convey your brand message to the Japanese market and make sure that everything is easily understood. We will make sure that our translation fits your tone and feel.

We also plan to partner up with a Japanese SEO agency that can make your content a perfect fit for Japanese search engines. Open up your brand to a whole new world of business chances with content in Japanese. We will be there to help you along the way.

Feel free to contact us anytime via phone or through our inquiry form.

 

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