Translate Romaji for better English translations


A Feature Article by Reggie Dentmore on LearnMMD.comCan I translate Romaji for a better translation into English? What is Romaji? Why does Google Translate not work on Japanese? How can I read Japanese text in English?

Grab your Japanese-to-English Dictionary
to Translate Romaji into English!

Anyone who has tried to use Google Translate to translate Japanese text into English knows that “Translate” doesn’t work very well with Japanese! Usually you can make out an idea of the intended information … but, sometimes, the Google translation makes no sense, at all.

The Japanese language is not structured like English … and Translate is not able to “use its brain” to reorganize the thoughts expressed in Japanese writing. In English we might say ” I went to the store to buy a book.” But, in Japenese, the “object of the sentence” is first and the “main verb” is last. So, in Japanese we’d need to reconfigure our sentence to be “Book at the bookstore to buy I went.” … or “Book at the bookstore I went to buy”, depending on what you feel is the most important verb: Went or Buy. … Or you might phrase it as “Bookstore to buy a book I went.” if Bookstore was more important than Book in your sentence. Google Translate can’t make much sense of it.

BUT … Google Translate offers a solution. Right below the box where you pasted your Japanese text, is a translation in Romaji, the English-spelling equivalent of the Japanese phonetics.

Google Translate gives you the Romaji of your Japanese text ... better you should translate the Romaji, yourself!

The Romaji is what you can translate, yourself, using a Japanese-to-English dictionary. Go carefully word by word to discern the meaning of each phrase. Note that the Japanese love compound words and so a longer word may be several short words banged-together! (I have an anime that is described on the sleeve as a Bangaihen! … An action-love-perverted  anime … Bang Ai Hen. (It’s the Tenchi-Muyo Special “Mihoshi’s Space Adventure”.)

Japanese is very contextual … meaning that some words have different meanings depending on the situation at hand. This means that you have to view the entire phrase or sentence … or the entire paragraph … as a whole, before you can go back in to decipher the actual meaning of each word. THAT’s why Google Translate can’t do a proper job of it. “Translate” assembles the meanings of the word groups without being able to “understand” the “meaning” of the paragraph … so we get a literal translation showing us one of the possible meanings of some of the words “out of context” … no feeling for the proper definition of the words as per the intended meaning of the sentence.

YOU, however, have a brain. Open that dictionary and work your way through the Romaji to create your own translation from Japanese into English.


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