Your website is a great ticket to the world in the digital age. The content of your website can reach millions of people around the world with a single click. As your website makes waves online, it is important that it will transcend language barriers.
Even if your audience is a thousand miles away, your content will be easier to digest if it is in the right language for your audience.
Japan has been one of the most progressive countries, and the Japanese need to understand what your website conveys in an instant.
Let your Japanese audience learn more about your content. There are ways to translate to Japanese what you want to express. Try these tips for translating your website to Japanese to connect with your audience effectively and efficiently.
1. Get to know the Japanese language
The first step if you want to translate to Japanese is to understand and get to know the language itself.
You don’t have to learn everything all at once, but understanding a few things about the Japanese language will also give you an idea of whether the translated content still has the message you want to express.
You only need to learn a few of these things to make sure your content is translated well:
- The Japanese language is complex
Before you directly translate your website, know that the Japanese language is complex and that it has a huge difference from the English language.
Unlike English, Japanese has three character sets known as Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. The most commonly used ones are Kanji and Hiragana, and they are also commonly used together in sentences.
- Japanese Pronouns
Growing up in the English language has pinpointed how simple pronouns are used. This won’t always be the case with Japanese pronouns as some of the commonly used Japanese expressions don’t provide clues to the gender used.
When you translate to Japanese formal and informal ways of saying “I” and “you” although knowing these things in depth can be useful for another discussion.
- No direct translation
English and Japanese may not have direct translations of each other. There are common English expressions that don’t have a simple or direct-to-the-point counterpart in the Japanese language, and the same goes the other way.
Each language has different linguistic origins, thus the lack of direct translation or easy translation perhaps.
- Different Word Order
When you read something in English, it does not translate directly into Japanese with the same word order. They have a totally different order from the English and other European languages.
As the western languages usually follow the subject-verb-object arrangement, it is a different case when you translate to the Japanese language as they use the subject-object-verb arrangement.
- Past and Non-past
The English language is quite easy to grasp in terms of timeframe because of the past, present, and future tense in grammar. As you translate to Japanese, they don’t pay too much attention to the timeframe as they only use past and non-past tenses in their sentences.
- No plural forms
There are no plural forms in Japanese nouns. So during translation, one must truly understand the context of the sentence so Japanese readers would find it easy to understand as they would just determine if the nouns are plural or singular upon reading.
- No word spacing
Writing words in Japanese doesn’t need spaces in between. Sentences just follow a regular pattern, making it possible for readers to differentiate Japanese words.
2. Use dependable translators
When you want everything to smoothly translate to Japanese, there are various translators you can find online. You can use these tools for quick translations. These online translators are also useful for those who already have a clue as to how the Japanese language works.
Google Translate is one of the most popular tools for language translations, and the need to translate to Japanese is under this translator’s umbrella. They have classic translations and it is quick to use as you just enter an English text with a Japanese equivalent thereafter.
Google Translate also has a vocal translator which is very useful for direct inputs. Another huge feature is that they have a scanner where you can directly scan an entire website and have them translate to Japanese everything on your site.
However, Google Translate falls under the colloquial level of translation, and they use modern languages rather than traditional ones. Overall, Google Translate is best for highly specific words, phrases, and some short texts. If your website does not have long sentences and paragraphs, Google Translate is the best for you.
Getting your hands to translate to Japanese is made easy with Microsoft Translator. They easily translate paragraphs with text or voice input. One of their strongest features is the microphone function, which instantly translates your paragraphs into another screen, easily presenting two languages.
They also have a camera viewer where it automatically translates texts from recorded photos, sites, and documents. Phrasebook from Microsoft Translate is also great for business trips and tourists for common phrases used in Japan.
3. Use other Translation Tools for Businesses and Professionals
The use of Google Translate and Microsoft Translator is great for instant website translations, but sometimes, these tools may not have an in-depth translation of what your website wants to share.
Getting these professional tools might just be the application you need for a more finesse website translation. These tools are great for longer sentences, and if your website uses various paragraphs, these tools are fit for the job.
One popular online translator is DeepL. It is great for longer sentences and some paragraphs, perfect when you nit-pick details when you translate to Japanese. This tool is great for professionals for longer texts in a more formal setting.
What makes DeepL powerful is how it doesn’t just translate everything, word for word, but uses some artificial intelligence to extract the thought and translate to Japanese what it was able to come up with, in a more natural yet professional manner.
A Russian site called Yandex Translate has been a great tool for website owners when they translate to Japanese, Korean, and other languages.
One strong feature of this website is how they provide its users with different translation modes which are Text, Document, and Site. Thus, is it simpler and easier for website owners to have their content translated into another language. Copy and paste your URL into their site, and it then instantly translates it into your desired language.
4. Hire a Professional Website Translator
There are a lot of online tools, both paid and free ones, which are very accessible right now. But nothing compares to a professional website translator.
These professionals are commonly Japanese, so they are more direct and they have more experience in really getting the job done.
A major advantage of hiring a professional translator is how they are more in-depth compared to online tools.
Westerners tend to keep minor details out of the way, but the Japanese have higher standards in general. They do mind the translated content, and they don’t shrug off minor imperfections. This is something you can’t get out of a machine-generated translation.
Fluent translators also provide the formal and informal ways of translating your website. If you want to get the job done without getting a headache yourself, do your website a favor and hire a professional translator.
5. Avoid literal translations
Text translations are okay, but when you are having a different context for some of your words or phrases, literal translations do not appeal much to most of your Japanese readers.
As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of words and phrases that do not have direct translations into the Japanese language. This is quite a challenge to translate to Japanese all your thoughts and ideas.
To make your website easier to digest for your audience, avoid these literal translations. Instead, you may opt to use transcreation to recreate your website or content in different wording.
Using a friendlier way of saying things makes your website more open, and it shows how much you appreciate your audience by adapting to how they use and say these words locally.
6. Optimize SEO in Localization
Generating more website traffic can be quite a challenge for foreign sites in Japanese culture. One way of gaining attraction is through search engine optimization.
In a sense, SEO works the same way in a usual website for Japanese translated ones. However, it needs to be optimized for searches in Japanese. Using the right keywords, by using a more specific and more accurate translation, will greatly help your website.
The trick is to translate more effectively because the wrong translations might not be more optimizing for search engines. Getting help from professionals will help you identify the right keywords for your site to rank better in search engines.
7. Get in touch with the Japanese Culture
When you hire a translator, you are already a step ahead of the ones who use an online translator. These translators are usually local, and fluent, and they are Japanese. This gives you an edge because they are more in touch with Japanese culture.
To translate to Japanese, understand the Japanese. There are a lot of differences in the way westerners and the Japanese people live, and this applies to how they use and navigate through sites.
Paying attention to their culture is a marketing strategy that is often overlooked. This makes companies more in touch with reality, and it generally makes sites more in touch with the Japanese.
An example is how the Japanese live a smaller yet minimalist lifestyle at home, so a website setting interior home décor will be more appealing to them if they attract their customers with keywords that point out how their products can be used for their lifestyle.
8. Pay attention to their Laws
One thing you might overlook is how Japan regulates site content. They are in a sense a lot stricter than Western ones, so paying attention to their laws will only help your website justify everything it has put effort into.
Being a progressive and first-world country has put Japan at the top of its game. They have an Act Against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations. This prohibits some marketers, including websites, from using very attractive yet false claims on their products.
Japanese people are meticulous, this covers everything, from the product they use to the websites they read. Translating your website to be more appealing to their eyes is one thing, but false claims on your site are another.
Be careful to obey the law, and make sure everything you put on your site has backup research and sufficient proof to support your claims.
9. Test your Site Locally
Some cities in Japan, like Tokyo, have a wide variety of races and are open to a lot of foreigners. However, overall, it is mostly homogenous with over 90% in the country of Japanese origin.
Thus, it is pertinent to have your content tested locally to know if your website has been working quite well in the Japanese setting. Localizing a website is much easier with the help of some locals.
Testing your website in their setting will give you a better grasp of how they use your website and will give you sufficient feedback on what to improve. It also gives you more ideas on how to perform better in a wider Japanese audience.
10. Adapt to the Japanese Design
Adapting to the Japanese design does not mean getting a total overhaul of your website. It is a matter of perspective, and the fine details will help you optimize your website so it will have a friendlier yet more professional approach.
Allocate adequate space for your website’s most useful information. As you translate to Japanese, give justice to what you have translated by giving your content the right amount of space on your website.
It is okay for your site to be full, as long as you have utilized every nook for information. Provide detailed navigation as the Japanese are detail-oriented.
You may also embrace color in your site, and use bold visual elements. But be careful about fonts because it might cause a slowing down of your loading speed.
11. Translate all Elements in your Website
A key to translating your website to Japanese is by translating all parts of your website to Japanese.
One thing that people overlook is forgetting to translate the fine print. Once you have your content in full Japanese, don’t forget for the other parts of your website to be translated into Japanese.
Localize the other elements in your website including the date, time formats, and even the menu bars. Include localizing the current to Japanese yen, payment methods, credits and licenses below, and your contact information.
There is a reason why the Japanese are meticulous, and it is because they use all of the details to their advantage, including the fine print. Make sure to get every nook and cranny translated to have your site appealing to them,
12. Don’t Be Afraid of Reinvention
Another approach to translating your website into Japanese is by reinventing your website. As a website owner, it can be frustrating how it is difficult to reach your audience in different languages. One can really be hesitant about having a new way of getting your website done.
Reinvention is just the beginning of having your market reach your targeted audience. It goes beyond translation, as it also includes getting your images, fonts, and arrangement adapted to Japanese culture.
If you reinvent your website, it offers the greatest potential to really connect with your audience. It shows how your website can adapt to the needs and wants of the Japanese. It also values their insights and you can get in touch with their culture.
You are reassured that you don’t have to compromise to the quality when you reinvent your website. It also showcases everything in your site including your products and services to Japan.
Translating your website for Japan can be quite a challenge than translating it into other languages. The Japanese have higher standards in their products, and that includes the use of sites that they go to. Localizing your website is a strategy that will not only involve translation but also adaptation to the usual Japanese content.
Both human and machine translation will help you deliver the message and content that you want them to have. As technology has grown so much, the need for human translators can be quite minimal compared to how many years ago, but nothing compares to having a local get in touch with your website.
Japan is a country that has stood on its own, and its people can be hard to please. But if your website has the right elements, correct and effective translation, and the right touch of Japan, it has no problems in booming its way to one of the best countries in the world.