Now, I understand that this is probably the least important language question there is, but I want to get this right and have had differing feedback from a range of people about this.
I’ve been using, as a welcome GIF, a store clerk coming out behind a desk and saying welcome. The character says ‘Welcome!’ - appropriately. It was suggested to me that it would be better for her to say いらしゃいます, which given it’s a polite greeting given by a member of staff in a shop (as I understand it) seemed appropriate for the character. So I did some editing and voila, the GIF was changed.
I then had it suggested that since this is a forum, not a shop, it’s irrelevant what the character is and and she should instead be saying ようこそ, as it’s not welcoming somebody into a business, but into a larger entity. Not a place that belongs to the character, but that is a collective - I understand this to be appropriate for a blog or website.
Finally, as I was just done making that change, another suggestion was made that maybe はじめまして as a ‘nice to meet you’ would be more appropriate. Since I am now thoroughly confused and have made three different versions of the same original GIF, I have decided to throw it out to the larger community to offer their sage wisdom on.
For you consideration, the three GIFS:
The GIF is not my original work, I believe it’s an animator who goes by Jin, I merely made the edits.
To the actual question, I don’t think anything other than いらっしゃいませ (and variants) makes sense given that the gif is clearly of a shop clerk. By the way, the gif is correct, but you’ve been writing いらっしゃいます in your posts.
If you want to use one of the other phrases, you might need a new gif.
I usually use hajimemashite when introducing myself:
はじめまして tls です。よろしく。
…or something similar. So, I am making connection to someone (sorry for my bad English).
On the other hand, in one of the hostels I used to work some time ago, we used yôkoso to welcome travelers. We didn’t actually say it but we had a big poster with the term “welcome” in different languages. For Japanese we wrote ようこそ.
I’d focus on your intention. You’d like to welcome the new member to the forums? Maybe you introduce yourself to them as well and are happy to meet them?
I agree that いらっしゃいませ fits the GIF best. Also, いらっしゃいませ fits the movement of the mouth best, I think.
Welcome translates to いらっしゃいませ and to ようこそ, and while ようこそ seems more appropriate for a welcome into a community, the GIF obviously is about coming into a store. This GIF with the message いらっしゃいませ conveys to me a feeling of ‘welcome, I am here to help’, which is a nice message to send to a new member.