Unless theres some difference between “sometimes” and “from time to time” that eludes me, it seems like the best meaning to remember it by, as it containts “time” two times. I know I can add it as a synonym for myself, but I thought it should be there for everyone.
Why? Even native-speaker teachers I have had for classes have used ‘sometimes’ as the English meaning of 時々. Not a single one has ever said ‘from time to time’ when providing an English translation. Same with both the textbooks “Japanese for Busy People” and Genki that I have used.
Also looking in various J-E dictionaries, and not just ones that use JMdict/EDICT, ‘sometimes’ seems to always be the first and predominate meaning listed.
Here’s even a screenshot from the book A Guide to Writing Kanji & Kana:
‘Sometimes’ seems to be a perfectly cromulent meaning as far as I can see considering the wide berth of sources using it as a meaning.
The only dictionary I have available that lists ‘from time to time’ as a meaning has it listed as the 9th meaning and it’s the Kenkyusha’s New Collegiate Japanese-English Dictionary. ‘Sometimes’ again being the meaning first listed.
Sometimes has “times” pluralized, so couldn’t you say the same thing applies there? It’s literally “some times” and that’s what 時々 is (if you wanted to think about it this way)
Personally, I’m not quite sure if “from time to time” and “sometimes” actually express the same frequencies as each other… to me “sometimes” feels a bit more frequent, but maybe that’s just me.
In any case, the surface similarity between an English phrase and a Japanese vocab item should be on a relatively low priority level for how you choose to translate something.
That being said, I wouldn’t tell anyone they shouldn’t add it as a synonym. And if you wanted to email WK to ask them to add it as a synonym, that’s cool too (that’s how this is recommended to be done, rather than through the forum). But it’s not some egregious error on their part either, from my perspective.
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