Clearing up a few points on NHK Easy article

I was reading this NHK Easy article today and had a few points I wanted to make sure I understood correctly, so I checked the NHK Easy Translation subreddit. My understanding of some points may be shaky, but I’m pretty sure some parts of the subreddit translation are just plain wrong. I’d appreciate it if someone could clear a few points for me. I’ll post the original sentence and the translation provided by the subreddit for these points.

NHK examined finely the surveys done on the population coming to Japan from 2013 to 2017.

The translation doesn’t seem to be wrong, but I just want to check: 国が行った調査 would be the survey carried out by the country, right? Also, what exactly is 2013年から referring to? I feel like there should a まで after 2017年. Is it ommited?

In Izumo, in Shimane prefecture, where number of Japanese people is decreasing and where foreigners became employees of the city, it is easy to discuss with foreigners.

This is the sentence I was having trouble with, and I’m convinced this translation is wrong, not least because it doesn’t make any sense. First of all, I interpreted 市の職員になって as becoming part of the city’s workforce instead of employees of the city, because that makes more sense, but now I’m not sure. Which is it?

Second, もらう has the city of Izumo as its (ommited) subject - the city is ‘receiving’ the foreigners becoming employees. From what I read on Jay Rubin’s Making sense of Japanese, even though もらう means ‘to receive’, it implies that it is the subject that took the initiative to do the receiving, so that my translation for this section would be The city of Izumo, in Shimane prefecture, where number of Japanese people is decreasing, is having foreigners become part of the workforce - that is, the city is taking the initiative of having foreigners come to work there, as opposed to foreigners just showing up spontaneously.

The second part of the sentence (外国人が相談しやすくしました。) was confusing me as well. From what I gathered, the subject of しました is still the city of Izumo, who made it easy for foreigners to inquire about living/working there.

Thus, I would translate the entire sentence as The city of Izumo, in Shimane prefecture, where the number of Japanese people is decreasing, had foreigners become part of the workforce, and made it easy for them to inquire [about moving there]. Am I too far off?

These foreigners are considering to continue living here.

I didn’t have any doubts about this one until seeing this translation. It is wrong, right? The te-hoshii construction and the fact that 外国人に cannot be the subject mean that the city wants the foreigners to continue to live there, right?

The first translation seems a bit off. I believe it only refers to the general population of Japan, not the one coming to Japan. I would translate the full sentence as “NHK closely examined the population survey carried out by the country between 2013 and 2017”.

I believe you’re pretty on the mark with your interpretation of 外国人に市の職員になってもらって, but I can’t make any sense of 外国人が相談しやすくしました. I would ask on HiNative to get a native speaker’s opinion.

Your own translation of the last sentence seems correct to me.

I’m not fluent, so please take my words with a grain of salt.


Yep. The translation is wrong.
About まで

Hm it looks like it, but I don’t remember ever seeing that kind of omission. I’ll check later.

About the second sentence, the city of Izumo hired foreigners (so they are indeed employed by the city) which made it easy for other foreigners to interact [with the city’s administration]. The context is that the city is happy to have more population, but (based on the previous sentences) language can be a problem.
(Edit: if you google 市の職員 you’ll find tons of job offers from different cities townhall/city hall/whatever)

Yes, it is wrong. The city wants them to stay.


Thank you guys!

@Nath I had just figured out that the city employed the foreigners to make life easier for other foreigners. Thank you for clearing it up for me.

The 2013 part is really stumping me. Is the survey being carried out yearly since 2013? If so, shouldn’t it be 国が2013年から行った? Or is it 2017 the first time they took the survey since 2013? Or is it a single survey that took 4 years to complete?

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The “easy” articles are often derived from “real” articles, it will probably answer your questions (the changes to make the articles easier also make them less clear :slight_smile:).

This one?

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As @acm2010 said. In NHK easy, there’s a link to the real article (the one they mention).

In the real article, that sentence was


So they forgot the まで in the easy version :sweat:

And, yes, it is a survey done by the country (so the government). (And NHK had a close look at the findings)

Edit: I read the original article (well, mostly the parts mentioned in the easy version, there’s a lot more that I just skimmed). So, the city of Izumo hired those foreigners specifically to help communication with other foreigners, since they are over 30% of the total population of the city. That’s an impressive number.

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I asked some Japanese peeps about the lack of まで within the context of that sentence, and they said that with or without まで it has the same meaning, so that’s why it’s being omitted

Another said that more often than not まで would be able to be omitted (with から〜まで) and still hold the same meaning, though it should be there if it’s at the end of a sentence

面白い :thinking:


So you think they dropped it on purpose in the “easy” version?
Who is in charge of deciding what is easy, and why aren’t they fired yet? (Honestly, the easy version of the article was way more confusing than the standard one).

When I first read this topic, I must have missed that these translations were just people on reddit. I hardly ever go to NHK Easy, so I was reading the thread thinking that this was a professionally translated article, which made the topic confusing for me.

Anyway… I don’t really see how omitting the まで makes it confusing. I guess I just already knew that omitting it is fine.

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I was actually talking about the part on hiring foreigners as well.
OP found that dropping the まで was confusing, though.

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I’m assuming someone read the article without Furigana before doing the translation. 行った いった or おこなった is obviously an easy mistake to make, but the Furigana had cleared that up.

Also, “examined finely the surveys” geez. Even Google Translate did this one just fine, “NHK looked closely at the survey of the population of the country from 2013 to 2017.”


What’s easy for a native child and for a foreign speaker is often not the same. Since NHK Easy is aimed at Japanese kids, the vocabulary and the content itself are simplified, but there is bound to be some grammar that wouldn’t be considered basic for a beginner, but is very natural to a native child.

I had never seen -made ommited before, and I had some trouble with the foreigners becoming employees part, but that’s how you learn. Mostly, what threw me off was the atrocious translation.

(And “examined finely” may be a poor choice of words, but that’s the least of the problems even within that sentence.)

I don’t know if there’s anything to suggest they aren’t considering foreigners.

The site says

「NEWS WEB EASY」は、 小学生 ・ 中学生 のみなさんや、 日本 に 住 んでいる 外国人 のみなさんに
わかりやすいことばでニュースを 伝 えるウェブサイトです。


So that’s why we’re not supposed to assume things. I’d never noticed that text before.

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