Context sentence translations use definitions that aren't accepted as answers

Hey all,

I’m sure if you’ve used wanikani for a while, you’ve encountered this sort of frustrating situation before: you see a vocabulary word, and put in a meaning you think is right. You get marked wrong, and dejected, open the meaning section to see how off you were, only to find the word you wrote is used in the context sentences but isn’t listed as an acceptable answer.

I just encountered this most recently with 実際, where I put “real” instead of “really”.
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Yet there, 実際の任務 is translated as “real mission”. I know this has happened to me in the past as well, but I wasn’t keeping track of where, and would normally just shrug and move on. While I don’t think this is a huge deal (I just add the word in as a user synonym), it can be frustrating when you’re about to burn an item and you set yourself back by a month or more because of this.

Have you noticed this in your wanikani journey, and if so, do you think the translations used in the context sentences should be acceptable answers? Having made it to level 60 and beyond, I obviously love wanikani, but some more consistency would certainly make my experience better, at least.

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I think you should report this to the contents team.

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How does one report something to the contents team? And beyond that, I don’t know if this is even something reportable. Maybe the translations for the context sentences aren’t meant to be exact, literal translations and the system is working as intended. That’s why I was interested in hearing other learner’s (or WK staff’s) thoughts on the subject.

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By email hello@wanikani.com

Or by tagging the moderators @ Mods (leaving an extra blank to avoid actually tagging them)

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The context sentences have always felt somewhat divorced from the rest of the content to me. They can be so ridiculously complicated compared to where I imagine the typical Japanese learner would be in terms of grammar.

This is a level 11 sample sentence:

向こうに指定された喫煙エリアがあるから、私にじゃなくてそこに行って喫煙者がどれだけ臭いかについて文句を言った方がいいんじゃない。
There is a designated smoking area over there, so you should go there and complain how stinky smokers are instead of just telling me.

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Yes, they are not meant to be literal translations, as you can see in some more exaggerated cases, it’s just what gets the message across more naturally.

That said, maybe I’m missing something, but 実際 is also a noun that can be used as reality, actuality, truth, fact, actual conditions, as well as the adverb, but I guess that depends on what they want to teach. It’d just make it so the sentence is a bit contradictory.

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In terms of grammar based on what?

This is a kanji learning website.

There are fluent people coming to learn kanji as well as absolute beginners.

The grammar in that sentence is pretty straight-forward, too.

I agree. I started using wanikani basically at the very beginning of my Japanese learning journey, while using other resources for grammar etc. It was so common to see context sentences that were far above my level that I essentially gave up even trying to read them for a long time. I disagree with the other user - the grammar in that sentence is definitely higher level than most people would be comfortable with given how early on you see it.

I’m certainly not saying the accepted meanings are incorrect - I’m just saying that given the translation “real mission” is (in my opinion) absolutely natural, do you think “real” should be an accepted meaning? If not, I don’t see how the context sentence and translation are supposed to be helpful to the user.

The alternative then would be to say the translation as written is not literal, but I can’t come up with a more literal translation that feels remotely natural using the default accepted meanings.

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Yeah.

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It is indeed reportable (e.g. via email), and sometimes they will add more synonyms, sometimes they will simply give an explanation.

Let me tag @Mods

I have reported a few comments/questions regarding context sentences and have always gotten a quick reply and answer.

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…and they’re using level 18 kanji in a level 11 context sentence. Again, doesn’t really feel like these were very tightly integrated into the learning path.

Thanks for the tag, @polv! I’ll bring this specific example + general feedback up to the team. In the future, feel free to write us at hello@wanikani.com or tag us on the forum with further examples. Whichever is easier!

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That’s a fair comment, but it’s worse to not have the kanji than to have it, as is the case in some sentences. (Unless they’ve fixed them.)

They’d have to be simpler sentences or rework most of them to not have any words in the levels above even if they are common. Which would be a reasonable ask, but a few words you haven’t seen in example sentences is not the end of the world.

Definitely not the end of the world, but I’m at a point in my study flow where I basically just ignore the context sentences. Also as someone who doesn’t use the mneumonics, it’s kind of a bummer that the context sentences are also not very useful .