Is gtranslate a good resource?

Is gtranslate a good resource to use? Or are there better programs that could act like a multi tool?
For example I use gtranslate all the time to translate Japanese website into Engish so I can get very vague idea. I also use gtranslate to learn new vocab. It’s good for translating source materials but if you are using gtranslate as a translator or communication tool. It’s not the best.

So to put it short is gtranslate good? Or am I better off learning Japanese myself or use another tool?

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It’s good enough in a pinch, but obviously very limited.

Is it worth it to spend years studying Japanese so you don’t need it anymore? Really depends on how much stuff you need to read in Japanese.

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(We’re talking about Google Translate, yes? There’s not some other tool I’ve not encountered named “gtranslate”?)


“gtranslate” is clearly short for “good translate”.


I may have been working on something…


Google Translate is actually not bad at translating simple sentences related to stuff that doesn’t have much nuance to it, like a hotel check-in email or something.

If you try to give it stuff that is actually creative and interesting, it usually spits out nonsense.


Yeah, not a bad usage of it.

However, you might want to change from using Google translate to using something like rikaikun. It translates single words which is much more useful as you progress further into Japanese.

Wait, what do you mean by this? If you’re talking about looking up the Japanese word for ‘look’ and then memorizing synonyms, that is a bad idea. You would be better off learning vocab with Kanji like in Wanikani, a core 6k or core 10k deck, or from reading (which should be the ultimate thing you are striving towards)


Blockquote Wait, what do you mean by this? If you’re talking about looking up the Japanese word for ‘look’ and then memorizing synonyms, that is a bad idea. You would be better off learning vocab with Kanji like in Wanikani , a core 6k or core 10k deck , or from reading (which should be the ultimate thing you are striving towards)

perhaps I should be more clear. I use gtranslate more along the lines of learning new Kanji combos. Or if I am trying to learn a new word that wanikani has not taught me yet then I will use it. There is a crazy number of combinations of kanji that means diffrent things. So for a quick reference I put the kanji combo I am not familiar with and see what it translates and then kind of learn the vocab that way if that makes more sense. then I also need to learn the grammar proportion of certain words in which I figure out the context if that makes sense. Just because I’m using Wanikani to learn Kanji dosen’t mean I need to follow the EXACT order of wanikani I think. If there is a Kanji I wanna learn and Wanikani has not taught me it yet. Why not use it? something a long those lines

While I admit my way of learning at the moment may not be the most practical or the best at the moment, it’s what I currently have, known and use. However, I am here to learn and open minded. If anyone can tell me what would be a better tool, or resource to use to translate things but also learn from it. that would be nice. in which seems like what I am getting.

I use Google Translate when reading stuff. I’ll type things in if I’m not totally sure about if I’m on the right track. Sure, it often gives back busted translations, but it’ll give me a rough idea if I’m right, or point me in the right direction. Often the translation it’s garbage on it’s own, but it’s garbage translation plus my garbage translation can mix into something meaningful.


For what you’re looking to do I would use something like or Weblio (example searches included in links).


The problem with google translate for single words with no context is when you get something like “application” as the translation.

Is that, application as in “the deadline for applications is Friday”

Or “this company excels in the application of cutting-edge technology”

Or “this medicine requires three applications per day”

Or “get a free trial of our latest application”

Those are all different words in Japanese.


For single words I just use I generally stay far away from Google translate. I am sure it isn’t awful for short sentences, but if you want to learn new words you come across, jisho is pretty great. It allows you to draw kanji which you don’t know the reading or meanings for, it gives a bunch of synonyms, other forms or versions of that word if it has any, links to Wikipedia articles, and even wanikani level if the word is a taught here.

It’s good for single vocabulary words and kanji. As the sentences get more complex it obviously gets less reliable.

I would not rely on it as a source to learn grammar from, but it can be very helpful when you cannot think of a specific word and you are on the spot.

The best way to learn a language is obviously by speaking it.

Just like certain people here!

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I use Google Translate when I want to get the broad meaning of a text, but never when I want to learn something. So when I think “I need to get what this text is about” Google Translate can be useful. For example, if you get a message from someone on iTalki or whatever, and you want to get in broad strokes what it is about, Google Translate can be a first step. Then use another source to really understand the message.

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Agreed, it’s usually a good enough first step to be able to figure out the meaning from context.

This may be sacrilege to say, but weirdly I’ve found Bing translate to often be more capable than Google translate at translating modern, everyday Japanese. Like, short casual sentences/phrases and such that wouldn’t generally be taught in formal classes.
There are an abundance of options I suppose. Whatever works for you!

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Google translate works well sometimes… and then other times it returns results like this.


But sometimes you get gems like this.