Kanji / kana change in meaning?

I was checking out usage of 羨む on Jisho and it gave me this sentence:

Well, I thought that was a cool one to know so I tried reiterating it back into google translate - never a reliable source of grammar info but good for easy checking, I find… Anyway, it gave me slightly different translations depending solely on whether I used the kanji or kana for 羨む
他人のことをうらやんでいたら幸せはならない。You can’t be happy if you’re envious of others.
他人のことを羨んでいたら、幸せはならない。 If you envy other people, you can’t be happy.

Now clearly they are both just about the same, but not quite. I’m interested to know whether this is just a “Googletranslatism” or is there a grammatical / usage difference between using kanji and kana here? And if there is a difference, is there a general point?

Thank you for any help here :grinning:

This is just a Googletranslatism.

Google Translate particularly struggles with hiragana.


Kanji can change the meaning, usually by narrowing down a particular nuance (for instance, つける or 付ける or 点ける), but your example is just an artifact of google translate being machine translation that is just doing stuff without much thought.


Although I preferred the translation when it was the hiragana version.

Might I suggest using DeepL as opposed to Google translate. You’ll find less of these machine translation artefacts, and get a more accurate translation to boot!

I tried it with these sentences and got the exact same translationg (You can’t be happy if you envy others.) both times.


Thank you Matskye, I have not come across DeepL before and will give it a go, although how can I gladly relinquish the absurdity and joy that Google translate brings…