Kindle translation: auto detect language

The inbuilt translation is a very nice feature in kindle. However the original language is always set to auto-detect, and when the selected characters are kanji only it often detects Chinese as the original language. In most cases the translation is accurate anyway, but not always.

Is there a setting somewhere where I can tell kindle that the book I am reading is Japanese, and that all the translations should be Japanese → English?

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Well normally I would say your problem there is your missing the entire word 繋がる, however that word has a lot of trouble registering with Kindle in general which is why I remember it. As far as settings go I don’t know of one. I don’t like the Kindle apps handling of definitions/translation is not the best and I usually just copy and paste into my dictionary app.

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Maybe that was just a bad example? What happens when you select the whole word?

This is a bit like having the word “bonus” and only selecting “bon” and then asking if there’s a way to override it detecting French.

There won’t be a meaning for “bon” even if you tell it to check for English.


I haven’t found a setting and it’s possible there isn’t one, unfortuantely. The obvious workaround is to select more text, and make sure to include kana - that’s what I’ve been doing. For single words nothing beats a dictionary anyway, while the automatic translation is better used for whole phrases or sentences.

When the selection includes kana it works of course.

As dictionary I have configured JMdict which is not good on conjugated verbs and gives ‘No definition found’ for the kanji alone.

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I didn’t know you could do that. Why though? The build-in dictionary is quite good. It does have some de-conjugation problems though, it’s true. In such cases I just select more of the sentence and look at the translation.

You can download any dictionary into your library and then you can select your favorite dictionary for each language (settings - language & dictionaries - dictionaries). I don’t remember whether you have to move the downloaded dictionaries into the dictionaries folder before (I think this is done automatically?).

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When you have installed several dictionaries you can switch between them for one definition. Click on the dictionary name and select another one.


Good to know, thanks :+1:

My ancient Kindle DX can’t even display Japanese at all. Getting on thirteen years old by now, though…

I have kept my older kindle for books bought in Germany and I have registered my kindle oasis in Japan.
The above screenshots are all from the kindle app on my smartphone, though.

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