Simple improvement of Wanikani for non-native English speakers?

For me as a native German speaker, it would be great to see a translation from Japanese to German next to the English translation of a particular word. An additional direct translation conveys the meaning of a word better than an indirection through a potentially broad/weak English term, even if you include the example sentences.

I totally get it that it is close to impossible to maintain all the nice stories, mnemonics and puns in several languages. But only showing a second, native language translation would help a lot, e.g., through an automated lookup in Takoboto or so (not manually through user synonyms). It’s totally OK to keep entering the English answers.

I regularly have this “Ohhhh that’s what it really means” feeling when I see a word learned through Wanikani in the みんなの日本語 (German) vocabulary… anyone else having this feeling?


I definitely get you - especially when English doesn’t quite have a matching word but your native language does (for example, 乗り場 has a bunch of translations listed that can all just be summarised in the Dutch word “halte” - I figure German probably has a word for the same concept).

I’m not sure I see a way to both facilitate this and keep things maintainable, though, given the diversity of WaniKani’s userbase. That’s a lot of potential languages to account for.


As a fellow learner who is not a native English speaker, I agree that it can be a struggle to depend on English as the main language for learning another language. There aren’t a whole lot of resources available in my own native language so I don’t have much choice. The amount of times I’ve had to jump loops between dictionaries…Merriam-Webster is one of my most frequently used sites, heh.

While I do agree that having keywords in my native language could help, I’m not sure how viable that is on a practical level. German keywords wouldn’t help me in any case. WaniKani team would have to include a lot of languages for it to benefit their whole userbase, which sounds like a lot of work. But who knows - maybe it is simpler than I’m expecting.

ah, Leebo’d by yamitenshi


Does it still count as Leebo’ing, if it’s someone else doing it?


Sure it does! Just like Glias’ing (y-you’re [the phrase you just wrote]!) or pulling a Powerpuncher (being the only one voting the other option in a poll).

Like in this poll, perfect chance to pull a powerpuncher:


If you’re just hoping to get vocab jpn - ger rather than kanji, has a German database or lessons I believe.


Haha, I see I read this forum too infrequently.

Regarding the maintenance thing: I think it’s actually not that hard. You do a lookup in a dictionary like Takoboto or JMDict. There’s no maintenance besides the code for the lookup and Takoboto/JMDict have a good bunch of languages included, plus JMDict is CC licensed.


The feature kinda exist with the user synonyms, just having the ability to toggle “show my synonym (or explanation) first” or so would already help, at least in my case.
I get the frustration though.

To be frank, at level 44, you should be consulting J-J dictionaries, not translations. Set up Yomichan with a few (or look it up on goo辞書, etc), and try to stick to Japanese websites for further clarification. The nuance of many words on WaniKani is lost even in their English translations (request/demand, pleasant, desire/ambition/will, etc). If I can do that now at level 33, surely you can, too.


@Megamind So true, and the examples are spot on. What is a J-J dictionary do you use? If I look on the Yomichan site, I see only bilingual? Or maybe I am blind.

And is there an option for Android? I learn 99% of the time on mobile. I checked the dictionary recommendations on Tofugu, but they are either paper or iOS.

This is a good guide on transitioning to a monolingual dictionary for Yomichan while optionally keeping a bilingual dictionary as a backup

I’m not aware of any Android options, unfortunately.


There are monolingual dictionaries available on Android. This is an example .

There are three ways I have heard of to get a better monolingual dictionary on Android:

  1. Daijirin 大辞林 – Aedict – The Aedict Dictionary Blog
  2. Change your region on the Play Store to Japan and get the Daijirin dictionary. Note that you vna only change regions once a year so, you know… YOLO.
  3. Get an EPWING format file of the dictionary you want, get the EBPocket app from the Play Store, load the dictionary in the app.

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