Translating from Japanese

I have studied Japanese since 2009 and there were many hiatuses which lasted for years in between. Recently, I would like to pursue my career as a translator. However, I have difficulties in identifying implied subjects/objects which is a common characteristic of Japanese. I tried reading and translating short paragraphs but there is no result. What should I do and which course should I take?

There’s not much to tell you except that you need to study more grammar, consume more native material, and if possible speak with Japanese people in Japanese until you get accustomed to it. It’ll take some time before it’ll begin to really click.


What level would you put yourself at now? If you’re not sure, you could try taking a free test like the J-CAT, and then you’ll receive an overview of your strengths and weaknesses.

It’s been pointed out before that when someone says they want to be a translator, that can mean a lot of things. If you’re thinking of it as a career, you’ll probably need a pretty stable employment situation, and not just taking freelance jobs here and there. The more money you want to make the higher your level needs to be. Are you thinking of getting a degree?


@LucasDesu: Thank you for your advice. Anyway, what do you think about online courses?
@Leebo: I passed JLPT N3 few years ago, but my progress halts afterwards. I’m currently a translator who translate English books into my native language. Because I work on books, I’m able to sit back and look up, unlike interpreters. About getting degree, I did take courses at language school so there is no proper certificate. I stopped though because they prioritize listening and speaking skills.

did you try “readthekanji” (no advertisment just recommendation^^)?
It’s a website, where you can enter the reading of a word in a sentence written with kanjis.
You can try it for free. On many words, including the sentences, people made notes.
It might help you ;)!

1 Like

I gave that site a try, and I’m a little confused on how they determined what goes in what decks.

In the trial mode, you only get access to katakana, hiragana, and N5.

I tried N5 and look at what some of the kanji they gave me were.

Seriously? 眼鏡? Those are N1 kanji. めがね is an N5 word, but it seems bizarre to tell beginners that they should know how to read it in kanji. It’s taught on level 34 here. There’s also a 4 year old comment on the 眼鏡 card with the same question as me.

I think I will give the site a pass.


Personally, I haven’t taken online courses, but if you can find something that can address your needs, it may be a good idea. It sounds like you would prefer to have some guidance to help make sure you’re on the right track. Depending on what kinds of things you’d be translating, it may behoove you to do some conversation practice. You’re going to encounter more situations where subjects and objects are omitted in conversation due to time constraints. If you generally have a feel for reading (with the exception of the problem you mentioned) some of those tendencies that you learn from listening will roll over into the comprehension of reading text. Despite what one thinks, but language skills do help support other language skills when you try to nature aspects that you’ve neglected, you’ll see improvements in areas you’d like to improve.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.