What's the best translator?

What do you think is the best translator for Japanese?

I try to translate up to 10 sentences into Japanese every day. And correct them with google translator but I think google translator is not not a big help. So I was curious how the Wanikani pros would do that.

kinde regards


The best translator for Japanese is probably a Japanese native speaker human being.


I don’t trust any. Google one seems to work ok-ish for small simple sentences, but doesn’t understand a lot of stuff and is often confused about who does what, or the nuance of some verbs. You can put the sentence through jisho.org and it’ll try to parse it and split it into words (and you translate it yourself using the definition it finds). Example: https://jisho.org/search/最近ユーチューブは人気になっている just click on the different parts. I think japanese.io does something similar but works with whole paragraphs.

You’re better off trying to translate sentences yourself, in my opinion.



This online Japanese-English dictionary is a very good resource, assuming you understand basic Japanese grammar. You can type more or less any Japanese or English phrase/expression in and it will come up with the equivalent in the opposite language as well as example sentences. I think it is better than jisho.org by a mile.
A couple of examples:


Google Translate should not be used as a tool correct your translation. I’ve seen it more often than not give erroneous translations or just spits out completely unintelligible gobbledygook. It’s so silly that I’ve even seen it change a translation by simply adding a period at the end of a sentence.


You can post your best translation attempts on iTalki (notebook feature) and then native Japanese people will correct them.


I use Jisho all the time, and I had no idea you could do this.


Just to add, there is also ichi.moe. It’s pretty good at parsing sentences as well, though you do have to be careful as just like any automated tool it’s not 100% perfect. It will sometimes parse things incorrectly. Obviously with those automated parsing tools you will need a pretty good grasp of grammar to then construct a reasonable translation from them and sometimes you will need to double check set phrases that it may not have full knowledge and will parse as individual pieces rather than having a translation for the phrase as a whole.


HelloTalk is another place you can go for natives to correct mistakes :slight_smile:

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Yeah, I’d say that google translate is the best instant translator, I don’t agree with the other people here saying it’s useless. As long as you recognize that it isn’t law and it’s quite limited it can help a beginner realize the meaning of a simple sentence, but that’s about it.


I imagine the best in the field are head of state interpreters for real time translation. Is there a more demanding translator position?


I think the issue is that it’s so often wrong about such fundamental things that it can be really confusing for a beginner, because they might not have the basic knowledge to realise when it’s wrong.

I just chucked in this sentence from a children’s book I’m reading:


It gave me “I was thrown out of a sleeping pill and got a jewel.” The first bit is very clearly nonsensical, but the second part seems sensible. If I just give it the phrase 宝石をうばわれた it tells me “I received a jewel”, which is completely plausible and also literally the opposite of what the sentence means.

You just can’t really trust anything it says!


Wait what does it mean?

I have no idea what kagasarete means

The best translator is going to be a someone proficient in both languages.

It means “the jewels were stolen”. Ah, the whole sentence is “I was made to smell some sleeping chemical/medicine and the jewels were stolen”. Jisho gets everything apart from かがされて (but it doesn’t tell you an incorrect alternative), and ichi.moe gets everything.

I actually had quite a lot of fun just now putting in the example sentences from WK and seeing what it came up with.

お母さんのはなげはながい。from the お母さん page gave me “mum’s longage is long”, but critically, if you delete the full stop at the end it apparently changes the meaning to just “mum’s longage”.

ふくろには、じゃがいもが八つ入っています。 rather adorably gives “the owl contains eight potatoes”. It’s pretty confident on that one - deleting the full stop doesn’t change anything.


Eight. No more. No less. :joy:


wait, how does that make any more sense? Who sniffs sleeping pills?

knocking someone out with chloroform(at least in pop-culture[in actuality it is rather ineffective])

In a children’s book???

Guess it depends on how old the book was meant for. I remember chloroform being used in some nancy drew books when I was a kid ( read when I was about 10 or 11yo). would be considered middle grade now, but I don’t remember having that category when I was young. Also, would be available for advanced readers in upper elementary school.

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