Extra Fox – A blog by Christopher Taylor

Kanji translation tools

Posted in Uncategorized by extrafox on May 16, 2006

One of the biggest problems for gaijin (foreigners) in Japan is not learning Japanese, but learning Japanese kanji (Japanese ideographic writing). On the other hand, the Japanese also have a set of phonetic alphabets (kana) that are much easier for foreigners to learn and use. I started using Google Translate to help me with translation tasks, but I have found that, instead of translation, transliteration is a better option for those who have gained some proficiency in the Japanese spoken language, but have not yet mastered kanji. Transliteration essentially means turning kanji into kana or romaji so that it can be read phonetically.

  • Wakan The most comprehensive tool I have found. Will translate and transliterate any kanji that you input
  • J-Talk Kanji Converter Will perform a number of useful conversions such as kanji to spaced hiragana and kanji to romaji
  • Google Translate Though not as useful for proficient Japanese speakers, does a better-than-nothing job at translating written Japanese into English

If you are learning or using Japanese regularly, these are some useful tools to add to your toolbox.

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