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Free Translation

People often ask me if I can do small translations for free. I’m afraid the answer to that is usually “no”.

But if you want to translate a few words from Japanese into English or vice versa and the results don’t have to be perfect, then why not give machine translation a try? Here’s a form you can use to translate short passages of text using Google’s online translator.

Type or paste text here:

Translate from:


Yahoo’s Babel Fish translator is another free tool that you could try.

Some time soon I hope to have a searchable dictionary up and running on this website, but in the meantime if you just want one or two words translated into or from Japanese, try looking them up in the WWWJDIC online dictionary over at the Monash University website.

Disclaimer: The translation tool on this page is provided as a free service by Google, and is in no way connected with this website.

Machine translation

Machine translation is useful for getting a rough overview of what documents written in another language are saying, but the results are seldom perfect.

This is particularly true of so-called pro-drop languages like Japanese, where words are often omitted from sentences when they can be understood from the context.

Another problem is that the Japanese language includes many levels of honorific speech, which means that the same sentence can be said in a number of different ways depending on the relative status of the person being addressed.

Header image: Dusk falls over the harbour at Takamatsu (高松市), as seen from the top floor of the 30-storey Symbol Tower. Photo: Frank Gualtieri.

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