Making Japanese Translation Easy
Translating Japanese is getting easier with great webpages at your fingertips, for free!
Translation takes time and a lot of energy. Looking up a word in Japanese can take even more time and slow you down. If you're like me and work with Japanese and English on a day-to-day basis. The time used to look up a word or a kanji can be a waste of time. Over the years, I've found these great sites to help reduce the translating time to get to the point and get to the real content. These sites can help you translate to and from Japanese without investing in expensive translation softwares.
Get to the general idea quickly
Google translate is a simple and powerful translation service offered by Google. You can cut-and-paste your text and get the general idea of the translation quickly. You can also use the feature to translate from a file and skip the cut-and-paste work all together. Although the translation is not always perfect, you can get to the general idea. To make this service better, you can also contribute to a better translation. As more and more people use this site and contribute, the translation will get better.
Japanese to English or English to Japanese
When you're looking for a more accurate translation of a word, ALC, a Japanese website works great. <http://www.alc.co.jp/>. The website is crowded but that's Japanese web style. Just place a word in Japanese or English word in the top of the field (no need to switch, it will decipher automatically which way you're trying to translate). Out comes multiple word usage and other examples how that particular word is used. By checking the other word usage, you can get much more accurate meaning of the word.
Kanji, Romaji, Hiragana, Katakana
Great way to look up and learn Kanji
Reading a Kanji is challenging. That's even for a Japanese! There are so many uses for a particular Kanji that certain kanji character combination can change the reading of the word. A kanji converter <http://nihongo.j-talk.com/kanji/> will help you understand how to read those kanji with ease. The website can also translate phrases and separate the which is a word or a particle. I find the "detailed word info" particularly helpful. The feature will not only translate but break up the word or phrases for easier understanding along with conjugation.
Before Google, there was Altavista
Babel Fish has been great. I still use this often to get a second opinion on the translation. It is limited on how many characters you can use but good way to check out if you're still unsure with some of the translations you've looked up from other websites.
These are sites I've found over the years and use regularly to understand the Japanese language. Using these sites will open up your skills with Japanese. I'm sure there are other great sites available so look around periodically. Always remember, if you're translating a confidential document, before you mindlessly cut-and-paste, take good care as to not include names and sensitive materials across the web. Looking up a kanji in a kanji dictionary took a lot of time in the past but these great sites will help you become more in control of your time.