Have something you want to translate? Post it here!
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by ookamilord
#24887 well i guess japanese to english dictionaries fall into this area. i am needing a decent japanese to english dictionary app or software that will show the kana, katakana and kanji much like a paper back. i will be going on my vaca next wednesday and i wont have access to the net from my computer and i cant use my pals because his is having basic problems and the last thing i need is him to accuse me of destroying his system. outside of the gxp novels i have some wallpapers and other items that are in japanese. anything will be a great help for this.
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by JGZinv
#24904 android or ios?

I know of two apps by the same guy that are good for learning japanese, but not as a reference book sort.
What specifically is your workflow? Trying to just have literally a reference book, or are you trying to look up
things, can you type in japanese characters to provide the program with input?

Lots of questions need to be figured out
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by ookamilord
#24914 well my phone is android. im translating some the tenchi novels for practice and i dont have a paper back dictionary of my own and the guy i know who does wont let it leave out of the house. so i need to look up the characters and possible meanings. as far as i know i dont have a program that i can type the characters. the other work load is some random wallpaper i have and a few requests from some pals who bought some merchandise that advertised japanese and they wanted me to translate them. right know any software that i can look at the kana or kanji first instead of using the english part first would be a great help
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by JGZinv
#24916 What you're wanting and what you can get are going to be different.

As far as the novels go:

Translating is not as simple as looking it up. As an example why, here's a article by a manga group:
There are many issues to face when trying to translate from Japanese to English, as it's not always a direct one to one translation.

In fact, it rarely is.

Many words and idiomatic expressions don't have an English equivalent, some things need cultural context, and so on. Right now though, I wanted to talk about names. Names that aren't native to Japanese in particular.

I'm sure many of you already know this, but written japanese is made up of Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji.

Kanji are Chinese characters. 忍、念、男、女、刀 星、闇、殺
But of them, Japan has designated roughly 1,945 for general usage. Each one has its own (sometimes multiple) meaning, and multiple pronunciations based on context.

力 means "strength" and is pronounced "chikara" however it can be pronunced "riki" when used in certain combinations.
馬力 bariki "horsepower" or it could also be "ryoku" when combined here 協力 kyouryoku "cooperation".

Hiragana and Katakana are Japanese Alphabets. These characters have no meaning on their own. Each is a phonetic (A, Ka, Sa, Ta, Ha, Ma, etc.)

Hiragana are used for native Japanese words and parts of speech. It looks like this:

Katakana on the other hand is used for non-native Japanese words or certain kinds of emphasis and looks like:

So for every name that is not a traditional Japanese name, it ends up spelled out phonetically within the constraints of the Japanese Alphabet. While some are fairly obvious or use common conventions for converting to English, others can be much more obscure. There's not necessarily any fully right way to go about it. There may be some outright wrong ways at times, and some almost certainly correct ways but you can never be certain until the author states how it's spelled in English.

For example, let's look at the character who up till recently was known as "Branchi" in Toriko.
His name was spelled out as BU-RA-N-CHI.
The first thing I do as a translator is look at it and see if it resembles any real life names.
Hrmmm... Nada.
Next, I just go over some possibilities: Branchie, Branchy, Buranty, etc...
Without finding anything I was too excited about, I stuck with something close to the phonetic pronunciation and hopefully safe... "Branchi." (Was never happy with that.)
Recently, "Buranchi" was revealed to be one of a group of three characters.
The other two were "DI-N-NA-A" and "NO-SHU."
So with "Dinner" and "Nosh" as two parts of a three man set and trying to figure out how "Branchi" fit with that, his name suddenly became obvious:
Until something gets officially printed, it's pretty much up to the translator's discretion to decide what's gonna pass as a character's name.
Once something appears in canonical print always takes precedence.
That's a general golden rule.

For example, Roronoa Zoro.
I had always assumed the Zoro was after Zorro, the masked fictional character.
(I could be wrong on that part.)
However, as for the name "Roronoa"--
"Roronoa" is undoubtedly "L'Olonnais" from Francois L'Olonnais, a french pirate.
Buuuut his name has appeared as "Roronoa" in print by Oda numerous times, so Roronoa it is.

That's just the tip of the iceberg really. Once you get into the names of attacks and techniques or made-up concepts, along with creative and inventive kanji usage, there's a whole other world of interpretation to deal with. But I think I've rambled long enough for now.

If you found any of this interesting, had any questions about any of the translation process, drop a comment and I'll do my best to get back to you!! I find this stuff interesting myself and thought you might.

Thanks as always for reading.

It works the same way, plus Japanese is very context sensitive. You also have to have very good quality sources. ie. raws/scans that are clean, large enough dpi, not funky fonts or handwritten. This is just the bare bottom foundation you have to have in place before you can think about approaching it for a novel or doujinshi. Even with that said, most programs out there read only horizontal text. As you know, novels are in vertical. I tried moving the characters from V to H once for the Dual interview to translate it, it's not practical at all in terms of workload.

I said this when we started the translation section, that I would not take on a novel as it was far too large and complicated a project, without a team and a actual Japanese fluent translator. Now as you've seen, Nil and Crazed went and stubbornly chipped away at the Hasegawa novel for months, around the clock, just about every waking moment, even after it drove them mad. For them it eventually paid off, but it was at a lot of personal cost. Frankly, if you're not ready to forget you had a life, and slave yourself to such a project, you're not going to get anywhere substantial. I would urge you to consider this carefully.

For little things, like reading the label off a box or something simple. Yes you can make do with app character recognition.

Cam Dictionary is quite good but rather wonky at times to use.
Google Translate has a picture mode, but again it can be odd to get to work.

Some others I've got but haven't really used:
Photo Translator Free

All of these work off the idea you aim the android at whatever, it takes either a picture or works in real time, processes what it thinks it is vs. a database and returns a word or text blob. Again, nothing will work on non-machine font. Like standard times roman is for english, if it's not standard it usually wont read it.

If you want to "learn" Japanese, then as far as learning apps, I think highly of Human Japanese and Human Japanese Intermediate.

Reference book wise, just look up a EN > JP dictionary app, I'm sure Webster or someone's got a few on the Play store.

As far as the web goes, the WWWJDIC is the end all be all dictionary for Japanese. But it's interface is still sort of stuck in the 90's and you'll have to learn to navigate it, input the Japanese text. There are many times searching google may be easier than using this.

The bottom line - can you bridge the language barrier with technology? Yes, but it's still in embryo stage and requires a great deal of your own knowledge and dedication to make it work halfway well.
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by Almael
#24918 Simply said there are no good ones if you want to do it as good as possible. You need more than one because frankly not all give the same answer. Most of the dictionaries are there to give counsel and you need a thesaurus to have all the opinions.
I have jdic but it's always a WIP hence differs from version to version. It's more bothersome, and well, only one than simply using online dictionaries.
It helps if you got collected experience and hence have developed a sense of the language. AFAIK it's fine for simple manga but novels are a different kind especially when the author likes to use japanese literary stuff. Interpretation and flexibility of the mind is key here.
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by ookamilord
#24936 thanks JG i have some experience reading japanese but my range is really limited to the basic i did find this app call learn japanese in anime or something like that for the name. if i could take the paper backs out of the house i would use them. but again thanks i'll look at all of these. its sad that our local bookstore went belly because before they closed their doors they had dictionaries and other bilingual books but other than that i will take a look at the recommendations. now off to packing my bags and off to make sure the house is clean before i leave. iloveit1