The title of Mari Fujimoto’s book, ikigai & and other Japanese words to live by (Modern Books), includes an interesting addition to the English language.… Read More »ikigai and 42 other Japanese words for a mindful life
How you conduct yourself in a business meeting with potential Japanese partners can go a long way towards making a favourable impression. Respectful conduct is… Read More »To bow or not to bow? Japan business meeting etiquette
At WeDoJapan we are often asked to help translate business letters and emails, or to communicate with Japanese companies on behalf of our UK clients.… Read More »Letters, emails, and the Japanese weather
To rename or not? If you’re looking to sell a product or service in Japan, a check on the suitability of your brand name by a marketing-savvy Japanese language professional is always recommended. Language gaffs might be water off a duck’s back to big corporate players, but make or break for smaller companies.Read More »Naming a Product for Japan
Tokyo’s Toshima-ku district, like most metropolitan municipalities, provides an automated Japanese to English machine translation service on its website. Click on the English option, and you are warned ‘content may not be 100% accurate’.
If you then click on ‘Procedures and Notifications’ (so far so good), the eye is immediately drawn to this link: ‘Information of ‘Slime mold monthly’.Read More »Machine Translation vs. Japanese
Idioms and proverbs are windows into a country’s culture, illustrating its history and mores. Context and imagery can be culturally-specific, and require careful translation. Otherwise, an idiom-heavy Japanese conversation might end up like this in English:
A: I’m thinking of buying my husband an expensive painting.Read More »“Reading the mackerel”
The opening of the first new KitKat factory in Japan for 26 years made global news earlier this summer. The snack is now Japan’s biggest selling chocolate brand and a cultural phenomenon. But how did this British-born treat get its big break in Japan – a country not short of its own confectionery? Well, it all began with a lucky linguistic quirk, university entrance exams in Japan, and some nifty transcreation.
Some years ago, Nestlé Japan noticed sales spiked in Kyushu when students were sitting university entrance exams every February and March. The reason for that, they discovered, was that in the dialect of the southern island of Kyushu, KitKat sounds rather like きっと勝つとぅ(kitto katsutou or “sure to win”).Read More »KitKat’s Big Japan Break