Translating into Japanese is no easy matter given the complexities of the Japanese language and script. If you need to translate sensitive materials into Japanese, it's important to select qualified professional Japanese translators.

The quality of Japanese translations is critical when the text is for business, legal, scientific or technical purposes. In an effort to save money, some people and companies assign their translation work to bilingual amateur translators and end up with documents of doubtful quality. This is an acceptable practice to translate informal communications. But If you expect clear and effective communications with your Japanese clients, friends or employees, look for a qualified translator.

What makes a good Japanese translator?

Not only must a top quality Japanese-English translator be proficient in the two languages, he or she must also have special training in linguistics and expertise in a given field that would have its own special vocabulary.

1. They must be native Japanese speakers

Since Japanese culture is so distinctive in the world, it is absolutely necessary to have a native Japanese speaker do any translation into Japanese. There are actually two forms of Japanese considered standard: hyōjungo, or standard Japanese, and kyōtsūgo, colloquial Japanese that is spoken by the people in casual situations. The Japanese government has taken steps to modernize Japanese so that there is less distinction between the two; nevertheless, your professional Japanese translator must have an ingrained sense as to the appropriate Japanese expression to be used in any given situation. Any misappropriation of formality is particularly offensive in Japanese.

2. Excellent writers and linguists

Even for a native speaker, a special aptitude for language is required of the professional translator, and he or she must demonstrate a facility for capturing the entire meaning and tone of the source language and reformulating it into the target language. Artistry and precision are needed, as well as specialized training in linguistics.

3. The details

Professional translators are dedicated to delivering quality translations with the utmost attention to detail. Any translation can convey "sort of" the message and intent, even one produced electronically. When your accuracy and presentation really matter, make sure that your translator pays careful attention to every detail of grammar, diction, usage, style and format so the end product seems to have been originally written in Japanese.

4. Years of training and experience

When dealing with demanding translations, look for Japanese translators that have at least formal translation studies and a couple of years of professional experience. Translation of marketing or media material also requires special training in order to transmit the most effective message with an idiomatic vocabulary. Whatever the nature of the translation job that you need, selecting the right translator will make a huge difference in the quality of the translated text.

5. Experience in the Subject Matter

Translations often require that the translator is highly proficient in specific fields of knowledge: for instance, software engineering or legal contracts. Make sure that the linguist that you are using is well versed in the terminology and style of the field.

In short, if you or your business relies on accurate communications use a qualified translator.