Japanese vs. English

About Japanese translations

The Japanese language has two pronunciation options, Hiragana and Katakana. Hiragana is the actual Japanese language. Katakana is used for non-Japanese “loanwords“. When spoken, the Katakana words resemble the English pronunciation.

Katakana examples:

solution = ソリューション soh roo show n
90 = ナインテー (Not commonly spoken in Japan. The Hiragana pronunciation is used.)
percent = パーセント = pah sen toh
simulate = シミュレート = shim yoo ray toh
desktop = デスクトップ = deh skoo toh poo
device = デバイス = deh byce
support = サポート= sah poh toe

Listen to Katakana sounds.

Hiragana examples:

  • solution = かいとう = kah ee toe ooh
  • 90 = きゅうじゅ = kyu jew
  • percent = 割 = wah ree
  • simulate = No exact Hiragana match.*
  • desktop = No exact Hiragana match.*
  • device = No exact Hiragana match.*
  • support = No exact Hiragana match.*

* There are Hiragana word choices that need to be combined with other words depending on the context. The above words, in Hiragana, cannot be used singly as an English loanword equivalent.

Listen to Hiragana sounds.

Additionally, there is a third “alphabet” called Kanji. Collectively, the three alphabets are called Kana. (Kanji ideograms are the ones that look like “Chinese” writing.)

A Kanji “word” may have varying meanings dependent upon the combination of Kanji ideograms.
There may be alternate Katakana spellings of an English word.

All such loan words written in the Roman alphabet can be changed to their corresponding Japanese ideograms. Additionally, the Japanese spelling of a given loan word or English — or other language — brand name can vary and thus alter the pronunciation of the word.

Common computer terms loanwords list.
Long list of loanwords.

Some text on this page is written in Japanese ideograms. If you do not see Japanese ideograms, please enable Japanese fonts in your computer.

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