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Japanese Website Translation – What Do You Need to Consider?

Posted by Anne Quach on November 17, 2021.

Being the world’s third-largest GDP and the world’s third-largest developed economy, Japan is seen as a potential destination for many foreign businesses. To make a splash in this market, your company need to make sure your online presence is available in Japanese as Japanese people prefer using their mother tongue over any foreign language.

In today’s post, let’s take a look at some key factors you need to consider in order to achieve an effective Japanese website translation project.

1. Customize Your Website Design

When visiting your website, the first thing customers see is not how engaging your content is, but how eye-catching your web design look. One thing to keep in mind is that it is common for a website layout to be attractive in one market but not in another. This is because people’s aesthetics differ across cultures. Therefore, having a customized website design that is to the likings of Japanese audiences should be one of your priorities.

For Japanese website translation projects, you should consider rearranging or redesigning your website. Here are two points to consider:

    • Design Preference – Some countries prefer minimal web design with lots of graphics and little text, whereas Japanese websites are likely to be designed with dense content and few or no images. Take a look at the example below. Due to the Japanese preference for obtaining clear and complete information from a website page as quickly as possible, Starbucks’ website uses heavy text while the images are few and far between.

japanese websites - japanese website translation services

Starbucks’ websites in the US (left) and Japan (right)

    • Text Orientation – Japanese people use both horizontal and vertical writing orientations. While vertical writing is more common in traditional content, historical books, novels, and other humanistic writings, horizontal writing is more modern and used in most business documents, scientific writings, and other types of writing. Both orientations are sometimes combined, especially when people need to make the most of limited space in newspapers or magazines. Whichever text orientation you choose will have a great impact on the design of your website.

 

2. Leave Space for Text Expansion

When it comes to translating languages, there is no such thing as one-to-one correspondence. The length of translated words can vary significantly when compared to the original text. This results in either a lack or abundance of white space. In the case of English to Japanese website translation, translated Japanese texts are likely to be 20-55%  longer than their original.

English to Japanese text expansion

Ideally, when translating your website into Japanese, you should consider the possibility of word expansion and leave extra blank space for the text to grow. Or you could ask translators to use shorter words and expressions to avoid excessive text length. However, this method may influence the meanings and flows of the content. Another option is to use Desktop Publishing (DTP) services. To ensure that the Japanese translated texts fit the website design, desktop publishers will change the size of the words or fonts.

 

3. Don’t forget the law

Another factor you need to consider when handling Japanese website translation projects is Japanese law. You should acknowledge the Act Against Unjustifiable Premiums and False Representations which prohibits websites from making any claims about a product unless there is sufficient evidence to support those claims. For example, you cannot self-claim you are number one in the industry unless there is research to prove that fact.

Don't forget the law - Japanese website translation

Make sure that all information you mention on your Japanese website follow the country’s regulations.

 

4. Always Aim for Perfection

Small flaws can be tolerated and accepted in some countries. However, when it comes to the Japanese market, this is not the case. Japanese people expect absolute perfection. If you do a bad-quality Japanese website translation job that contains some errors in spelling and word use, it is most likely that Japanese users will leave your website right away.

When dealing with Japanese website translation services, we strongly advise that your texts be translated, edited, and proofread by three linguists. Or in other words, you should use TEP services instead of TO (Translation Only). This is due to the fact that, in many cases, having accurate and error-free translations are insufficient. To perfect the tone and get the authentic feel for your content, they require extensive corrections and finishing touches from editors and proofreaders.

 

5. Translate Your Website with Native Professionals 

Japanese is considered one of the most difficult languages to master in the world. This is because the Japanese language has complex writing scripts, various Japanese honorifics, loanwords, and many other language rules. Thus, you cannot randomly work with any Japanese translator out there who offers a cheap rate. What you need is professional qualified native Japanese linguists with relevant backgrounds and experience in Japanese website translation in your domain.

Also, it is ideal to have a native Japanese person on your team to assist you to understand Japanese cultural references and detect factors that need changes to help your content website be more appealing and appropriate. A native Japanese can also be of great help in correcting the writing style and tone of your website.

Another option is to work with a professional Japanese website translation agency that has a team of experienced and native Japanese translators as well as Japanese localization experts to guarantee cultural appropriation for your translated website.

If you are looking for a great translation partner for your Japanese website translation projects, look no further than GTE Localize. With years of experience in providing website translation services for Asian markets, we have the best Japanese linguist resources in the market. And the rates we offer are budget-saving.

Why should you use our Japanese website translation?

    • We provide comprehensive services – Website Content Translation, Multilingual SEO, Localization Testing.
    • Our native Japanese linguists have 5+ years of experience in website translation.
    • We offer continuous Japanese website translation through Crowdin and Lokalise.
    • We have completed numerous successful website translation projects.

Japanese Website Translation - What Do You Need to Consider

Drop us a line and let our Japanese website translation experts give you a free 1:1 consultancy.