A Comprehensive Guide To Japanese Localisation For Your Business

A Comprehensive Guide to Japanese Localisation for Your Business
A Comprehensive Guide to Japanese Localisation for Your Business

While most global markets are still young and Fresh in the translation scenario, one country that stands out, is Japan. With a mature economy prioritising cultural consistency and quality over quantity, breaking through in this foreign environment can be difficult. With an objective to understand what else sets Japan apart from other international counterparts and how to overcome challenges in the Japanese localisation market, let’s proceed with the rest of the blog!

3 ways to Master Japanese localisation skills

3 ways to Master Japanese localisation skills
3 ways to Master Japanese localisation skills

Anyone smart enough to keep track of the Japanese translation and localisation market also knows the best tricks and tips for improving your game. Fret not! If you aren’t aware yet, keep reading:

1. Cultural Significance

Chances are you are more familiar with English than Japanese. In such cases, it is integral to make understanding and recollecting Japanese symbolism and cultural references a part of your education for the future. This is because Japanese vocabulary reflects changes based on geographical proximity. 

Remember that you need to have a meticulous understanding of certain specifications based on the gender, age and social rank of the speaker and listener. The more technically sound your translation, while maintaining a flare for the dramatic, the better the result. This also blurs the line between localisation and transcreation.

2. Pair up with Native Japanese Speakers

Realistically speaking, a language as complex as Japanese can often take decades to master; even for an experienced translator. Thus, most language service providers hire native speakers of both languages (aka Japanese and English, say) to maintain accuracy and emotion. Benefits pertain not only to the actual localisation process but also to registering and maintaining the records in a newly written script. 

3. Include additional Time and Capital

Japanese localisation projects can often get time-consuming and capital-heavy since locals pay greater attention to detail and cultural symbolism (or dialects specific to the region). Since attention to detail is super important, a non-native speaker may need a few tries to get the result right. Apart from worrying about the time and skill required to deliver the perfect localized content, a website localisation project also needs the existing database of usernames and passwords to be translated into the local language. This takes extra time and effort but is worth it since it allows for a smoother UI. We recommend keeping some time and resources for correction as part of the estimated turnaround time.

Read More – Why Do You Need Professional Japanese Localisation Services For Your Product?

Game localisation in Japan

Game localisation in Japan
Japan’s Rise in Gaming Industry (Source: Statista)

With a rich history of manga and anime, Japan is the third-largest market for games and gaming localisation services. The world has witnessed Japan’s rapid growth in market size (estimated to rise to $72.27 billion by 2023) in the past decade, alongside the rising popularity of mobile phones and other handheld gaming devices. What’s more? The advancement has only become more pronounced because of the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown, which made people more actively demand online entertainment such as games.

This is no surprise considering Japan is the land of games such as Mario, Pac-man and Sonic the Hedgehog. Japan also features some of the top gaming software developers, such as Nintendo, Sony PlayStation, Sega, Konami and Square Enix, to name a few. 
But- don’t let their market size fool you. Although Japanese localisation needs are at an all-time high, the market is not devoid of competition. This is because, just like in many other aspects of the country’s cultural and demographic presence, Japanese locals tend to prefer language service providers who reflect the knowledge and fluency of native speakers.

3 ways to improve your Japanese game localisation skills

3 ways to improve your Japanese game localisation skills
3 ways to improve your Japanese game localisation skills

Targeting your preferred audience as a Japanese game localisation service provider can be a challenging task. With these simple steps, you can expect to sit back and relax the next time:

  1. Remember that translating and localizing Japanese games goes beyond simply converting from one language to another. In an environment where good media and art are celebrated, translators can often receive recognition for their part in the project. 
  2. Avoid using imagery of violent actions on controversial topics such as politics and religion for localisation purposes. It makes content self-regulatory and better adapted for a wider audience. 
  3. Japanese localisation services must go hand in hand with SEO optimization rules to appear at the top of browser search results.

Read More – Game Localization And Why Is It Important Now?

How to Recognize Major Problems in Japanese Localisation

How to Recognize Major Problems in Japanese Localisation
How to Recognize Major Problems in Japanese Localisation

While speakers of every language deserve to be connected across the world, some may shy away from participating in the Japanese localisation market. This is because the task has certain challenges such as the ones listed below:

Dissimilar vocabulary

In most cases, it is not possible to translate Japanese into English and vice versa, word for word. Two languages have inherently different sentence structures as well as vocabulary. An example of the above is the Japanese phrase “wabi-sabi” aka the act of finding contentment in the natural progression of life. Note that it is quite a complex emotion and has no singular word in English (i.e. no direct translation). 

Growing pressure on human translation

While for most languages you can use AI to translate everyday words and phrases, Japanese localisation needs are not completed by only using the above. Such computer tools are not yet 100% accurate at grasping the meaning of the content. Even a moderately important document is translated using manual resources. For the newcomers in the industry, this can put an unnecessary burden on them. Cross-checking your translation using AI tools is costly too.

Complex typography

Keep in mind that Japanese has three scripts;

  • Hiragana
  • Katakana
  • Kanji

-all of which are used interchangeably for a variety of occasions. You must have comprehensive knowledge of them all to be a reliable professional translator.

Read More – Hiring A Translation Agency: Everything You Need To Know

Working with a professional LSP is the best step to ensuring accurate Japanese localisation services, they manage your requirements, preferences, and even corrections after review! This is because they provide both experience as well as expertise- a fact well-proven by MoniSa Enterprise. With an efficient team of native speakers, MoniSa Enterprise can deliver accurate and timely results, managing all your localisation needs every time. Check out our website to know more!

MoniSa Get a Free Quote

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Japanese localisation cost-effective?

With the third-largest global market, the purchasing power held by the Japanese economy is on the rise. Building your Japanese localisation skills and investing in this field of translation services can be a profitable move and bring you exposure as well. 

What is the most common form of Japanese localisation?

The most common media produced by Japan is anime and gaming software. Apart from translation services to make the above content globally available, localisation services are utilized by the companies providing them. The size of the overall Japanese language services market in 2020 was 254 billion Japanese yen. 

What is the top tip for Japanese website localisation?

Unlike Western UI designs, the Japanese audience does not have a neutral and refined palate. The top design structure for Japanese websites is to keep the webpage content rich. Furthermore, make sure all elements attract attention using bold colours and detailed navigation.  

Is Japanese transcreation related to Japanese localisation?

Most Japanese websites opt for localisation, which refers to “translating” the content or business model from one language to another. On the other hand, Japanese transcreation services refer to adapting your vision and product altogether, to also fit the cultural symbolism of a foreign language market. 

What challenges can I face during Japanese localisation?

If you are a beginner at Japanese localisation services, having CAT and AI tools can be a support. However, for the Japanese language, these computer tools are not yet perfected and need to be checked and edited manually. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Chat Now!
Need Help?
How can i help you?