Japanese

Japanese

One of the most important languages of the 20th century due to the emergence of the Japanese industrial powerhouse, the Japanese language is spoken by around 128m people, primarily in Japan itself.

Often grouped with other Asiatic languages, Japanese does share some vocabulary and written characters with Chinese and also borrows Latin characters, mainly for imported words and acronyms.

Although primarily spoken in Japan there are sections of societies where it is either the primary or a strong secondary language such as Brazil with 1.5m speakers and parts of the US with 1.2m.

Due to the wide influence of Japanese culture and business practices, many Japanese words have become ubiquitous with words like ‘Karate’, ‘Sushi’ and ‘Samurai’ entering the lexicon of most countries around the world.

Within Japan itself there are many different dialects that are more or less intelligible to other Japanese speakers however modern Japanese is the official language and this is based primarily on the Kansai dialect.

If you are doing business with Japan then it will be important to have a native speaker to work with you on translation or interpretation as the honorific language structure is complex and very important to the Japanese.

There are even three different politeness levels within the language, the plain form (kudaketa), the simple polite(teinei) and the advanced polite form (keigo). Knowing which form to use on what occasion is very important in business and offence could easily be given if the wrong type of politeness is used!

We are able to provide native Japanese speakers who can help you navigate the politeness difficulties and help you with all of your translation requirements.

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