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Understanding Japanese Name Translation
By:Takanori Tomita

This article will help you understand the difference between Japanese name translation and English name translation, and help you understand what goes selecting a name, especially for kanji scripts.

There are three different Japanese scripts to write your name in Japanese. In Japanese, you can render your name phonetically, making use of the katakana, hiragana or even kanji.

Kanji script are always used for their meanings exclusively.

Hiragana script are primarily used for words whose kanji are excessively difficult and obscure, as ending for some kanji based words and for particles.

Katakana scripts are used mainly for foreign words and to emphasize native words, serving a role similar to that played by italics in English.

The most popular script for Westerners is the kanji.

Difference between Japanese name and English name translation Unlike the English name translation, Japanese people used kanji only as phonetic symbols, with no regard for their actual meaning, when translating names in Japanese,

For example, a simple word like ‘Ì (Karada) meaning "body", can also be written with other combination of kanji characters like, ‰Ø—…‘É (Ka - flower, ra - change, and da - buddha),

whose meanings bear no relevance at all to the intended meaning.

This method actually applies for the Japanese name translation.

So, can't we write English names with meaning? We have two different ways to write names in kanji with meaning.

Phonetic and eulogistic translation - This is the method that's got it all sound and meaning. It combines kanji characters whose sound approximate the English name being rendered into Japanese. Unlike the Purely phonetic translation called (Ategi) in Japanese, it cares the character's meaning.

For example, writing David in kanji is

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