English Translations, Where and Why Not

There are quite a number of books out there that have both Japanese and English.  Some of them are in popular form of manga, and others are more serious pieces of literature. Sometimes you even have to buy two books, or look at two websites to get both. Its also very common with lyrics to find both the Japanese script and the rough English translation all over the internet.

So where can you find these gems?


Remember that time you were a kid, and had fun reading all sorts of articles on the shiny new thing called a computer? Well maybe you’re too old to have young kid memories like that, but either way, the computer is now where its at. Who needs to kill trees anymore? Well anyways, because people out there feel the same way, they’ve made all sorts of sites geared into easy reading to engage children!

While sadly Yahoo きっず has an English version, they’re not the same, and their articles aren’t either. Don’t dismay, if reading from Yahoo きっずis a bit hard for you, then try out

キッズ * ウェブ * ジャパン:

Luckily here the English version of the site has a lot of the same articles, and then more. This site is really geared towards people wanting to learn about Japan. So not only are you able to practice reading your Japanese, with translated articles a few clicks away, but you’ll be learning about Japan at the same time! who can beat that yo!

Need something a bit more technical for your level? Or maybe such easy topics of exploration leave you snoozing. Well here is a website of side to side articles that might leave you scratching your head a bit more.

Scientific American:

Just simply click on a link for the article you would like to read and see snazzy English by Japanese! Of course these articles focus on scientific matters mostly.

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu:

Maybe you need something more poetic, speaking to your softer side? This is a collection of 100 poems from 100 different artists. You get three frames, Japanese script, Romaji, and then English.

Anime Lyrics dot Com:

This site you have to go outta your way to click on the real Japanese text, but don’t be dismayed, when all is said and done, you get Japanese, romaji, and English script for all your favorite anime songs!

There are tons of websites out there in Japanese that are really easy and geared towards kids. Just type in キッズ into Google Japan and explore the websites out there geared towards children. While I’m sure there are a lot more grown up like ones, it seems people request children like stories because they feel it will be easier to start to grasp. My recommendation overall is, if you’re not having fun, stop trying to read it!

Video Games

For all you PS and DS lovers out there, you can find a lot of games that exist in both Japanese and English. I mean, its your wallet and certainly buying these games and playing them wont be a loss if you enjoy that. Don’t just buy a game you’re not interested in either, and don’t think about what you might learn from it, just play to have fun.

You might find that buying an English game book for the Japanese game would be a lot more practical. Seeing how you can’t really just jump ship from one game to another, a text (like say the newest FF’s game book) you can flip to exactly where you are.

Often times the interfaces are exactly the same, and sometimes they’re not. If you feel really outgoing and want to find roms to try before you buy, there are a number of sites out there to help you. I personally wont be linking said sites because its technically…not allowed! 😀

Play AsiaJapan Video GamesGenki Video GamesJapan Game Stock

I’ve ordered from Play Asia and can vouch for them, however the others I do not have any experience with and I’d use caution. 😀


I’ve read in several places that if you’re lucky enough to be in Japan, if you go to the foreign language section, you can often find English by Japanese text. So that’s one place to look. I know that while browsing in the foreign language section of my local Boarders, I found one. Though I didn’t like the story, and it was the only one. I decided not to waste my money on things I don’t like.

Manga is an awesome way to get in your Japanese. They cannot really alter it too much, so you can get a really good idea of what’s going on. Fun thing is there are lots of places to buy Japanese manga, and lots of fans like to translate them and put their translations up online. Or simply buy both the Japanese and English version.

Why you don’t want them

Now as a side note. I personally think you don’t need to see the English translations of things you’re learning. You got big boy/girl pants on and looking stuff up isn’t really that much harder now is it? I personally think English translations can also be misleading. This holds true for subtitles on your anime. It just doesn’t also match up, or sometimes it’s totally incorrect. I’m sure anyone who knows enough Japanese can see the butchering of the subtitles to FF Advent Children, for instance. Why rely on someone else’s work, that can be riddled with mistakes, rather than just put in a bit more time, and get it yourself?

It doesn’t matter what level you are, or how many kanji you know. Looking stuff up is easy cakes when you get the right materials around you. If you find looking something up is difficult then you may be using an interface that isn’t for you. There are lots of varieties of dictionaries and such out there that you shouldn’t be stuck with something you do not like.

Another reason I recommend stepping away from subs, translations, fanlations, (:D whatever you wanna call em), is also because you’ll tend to remember those things in English.

Doug (my honey pot) often forces me to put subs on when I watch some shows that he really likes. But with as much immersion as he has around him, one day he decided that he didn’t want them. At the end of the show he was all excited and angry at once. He said basically that he already knew a good portion of what was being said, and could understand a lot of it from context. The rest wasn’t really important, and that thinking about this episode, its in Japanese. When he thinks about the episode before it, the phrases he remembers the people saying is English, in his own voice.

I did an experiment to see if this was true with me, and sure enough, Whenever I thought about shows I watch with subtitles, I think about them with English phrases and such, where as when i divorce those subtitles, I remember it in Japanese. You might be this same way. It took me having a lot of will power to not read those subtitles in order to get the English out of my mind, but I was sweating. It was so much easier just turning them off.

If you feel uncomfortable because  you’re a beginner and you really want to know what happened. Try just reading English synopsis of what went down. Sometimes I do this for my drama’s that have no subtitles, if I’m really that super curious and I cannot hear what they’re saying enough to look it up. The synopsis can be found all over, just Google it :D.

One Response to “English Translations, Where and Why Not”
  1. Lan says:

    That bit about remembering the show in English is so, so true.

    I’m going to have to rewatch a pile of shows with subs off. Such a chore 😉

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  • Read More or Die! 2011

    _2011 End Results_
    Total read for Tadoku:
    __433.3 pages!__
    Placement: 115/188
    October 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 97/120
    End Tally: 59.2
    July 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 86/142
    End Tally: 195.6
    April 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 62/106
    End Tally: 154.5
    January 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 84/99
    End Tally: 24
    August 2010 Contest:
    Placement: 20/41
    End Tally: 160

  • Read Or Die 2013

    Goal: 600
    Total: 906.26
    blew my goal outta the water!

    March 2-Week:
    Goal: 125

    Goal: 250
    Total: 314

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