Everything said and learnt; certain languages are still extraordinarily tough when a native English speaker is confronting them. That should explain why in a list created by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) about the approximate time needed to learn a specific language as an English speaker, Japanese falls in a different bracket of complexity and time altogether. Comes with some asterisks and turns out as more difficult for native English speakers to learn when compared to other languages in the same category.
It is important for any English speaker to understand the ‘why’ adequately, and hence, carve an appropriate strategy and deploy apt translation services for Japanese.
1. A lot of the language’s difficulty level can be attributed to how the language has evolved. Throughout history, it has passed through different phases and has embraced and assimilated different influences at various points and various degrees.
2. You may wonder that despite being an East Asian language like the Korean, Japanese is particularly intricate in its structure and treatment. Yes, both the languages have picked character writing from Chinese, and have almost similar grammar structures; but as any adept Japanese translator will caution you; the pronunciation, alphabets, and vocabulary items are quite a different ballgame when it comes to the Japanese language.
3. The composition of a lot of and a variety of alphabets also sets the Japanese in a different segment compared to English, Spanish, Italian and even French. While using Chinese characters, like for proper nouns, the Japanese tend to construct the written language in a potpourri of alphabets, making the consequent use of language very confusing and extra-skillful. That makes the translation services specifically tricky and with requisites of real expertise and insight.
4. This language has also taken several pronunciations and on the top of it, has created two syllabaries, which are like alphabets, but larger over all these years. Combination and usage of these syllabaries add a different layer of complexity to the language. They have also added Roman alphabets for certain words to make the language more foreign-friendly but that, at times, it only adds to more confusion and doubts.
5. The presence of gnarly, incomprehensible rules for the laymen; and tricky nuances of usage and pronunciation further make the language quite difficult to learn and administer in usual, professional aspects. The Chinese have arguably more characters than what the Japanese use, but since they are usually pronounced in only one or two ways, the learning process is relatively simpler to what one goes through with the Japanese language. There is a slew of rules on how to combine characters in the latter case as well.
To add to this dilemma, the functioning of Grammar in Japanese is also not easy as verbs may not behave as verbs at times, and a lot still stays dependent on subject object and situations. There are so many writing systems in the Japanese context like Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji and Romaji.
So take into account qualities like proficiency and a strong ability to deal with all these intricate differences while choosing someone as a Japanese translator and hiring translation services.