Jump to content

How do you guys read japanese visual novel?


Recommended Posts

I am not japanese so reading japanese VN is going to be difficult for me. For you guys, especially those who are not japanese, can you translate it to English very fast or are you like me who have to read word for word which is very very slow and tedious. For example, あなた... I'll have to translate oh あ is a , and な is na and た is ta. So together is anata. And of course sometimes I'll have to go and Google translate the meaning of it cuz I don't really understand some of the japanese. In this case I know anata is you because I watch anime and am pretty sure what that means.

So I want to know how you people translate visual novel on your own very quickly. Is it because you learned Japanese or what? (I'm trying to avoid using a translator cuz that's like destroying the fun of vn)

Note: I kind of learned hiragana and katakana, but no kanji though cuz I thought I'm pretty confident in my Chinese(although kanji is not exactly the same as Chinese) and will know what the kanji means when it is on its own . But when it's combined into a sentence, I'm a goner.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want to read Japanese then you have to study Japanese to some extent. Like you mentioned, using a machine translator is no fun, so yeah... studying is basically the only way.

However, you don't need to learn the language to a fluent level in order to simply read a visual novel. Reading is simply for your own entertainment, and not for someone else's benifit, so that means you have the ability to start reading at any proficency level. (You are not translating this for anyone; you are simply reading a piece of literature because you want to. This means you decide when you start reading, as it won't have a negative effect on anyone, except perhaps yourself.) Of course it is not easy reading a book in a language you hardly know, so like you said there will be tons of times you simply don't know for sure what you read. But, using Japanese VNs and a program like Chiitrans you can slowly but surely start to learn from reading. (Check out this thread for a guide on how to set up Chiitrans.)

If you want to read Japanese VNs, you should first master the kana, then move over to studying grammar like a lunatic. Kanji knowledge is not that important if all you will use the language for is reading at a basic level. Through the use of dictionary lookups and furigana combined with a big vocabulary, you can kind of skip the kanji most of the time. (In your case, Chinese knowledge will also help, as certain kanji retain their reading/meanings from Chinese.)

Basically, start studying and read as you do. That way you will slowly but surely start learning, and reading will become easier. If you are currently at the point where simply reading a word like あなた is taking a long time, you have a while to go. But, that still doesn't mean you can't get there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Your brain is translating Japanese to english, he is not really reading in Japanese. This is typically what occur when i start learn a new language, but with the time reading and learning more, he will get used to the language and you will start "thinking" in Japanese when you read a vn.

And don't use google translate, prefer use a dictionary, google translate will make you learn broken Japanese.

There some people that use some machine assisted reading, i think that if you are starting this is a good way to read. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

As a small side note, as someone that is learning both japanese and chinese, avoid the trap that most characters have the same meaning between kanji and hanzi, while there are a good number that do, more often than not they can just end up being false friends.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Before I start reading, I will change myself in a true Nihonjin. 

1. I put on my yukata

2. I swing 10 times with my katana, which is made from true superior true nippon steel. 

3. I hug my waifu(dakimakura) and make out with her.

4. I start up the VN

5. at this point I'm a full native and can easily read any VN. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

People above summarized everything quite well, even looking at explanations as a linguist. Human brains is amazing thing. When you read/study/use language you automatically imprint specific patterns into your brain and don't need to translate. In fact, many people who read a foreign language (any language, not limited to Japanese) can easily understand the meaning while not being able to translate it. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

To add an opinion of someone who isn't exactly a pro-reader and has to heavily rely on a text hooker, I usually switch between thorough but exhausting and sloppy but relaxing reading.

I try to reserve the thorough reading more for the interesting scenes I like, while I switch to more sloppy reading for uninteresting parts or if I get too exhausted.

My knowledge of the grammar is so so and I only know the most basic kanji, so there's no chance for me to read without a text hooker, but I can at least read very simple sentences without too much problems.

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Xx123 said:

I am not japanese so reading japanese VN is going to be difficult for me. For you guys, especially those who are not japanese, can you translate it to English very fast or are you like me who have to read word for word which is very very slow and tedious. For example, あなた... I'll have to translate oh あ is a , and な is na and た is ta. So together is anata. And of course sometimes I'll have to go and Google translate the meaning of it cuz I don't really understand some of the japanese. In this case I know anata is you because I watch anime and am pretty sure what that means.

So I want to know how you people translate visual novel on your own very quickly. Is it because you learned Japanese or what? (I'm trying to avoid using a translator cuz that's like destroying the fun of vn)

Note: I kind of learned hiragana and katakana, but no kanji though cuz I thought I'm pretty confident in my Chinese(although kanji is not exactly the same as Chinese) and will know what the kanji means when it is on its own . But when it's combined into a sentence, I'm a goner.

It sounds like you've barely learned hiragana and katakana.  At that point, you just need practice.

It also sounds like you're trying to use your knowledge of Chinese characters to bypass the Japanese language.  Don't do that.  You'll hit a wall if you just try to guess the meaning of words based on extrapolating from the Chinese fragments.  You have to learn the Japanese words, including pronunciation.  Listen to the voices as you read.  Learning how words are spelled (with kanji) actually comes second.

Use a text hooker to speed up your dictionary lookups.  With practice, you'll be able to look words up nearly as fast as they're spoken.  Don't use Google Translate.  If you have to use a machine translator, use ATLAS, but try to avoid it.

You can't skip learning grammar.  Without a basic grasp of grammar you won't be able to get anywhere.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Machine TL can help a lot when you're beginning, but it shouldn't stay for long. In other words - you have to quickly develop at least a basic grasp of japanese language, fully learn kana and move away from romanization of japanese; in fact, the more you will try to romanize it, the worse and harder will your learning become. Think like a japanese and read like a japanese. You will need a lot of perseverance in our age to actually learn it; it's not easy, but perfectly doable, as long as you will put enough effort.

To make things better - it doesn't really take that long to learn japanese, to be able to read the simplest vn's - mainly moege, charage and plain slice of life/romance stories. It's the hard sci-fi/fantasy and SLG/RPG hybrids, along with stories that make use of extensive prose and poetry, that are the hardest to tackle.

Link to post
Share on other sites

After many many hours of reading those terrible moon runes this will happen to you

now seriously after reading a lot you will stop thinking 貴方 as anata but just what it is, also did you know that あなた also means darling (if a wife says it to her husband) 
btw knowing chinese is already a huge huuuuuuuge step for you since you already know the kanji, you just need to know what meanings they have in japanese (how to read them can come later since you can use a parser to know that while you read)

Edited by Deep Blue
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...