German-Japanese Translations by Experienced, Native-Speaker Translators

Japanese

Language combinations for translations involving Japanese:

  • Japanese to German
  • German to Japanese
  • English to Japanese
  • Japanese to English

Eisenmann Übersetzungsteam provides technical translations by native speakers of Japanese into and from Japanese for all subject areas: economics, law, technology, medicine, advertising, IT etc.

Our subject areas range from finance to law, from technology to advertising, websites, certificates and references.

All texts are translated by experienced specialist translators of Japanese into their mother tongues (Japanese or German), as per the native speaker principle.

The minimum price for a translation is €60, excluding VAT.

The History of Japanese

Japanese has a total of around 127 million native speakers, living in Japan as well as in the USA and South America (largely Brazil).

The exact origins of the Japanese language remain to this day unexplained. Only three indigenous languages of the Japanese islands are known; Japanese, Ainu in Hokkaido and the language of Ryukyo (Okinawa).

Linguists are divided on the linguistic classification of Japanese because so far it only has a clear connection to the Ryukyuan language. Both languages – Japanese and Ryukyo – are derived from Proto-Japanese whose nearest 'relatives' are Korean languages such as the now-dead Old Koguryo from the north of the peninsula.

However, we assume that during the Jomon period in western Japan an Austronesian language was spoken which was related to the Melanesian and Micronesian island languages. Around the start of the Yayoi period (approx. 300 BC), the technology of rice farming and the use of bronze reached North Kyushu from Korea, and from there spread across the entire western part of Japan. It is probable that the Korean language was brought alongside Korean culture to Japan, whereby it led to a mix between Altaic (Siberian-Turkish) and Austronesian language elements in Korea and Japan.

In the third or fourth Century, the Japanese came into contact with the already-influential Chinese culture through Korean immigrants. When Japanese monks visited China in the fourth or fifty Century in order to study Buddhism, they introduced Chinese characters and other cultural elements to Japan. As a result, the local Japanese culture mixed, starting with the religious centres, with the Chinese influences.

Particularities of Japanese

Despite the fact that the Japanese character system descends from the Chinese system, the roots of the Japanese language are fully independent. The pronunciation and grammar of both languages are fundamentally different because, unlike Chinese, Japanese is not a tone language and is classed grammatically as an agglutinative language due to its numerous grammatical suffixes, which are similar to the inflection forms, prepositions and conjunctions of European languages. Chinese, however, is classed grammatically as an isolating language.

It must also be said that the grammar of Japanese – similar to that of Korean – corresponds to Altaic in terms of agglutination and word order, and that the pronunciation – in Japanese, there are no double consonants and few end consonants – descends from Austronesian.

In modern Japanese, Chinese and ancient Japanese elements are still clearly distinguishable.

In the vocabulary of Japanese today, there are borrowed words from several languages. In the 3rd Century, together with the Chinese script, numerous Chinese words were assumed into the Japanese language and their pronunciations were adjusted. These assimilated Chinese words today constitute a large portion of the Japanese vocabulary.

In the 16th Century, the beginnings of a short-lived Christian mission in Japan by the Portuguese caused some Portuguese words to be adopted into Japanese, i.e. “pan” (bread) and “tempura” (fried fish and vegetables in batter).

Borrowed Words in Japanese

The percentage of words borrowed from the European languages is currently between 10 and 15 per cent, and fluctuates depending on the subject field. Words borrowed from European languages are, however, not written with Chinese characters, rather in the Katakana syllabary, and they are often shortened and changed in pronunciation. The word “pasokon” has thus arisen from the English term “personal computer”. It is also frequently the case that these words' meanings shift, so that they no longer match their original counterparts.

Since medical education in Japan followed German lecturers and textbooks between around the middle of the 19th Century until the 20th Century, we find many borrowed words (mostly in the field of medicine) in Japanese from German, i.e. "runge" from "Lunge" and "kuranke" from "Kranke". However, there are also borrowed German words in philosophy (i.e. “geshutaruto” from “Gestalt”) and mountaineering (i.e. “shutaikuaizen” from “Steigeisen”), as well as terms such as “arubaito” from “Arbeit”, meaning a part-time job in Japanese.

Since the mid-19th Century, most modern Japanese terms related to modern life have been derived from English.

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