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Do you Need a Translator if You Travel to Japan?

(Last Updated On: November 17, 2021)

Translator if you travel to Japan

Planning a trip to Japan? As a foreigner, your main concern would be the language barrier. Traveling to a country where you don’t speak the local language is a challenge, but also a fun and unique experience. You can use your trip to embrace the culture and traditional values of Japan by interacting more with the locals.

If you’re traveling alone, you may need to ask Japanese people how to buy a train ticket and how to get to your destination. The situation will become a lot difficult if you haven’t accessed a translation app or hired a professional translator to help you with your trip. However, when you’re on a tour guide, you may get to hear the English translation of the Japanese language by your instructor. Either way, you’ll need someone who could provide you with language assistance services.

Japan is a fascinating destination for tourists. Here, you’ll find a seamless blend of old traditions and new technology. There are gorgeous locations you can explore through train rides. It’s the kind of place where people will wait patiently in line for water after a natural disaster, but socially ghost you if you accidentally offend them. With a language and culture so distinct, you may need a lot of guidance before beginning your Japan trip. But the most important among them is to solve your language issue with the help of a translator. In this article, you’ll find guidelines about how to get accurate translations during your trip to Japan. So, let’s begin!

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Japanese Language

Japanese has no official status in Japan but is the de facto national language of the country. Some people may consider it tough language. But according to linguists’ point of view, spoken Japanese is a lot easy for foreigners to learn as compared to all other languages. It is an East-Asian language spoken by around 128 million people. As a Japanese citizen, she or he does not need a visa to stay in Japan. As the country’s economy is always growing, both Japanese companies and foreign companies need translators.

Japanese is used only in the island country and it looked like one of the most difficult languages for English speakers to learn. As a tourist, you can visit various Japanese websites for online reservations are operated by the JR train companies, but typically they require Japanese language skills. With three different types of alphabets – Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji – Japanese is an esoteric language.

Do you need a translator if you travel to Japan?

People who travel to Japan for the first time often ask this question. But to be honest, it’s not every other day you’ll get the chance to explore this country. So, whenever you plan to visit Japan, make sure you’re already. To get the best experience, you may wonder about hiring a travel guide. When it comes to overcoming the language barrier, you may or may not need a translator’s help. If you can understand and speak Japanese well, you don’t need translation assistance. But in case you are a foreigner who is traveling to Japan for the first time, you should not take any second chances and hire a translator for your help. If you can’t afford the help of a translator, you can download the translation apps. They are equally fair and helpful. Read this blog post to know about Travel document translation.

To learn more about the translation tools that will be helpful for your trip, read the blog till the end!

Translation Apps

The language barriers are easier to eliminate now with the help of advanced technology. Translation apps are never 100% accurate, but they are helpful enough to break the language barrier. Some of the most commonly used apps that provide machine translation include:


This app offers text, voice, and photo translation of foreign languages into a Japanese translation. While you can translate between English and Japanese, there are around 40 language pairs available. As a bonus, it works offline once you’ve downloaded the requisite language packs. You can find this app on both iOS and Android.

Japanese Translator Offline

As the name indicates, this app is specifically made to assist non-Japanese speakers. In this app, you’ll type in the sentence you need and it spits out a Japanese rendering for you. You can also speak into the app. It is extremely convenient for a non-Japanese speaker. As the name suggests, you won’t need Wi-Fi to use this. It’s a free app. Currently; the app is applicable in iOS only.

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can you hire a translator in japan

Translation Tools

When searching for on-site information of specific locations, you can use translation tools directly on the web. It is perfect for translating otherwise difficult Japanese you may encounter on the sites. Following are some of the best website-based translation tools:

Excite Translator

Excite Translator is a Japanese translation service that has been around since 2000 and has a reputation for high accuracy in converting foreign languages from/into Japanese. In 2018, a service that accurately translates difficult-to-understand Japanese addresses into English, Chinese, and Korean has also been added, so you can conveniently check the locations of your destination in advance. It is a free translation site that is strong in the translation of thesis, specification, instructions, and business documents. This translation tool was more popular in the early years of its launch. But now the significant importance is taken over by Google Translate.

Google Translate

It is a universal translation tool and therefore natives of all languages can use it. There are three main parts of this site i.e. text, voice, and photo translation. Using this tool, you point your phone camera at the text you want to read, and the optical character recognition (OCR) technology ‘reads’ the text and displays the translation directly on your phone screen, displacing the original text. To do it the easy way, you can simply type your English text and the website will provide its Japanese translation. The best use of Google Translate is that it works offline as well which means you can use it anywhere. You can set the language pair as per your choice.

Translator Devices

The new advancements in technology have provided translation assistance in a different form. For example, a new portable translator machine is introduced, which has been considerably modified during recent years. You can just speak a simple sentence in it and it will translate your voices into other languages with high speed and greater accuracy. A few examples of these translator devices include:

KAZUNA e Talk 5

It is a two-way voice translator device that offers services in around 73 languages. Its rental rate is 199 yen + tax per day. This information is for those who want to rent a translator device for the time being if they can’t afford to buy it. Its battery life is six hours if you use it continuously.


A device that translates only four languages i.e. from English to Japanese, Chinese, Spanish. It does not have a touch screen. You can simply push the translation button to switch it on. The two-way voice translator is unavailable in it. Its battery life is two hours for continuous use.

Pocketalk W

it is another translator device that you can casually put in your pocket. It provides translation services in 74 languages. A two-way voice translator is available in it. And its battery life is seven hours for continuous use.

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