State of Japanese Search MarketAugust 24, 2009
Overture will operate under Yahoo JapanAugust 28, 2009
There are many foreign words imported and adopted by Japanese, which are pretty much part of their lives. These foreign words are called “Gairaigo” (words came from foreign countries), and typically written with Katakana and Roma-ji.
Gairaigo or foreign words are in fact everywhere in Japan, especially so in the IT industry. Japanese see these words on TV and Internet, and hear others use them in the meetings. But, that doesn’t mean most of them know what they are. The funny thing is that according to iShare’s recent survey, nearly 80% said that they choose to go on without finding out the meaning of these words! See some of the top ranking “clueless IT words” from the survey below. This survey was focused on IT related words, but foreign words are everywhere in the life and not limited to IT industry.
The survey reminded me of one of my friends in Japan who tried to set up PPC account management tool for her online shop. She told me that even though it was in “Japanese”, she had no idea what those words in tabs and options were. Foreign words in Katakana may look cool, modern, and easy to translate… well, no translation involved really since you just write it with Katakana that sounds similar to the original words. Translators can say it’s now written in Japanese, but that doesn’t mean it’s written in the way that most Japanese could understand. Is this a good product, or good customer relation???
Top IT words that many Japanese don’t understand – secretly:
*Words inside ( ) are written with Katakana in Japan, but shown here in English for the convenience of our English-speakeing readers.