Significant Gap English and Japanese

There are significant gaps between English and Japanese in terms of conveying what we want to say in conversation.

English is a language to convey what we want to say precisely as much as possible by using many kinds of vocabulary. Whereas in Japanese, we tend to add emotions to make listeners understand what we want to say from the context.


I noticed these significant differences because I have been involved in the Audio Speech Transcription project at my work. There are recorded multiple conversations in English and Japanese at one of the travel agencies’ customer service desks.

As long as I listen to the conversation recorded between a customer and a clerk in English, they try to describe the things they want to say in as detail as possible using verbs and nouns appropriately possible. Therefore, it was not so difficult to transcribe the conversation in texts.
However, the recorded conversations in Japanese were challenging to transcribe in texts simply because there were so many interjections such as Um, Aw, Hm, Gah, etc. and many missing words,

Japanese people tend to use these interjections quite a lot in conversations.

I can assume that we don’t consider the language as not simply a tool to convey the information but the one to make others understand the feeling and emotions behind it at the same time.

When I listen to the audios in Japanese, I can feel how they are in the middle of calling with the clerk without interpreting single words despite the fact they use fewer vocabularies anyway. 

The main priority is to make them understand how we are now. We want them to guess our current emotion before the context of meaning why they are calling directly.

If you listen to our daily conversation, you may be confused about how less we use words themselves. Despite describing things in detail using words, we tend to skip that process and expect the opponent to feel beyond the words.
Even though these are conversations between the clerk and customer to claim something on the call, they are not describing what they need to say in detail to solve the issues. Still, they seem to expect the clerk to understand the situation now without using languages appropriately.

Especially in the conversation between intimate friends or couples at home, they tend not to use words themselves anymore. They rather keep silent or speak less or vaguely.

No wonder why English has become a global language.

English is a suitable language required to describe things in detail and precisely as possible to convey what we want to say to others.

The funny thing is that when I speak English, I naturally talk longer by picking up multiple vocabularies to compose what I want to say, but in Japanese, I tend to talk less by skipping words.

I enjoy learning English because I can remember many different ways of expressing myself using massive other words and idioms.

Language is strongly associated with culture.

Japanese is mainly used in our homogeneous society, so emotional sharing and understanding may be prioritized beyond the meaning itself.


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