Google Translate for learning Japanese

Culture and News

This article is especially for students who want to improve their writing and reading skill for important exams to enter a university.

AI, Artificial Intelligence, has been improved dramatically for the last couple of years. Google Translate, another type of AI, should be used appropriately when you learn Japanese.

Use Google Translate to find out what a kanji word is.

You may see unknown kanji words when you read in Japanese. In that case, you can find what it means easily with Google Translate.

As an example, this is how you can look up 来月 with Google Translate Handwriting:

Once you get to Google Translate, choose ‘Japanese’ then the pencil icon appears at the bottom to click.


The drawing area appears where you can write a kanji symbol you want to search.

Just write the first kanji symbol(来)if you have more than two kanji symbols(来月) in the word you are searching.

You click the kanji symbol you are after at the bottom once you finish writing it.


Choose 来月 from the list. If you can’t find what you want, you may find it in ‘See also’.


The meaning of 来月 is on the right, which is ‘next month’.

You can also learn how to read 来月 as you have it in Romaji, which is ‘Raigetsu’.

Click the speaker icon if you want to learn how to pronounce 来月.


Do not use Google Translate to improve your Japanese writing skill.

Google Translate changes a full sentence or even a full paragraph into Japanese as quickly as possible but it is often incorrect.

The problem is, you believe that it is the right answer. So you start to copy that down to give it to a Japanese teacher. Surprisingly, some of students do not even doubt or care that Google Translate may give the wrong answer.

On top of that, students start to feel that they have the ability to write in Japanese, using Google Translate.

You have not developed the Japanese writing skill with Google Translate at all. You learnt how to change an English sentence into Japanese, using AI called Google Translate. That is all. It is not your writing ability. Some people do not realise this.

It is very important to understand what you know and what you don’t know in order to improve your writing skill. If you don’t know words, you need to learn or memorise them. Google Translate prevents you from doing it because the answer is already there.

With Google Translate, you don’t have to think about or spend a lot of time on learning words and grammar patterns you should know. How easy it is. How quick it is. You feel you can now change an English sentence accurately into Japanese, but actually you can’t.

Do not forget, you’ve got the sentence (sometimes inaccurate) in Japanese because of Google Translate, not because of you.

Do you really understand how the sentence is made? Do you really remember the words and grammar patterns in the sentence? Can you make the sentence again without Google Translate if you are asked? If you can’t, that means you don’t have the sufficient language skill to translate the sentence into Japanese.

Remember, Google Translate just gives you the illusion that you are able to write in Japanese.

Do not use Google Translate to improve your Japanese reading skill.

Same as above, it is a waste of time to put an English sentence into a box to change into Japanese with Google Translate, if you want to improve a Japanese reading skill.

You have to think how every sentence is structured in order to be able to read a passage in Japanese by yourself. However, Google Translate stops you from doing it because it just gives you the whole passage in English. Do you think that helps you to develop your Japanese reading comprehension skill? I don’t think so.