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Round, Square, Curly, or Angled? Boost the Professionalism of your Japanese Translation Services!

Round, Square, Curly, or Angled? Boost the Professionalism of your Japanese Translation Services!

by Japanese Translation Services - Translation Tools

In today’s article, I will be discussing all things brackets (or parentheses as they are more commonly known in North America).

The main types in use are round brackets and square brackets, although curly and angled brackets are also seen. Today’s article looks at the best way to use, and not over-use, brackets. We will first look at the more seldom-used curly and angled brackets before covering the use of the more common rounded and square brackets.

Curly brackets are most commonly used in academic fields such as mathematics or science, and, as they would just be copied as is, are of little interest to the Japanese translator in terms of bracket selection. Angled brackets, also known as chevrons, are also commonly seen in mathematics and physics, but also have the usage of indicating internal thought as in the following example:

“Pleased to meet you” <What a loser!>

Double-angled brackets can also indicate a status. For example:


The most commonly used form of brackets is rounded brackets and they are commonly used to separate off information that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence. For example:

Paul comes from Hammersmith (in London).

The content in parentheses adds extra information but the sentence exists perfectly well without it.

More specifically, rounded brackets can be used to add the comments of the writer:

The old mom-and-pop store (hardly surprisingly) soon went out of business.

Square brackets, on the other hand, are often used with quotations. For example, they can be used to clarify something in a quote:

“The man claimed that he truly loved his hometown [Liverpool]”.

Square brackets are also used with the word [sic] to accurately quote a source but indicate that there is an error. For example:

“Internal in-fighting is not good for moral[sic]”.

Lastly, square brackets can be used to indicate that a certain portion of the quote has been omitted:

“Real Madrid are one of the most successful teams of this generation […] and are going for their third consecutive Champions League title in 2018”.

Just as important as learning to use brackets properly is learning not to over-use them (there has been a recent trend for using brackets when a comma would be more appropriate). Learning to use brackets in the right way, however, will increase the professionalism of your Japanese translation services, and is an important skill for professional translators to master.

About the Author
Simon Way is a contributing author to SAECULII YK, the owner of Translation Services Japan, Tokyo Visit SAECULII for the latest professional case studies, articles and news on Japanese Translation Services

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