The author of the original script (and most of the text) is FizzBomb. I haven't the faintest idea who he is, and whether he's still on the net, but he' s one smart fella for doing this. His original site at the University of Pennsylvania is no longer available. Fizzbomb/PaulC, if you're looking at this and have a problem with this being on my site, please contact me and we can discuss it.
The WritingThere are not one or two, but four systems of writing in Japanese. They are:
Japanese 101or Why You Can't Say "Herman" in Kanji
Japanese is a language quite different from English and your other Western languages in many respects,. but since all we're trying to do here is write your name in Japanese, the basics will do.
In English and most other Western languages, each letter represents a sound. The same is true in Japanese, only each letter's (character's) sound is also a syllable. A Japanese syllable is composed of either a vowel, a consonant sound plus a vowel, or the letter "n". Because each character (except 'n') has a vowel in it, it sometimes becomes difficult to accurately represent Western names that have successive consonants in them (for example, Gladys, Bert, etc.). Usually a "u" is added to such troublesome consonants to make them fit with the system, since the "u" is often barely voiced in spoken Japanese. Thus, the name "Gladys" becomes "Gu-ra-de-su" in katakana, which is probably pronounced more like "G'ra-des". So things usually work out.
Speaking of vowels, here's what the vowels sound like in Japanese:
a like cha-cha
Consonants are pronounced as they are in English, except they're not all there. The most notable letter missing is "l" which is usually replaced with an "r". This is however still not a precise description of the relationship between these two letters because you will hear native Japanese speakers say the word for "six" i.e. "roku" a bit like "loku". The "n" character is pronounced like an "m" before the letters b, m, and p e.g. "Senpai" is pronounced "Sempai"
Armed with this knowledge, you might now be able to tweak your name's spelling before entering it into the magic machine.
You need to take into account whether you use American- or British-based English pronunciation, and I would say less so if you speak a non-English language. For example, if your name is Molly, you will get "Moruri" as your output. This is more English/European. If you are American, you will probably have to "tweak" the name to fit the Japanese pronunciation (the 'o' in the American Molly sounds more like the Japanese 'a') and by entering it as 'Mali', you get the more accurate 'Mari' This also illustrates another good point, which is to omit doubled consonants. While Japanese DOES have doubled consonants, the script isn't smart enough to handle them.
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