Vocabulary for Your IT Job in Japan

Vocabulary for Your IT Job in Japan

If you work in IT in Japan, you’ll find yourself using a lot of English words. However, not all terms are straight-up loanwords. Have a look at our list of Japanese IT terms to prepare yourself for everyday communication!

Japanese IT Terms

Because IT is a relatively young technology and mostly developed in English-speaking countries, a lot of IT terms in Japanese are just the “katakana-fied” version of the respective English term. For example, “system” is システム, “to compile” is コンパイルする, and “cache” is キャッシュ. Because of this, engineers are often able to understand each other even if one of them doesn’t know (much) Japanese.

So if you work in IT, you don’t have to learn any Japanese? Sadly, no. Sometimes, there is no katakana version of a term. In other cases, there’s both a katakana term and a Japanese term, but the latter happens to be more widely used.

Engineers and developers with a decent amount of experience might still understand when you brute-force things with katakana English. But even if you don’t use the “Japanese version” of certain terms yourself, you’ll still have to understand others when they use them. For communication to go smoothly, there’s simply no way around learning (at least some) Japanese.

Below, you can find a list of IT vocabulary, divided into groups based on where and by whom there are used.

General Computer Vocabulary

First, here’s some vocabulary for general computer stuff that even non-engineers use very often.

Japanese Kana English
起動 (する) きどう to start up; to boot up
接続 (する) せつぞく to connect (to the internet etc.)
印刷 (する) いんさつ to print out
入力 (する) にゅうりょく input; to fill in
出力 (する) しゅつりょく output
→ also used for “to print out”
添付 (する) てんぷ to attach (a file etc.)
貼り付ける はりつける to paste (CTRL + V)
切り取る きりとる to cut (CTRL + X)
コピペ (する) to copy and paste
(上書き) 保存 (うわがき) ほぞん save
(just 保存 is “save” where 上書き保存 is “overwrite & save”)
書き出す かきだす to export (a file)
共有 (する) きょうゆう to share (a file, a link etc.)
挿入 (する) そうにゅう to insert (a line/row in Excel etc.)
圧縮 (する) あっしゅく to compress (a file)
変換 (する) へんかん convert (kana input to kanji)
同期 (する) どうき to synchronize (devices)
画面 がめん screen
本体 ほんたい (computer) tower [lit. “main body”]
端末 たんまつ terminal
拡張子 かくちょうし file extension
関数 かんすう function (e.g. in Excel)

Web Vocabulary

Next is vocabulary for the web. You’ll encounter it when it comes to building/coding websites, running blogs, etc.

Japanese Kana English
実装 (する) じっそう to implement (a design etc.)
下層 かそう lower level; sub-
e.g. 下層ページ (sub-page)
アクセス解析 アクセスかいせき web analytics [lit. “access analytics”]
直帰率 ちょっきりつ bounce rate
離脱率 りだつりつ exit rate
運用 (する) うんよう to run; to maintain (a website, a service, a blog…)
崩れる くずれる to break down; to fall apart (e.g. a website’s design because of incorrect coding)
はば width
高さ たかさ height
余白 よはく white space (can be used to mean both “margin” and “padding”. If you want to be specific, use マージン and パディング)
適用 (する) てきよう to assign (e.g. a style to an HTML element)
パンくず breadcrumbs (navigation)
外部リンク がいぶリンク external link
内部リンク ないぶリンク internal link
自然検索 しぜんけんさく organic search
検索結果画面 けんさくけっかがめん SERP (search engine results page)
順位 じゅんい position (of a page on a SERP)
流し込む ながしこむ to insert (ex. text into a HTML template
訪問 ほうもん (website) visit; session

Programming/Developer Vocabulary

Finally, here’s a collection of words that you’ll run into once you leave the realm of HTML and CSS and enter “real programming” and development territory.

Japanese Kana English
開発 (する) かいはつ to develop (a program, an app etc.)
開発者 かいはつしゃ developer
開発環境 かいはつかんきょう development environment
あたい value
引数 ひきすう argument; parameter
文字列 もじれつ string
変数 へんすう variable
配列 はいれつ array
仕様 しよう specification
乱数 らんすう random number
擬似乱数 ぎじらんすう pseudo-random number
真偽値 OR
しんぎち OR
boolean value
オブジェクト指向 オブジェクトしこう object-oriented
整数 (型) せいすう (がた) integer (type)
処理 (する) しょり to process (information)
並列処理 へいれつしょり parallel processing/computing
仮想 かそう virtual
暗号化 (する) あんごうか encryption
復号 (する) ふくごう decryption
認証 (する) にんしょう to authenticate
静的 せいてき static
動的 どうてき dynamic
人工知能 じんこうちのう artificial intelligence, AI
冗長性 じょうちょうせい redundancy
脆弱性 ぜいじゃくせい vulnerability
二進数 にしんすう binary number

Looking for IT jobs in Japan?

If you’re interested in working in Japan as an IT engineer/developer, you can always start by searching for jobs yourself on job boards like gaijinpot, daijob or tokyodev. There, however, you’ll only find a fraction of the jobs – Japan is a country where connections matter, and there are many hidden opportunities.

If you’ve got no time (or mind) network for yourself, you can always give Diversity HR a try. It’s a free service run by Zenken Corporation that specializes in matching non-Japanese engineers and developers with companies in Japan. In addition to sending you updates on open positions, Zenken is also connected to a Japanese school with a curriculum focusing on business communication. Using both, you’ll be able to find an IT position that suits you in no time! Learn more about the service here or go to the entry form directly by clicking the button below.

Register Now

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My love for ninjas and interest in Chinese characters (kanji) were what first made me come to Japan, as a high school student. Over ten years and many visits later, I’ve found a job here and have chosen it as my new home.