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hankaku zenkaku

English translation: single-byte and double-byte characters

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04:27 Feb 22, 2000
Japanese to English translations [PRO]
Japanese term or phrase: hankaku zenkaku
This is from publishing/computing field and refers I think to the size of the alphanumeric characters in Japanese fonts. "Han" as in "half," "zen" as in "whole" or "full" and "kaku" as in "angle." Anyone got a good direct translation for both terms?
Savana
English translation:single-byte and double-byte characters
Explanation:
Japanese characters require 2 bytes to encode and take up what is called a "full space" in the context of Japanese (this includes the small tsu, ya, etc. that someone mentioned). Roman alphabet letters require 1 byte to encode and take up what is called a "half space" (though English users would actually think of it as one full space). But in Japanese character sets, the numerals and roman alphabet characters come in two versions--full width and half width, or double-byte versions and single-byte versions--and each is used in different situations. Japanese character sets also offer katakana in single-byte and double-byte versions, but all kanji and hiragana are double-byte. There might be a little bit of oversimplifying here, but that's the basics. Depending on the context, half-width and full-width might be the better translation, but I can't imagine any context in which I would consider the distinction equivalent to capitals and lower case. In fact, Japanese character sets include both one- and two-byte versions of all lower case and all capital letters.
Selected response from:

Wayne Lammers
Local time: 21:26
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
na +1single-byte and double-byte charactersWayne Lammers
na +1Half size for hankaku, full size for zenkaku
Hirohisa Suzuki
naDomo Domo
Savana Simpson
nacomputer processing related
Thomas Blasejewicz
naEn/EmxxxTanuki
nahankaku zenkakuxxxsimaya
na -1or "capitalized characters" and "small characters"James Phillips
na -11-byte character and 2-byte characterNana Kato
na -1half size, full size; single-byte, double-bytemusici
na -1"half-size" and "full-size"James Phillips


  

Answers


8 mins peer agreement (net): -1
"half-size" and "full-size"


Explanation:
The literal translation is "half-size" and "full-size" but this refers to full size and half size characters in the hiragana or katakana alphabets. A preferable translation may therefore be "capital letters" and "small letters".

James Phillips
Local time: 13:26

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Kurt Hammond: it refers not to the alphabetic case but to the horizontal size of the character
1911 days
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13 mins peer agreement (net): -1
or "capitalized characters" and "small characters"


Explanation:
(Boy, am I bored with my translation to be doing this!).

James Phillips
Local time: 13:26

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Kurt Hammond: it refers not to the case but to the horizontal size of the character.
1911 days
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1 hr
hankaku zenkaku


Explanation:
The dictionary meaning of Hanakaku = half size & Zenkaku = full size.
So it goes that the meaning applied here would be Hanakaku = lower case & Zenkaku = Upper case.
In relation to alphanumeric character sizes.

xxxsimaya
Thailand
Local time: 11:26
Native speaker of: English
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2 hrs peer agreement (net): -1
half size, full size; single-byte, double-byte


Explanation:
When reading Japanese, you will occasionally notice smaller letters used -- for example, "chiisai tsu" may appear before another character to indicate doubling of the consonant. These smaller letters (like chiisai tsu) are commonly referred to as "hankaku", where the usual size ones are referred to as "zenkaku". "Hankaku" is also sometimes used to refer to Roman (english) characters, which only take half the space (both on screen and as data) of a Japanese character. So in some cases, the phrases are equivalent to single-byte (hankaku) and double-byte (zenkaku). The latter use could apply in a case such as file naming, for example, where a file name might be allowed up to 16 hankaku characters -- 8 Japanese characters or 16 Roman characters.

musici
United States
Local time: 21:26

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Kurt Hammond: hankaku refers to characters that are single byte in size. It has nothing to do with 'chiisai tsu' .
1911 days
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2 hrs
En/Em


Explanation:
In my opinion the above answers are not really wrong, and may be used depending on the actual context.

However, may I point out that Kenkyusha Eng-Jap reports "Em" to be the right translation for "Zenkaku", and "en" to be 1/2 of an "em".

This leads us to publishing (printing) jargon, and in order to be precise, I'll now quote The Barron's Dictionary of Marketing terms:

in printing an "Em" is "a unit of measure of print type equal to the square of a type CHARACTER. Most machine-set type characters are one-half an em (called an "en"). The term em is derived from traditional type sets that had a letter M cast on a square slug. The actual size of an em varies, depending on the point size of the type being used. In most cases, the term refers to a PICA or 12-point em. Each point equals 0.0138 inch (approximately 1/72 of an inch).

HTH,
F

xxxTanuki
PRO pts in pair: 4
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5 hrs peer agreement (net): +1
single-byte and double-byte characters


Explanation:
Japanese characters require 2 bytes to encode and take up what is called a "full space" in the context of Japanese (this includes the small tsu, ya, etc. that someone mentioned). Roman alphabet letters require 1 byte to encode and take up what is called a "half space" (though English users would actually think of it as one full space). But in Japanese character sets, the numerals and roman alphabet characters come in two versions--full width and half width, or double-byte versions and single-byte versions--and each is used in different situations. Japanese character sets also offer katakana in single-byte and double-byte versions, but all kanji and hiragana are double-byte. There might be a little bit of oversimplifying here, but that's the basics. Depending on the context, half-width and full-width might be the better translation, but I can't imagine any context in which I would consider the distinction equivalent to capitals and lower case. In fact, Japanese character sets include both one- and two-byte versions of all lower case and all capital letters.

Wayne Lammers
Local time: 21:26
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Kurt Hammond: Excellent description, but the -kaku actually refers to the size of the box for the character. The correct translation is 'half-width' or 'full-width'. It is true that each size character is either single or double byte, but this meaning is not included.
1911 days
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12 hrs peer agreement (net): +1
Half size for hankaku, full size for zenkaku


Explanation:
My J-E dictionary defines "half size" and "full size", respectively, as the terms used in word processing.

Hirohisa Suzuki
Japan
Local time: 13:26
PRO pts in pair: 11

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Kurt Hammond: preferred term in my experience is 'half-width' and 'full-width'
1911 days
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1 day5 mins peer agreement (net): -1
1-byte character and 2-byte character


Explanation:
I almost agree with Mr./Ms Wlammers'
complete explanation. But I just wonder that we Japanese normally say "1 baito moji" (literal rendering in English would be 1-byte character) and "2 baito moji" (2-byte character)" in software documentations. I think using "1-"
or "2-" would do just as well as "single-" or "double-". Does this
alternative sound awkward?

Nana Kato
Local time: 13:26

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Kurt Hammond: The 'hankaku-zenkaku' term has no connotation of bytes. it only refers to the space occupied on screen. It is understood even by end-users who know nothing about bytes.
1910 days
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1 day19 hrs
computer processing related


Explanation:
hankaku / zenkaku
These terms refer to the handling of characters on computers running a
Japanese OS.
Hankaku: means single byte characters, represented by ASCII characters.
Zenkaku: refers to double byte characters, which are Japanese or Chinese
characters.

Thomas Blasejewicz
Japan
Local time: 13:26
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in pair: 33
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1 day23 hrs
Domo Domo


Explanation:
Just wanted to say thank you to everyone for their response. I liked single-, double-byte characters the best as they also have the nuance of being a family (as in bed-linen!) rather than 1 and 2 of many. (This, Mr Kato is more a stylistic bias than anything else I think - I have learned to trust instict as part of the more indefinable skill a translator builds up over the years though I guess one translator's instinct may differ from another's!)

Savana Simpson
Local time: 14:26
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 11
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