Accurate Kanji to romaji translations
  • I'll use this word as an example:

    三星神 (In the sense of "three" + "star" + "divinity")

    I don't know if I should translate it to "mitsuboshikami" or "sanseikami" or "mitsuboshishin" Well, I'm having trouble to translate kanji to romaji like this.

    I want to know where or how can I get accurate kanji to romaji translations, or if someone can teach me a trick to know how can I translate the kanji in the words to romaji properly.
  • I didn't find the answer, so I'm fairly confident that the definitive answer is not available online. From the most readily available sources in English, it seems to be originally a Chinese term. However, I think I can make a decent guess as to the pronunciation.

    I used a Google search. First I did a search for "三星神" and "みつぼし".
    http://goo.gl/GJ97U
    Then I did a similar search using "三星神" and "さんせい".
    http://goo.gl/yjQeY

    Mitsuboshi gave no useful results, but sansei led to a site which gave the reading for the 福禄壽三星(ふくろくじゅさんせい), and said they were also known as the "三星神". It is only one site, but if it is correct then we should use 'sansei'. The next question is how to pronounce the last character, 神.

    I searched on Jisho for "??神" to see if there were any similar three-character phrases. And here I had the good fortune to find the common word 七福神 (the Seven Deities of Good Luck) which is pronounced しちふくじん. From this, I would expect that the Three Star Deities are pronounced さんせいじん.

    So that's my answer, "sanseijin". I think most Japanese people would pronounce it this way. Though I think that many would have to think about it before making the decision.
  • "三星神" is basically not Japanese, but Chinese concept.
    As Richard wrote, it's about "福禄壽" in Japan.
    So, yeah, if you read it in Japanese, it will be pronounced as "San-sei-shin".
    There should be a correct way of pronounce it in Chinese...
  • More generally speaking, in some cases there is no one single answer (for example, names), and there is no "trick" other than knowing the word or looking it up. Richard's trick of googling the compound with a possible reading is a good one, another is using the word + とは (e.g. 三星神とは) to find definitions which might include the reading, or looking to see if there is a Japanese wikipedia article (good for names).

    There are some general guidelines (e.g. most compounds use on-readings), but there are also some words (you often see these called 難読) which can be difficult even for native speakers because they don't follow these common patterns. Apart from person/place names, a lot of words such as names of plants, animals, foods, and so on, use non-standard readings. For example, 外郎 - I don't think the reading うい is used for 外 in any other word.

    最中 - can be read さいちゅう or もなか (but the food item is もなか)

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