Japanese for Animators and 3D Artists

Following up on my post on how to get an animation job in Japan I thought some of you may be interested in the language around the office. You can use this to get a head start with some animation specific vocab and phrases that you will hear on a day to day basis. With the help of 3 translators from Polygon Pictures ( ポリゴンピクチュアズ ), here is a run down on what they and I think will be most useful and so you can hear the correct pronunciation from native Japanese speakers.

Loan Words “Gairaigo”

3D – surii dii – スリーディー
Computer – conpyuutaa – コンピューター
Animation – animeshyon – アニメーション
Modelling – moderingu – モデリング
Texturing – tekusuchyuringu – テクスチャリング
Rigging – rigingu – リギング
Lighting – raitingu – ライティング
Keyframe – kiifuremu – キーフレーム
Character – kyarakutaa – キャラクター
Slow Motion – hai supiido – ハイスピード
Path/ Pass – pasu – パス
Approved – oke desu – オーケーです

Japanese Vocab

Same – Onaji – 同じ
Different – Chigau – 違う
Faster – Hayaku – 早く
Slower – Osoku – 遅く
Longer – Nagaku – 長く
Shorter – mijikaku 短く
Variety of movement/ shape/ energy – MeriHari – メリハリ
Got it/ understood – Ryoukai desu. – 了解です
Ease in/ Ease out – Tame/ Tsume – ため・つめ

Japanese Phrases

Working hard!? Keep it up! – Otsukaresama desu – お疲れ様です
Sorry for the disruption – Shitsure shimasu – しつれします
Sorry I’m leaving before you – Osaki ni shitsure shimasu – おさきにしつれいします
Thanks in advance - Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu – よろしくお願いします
Today I am working on X – Kyo wa X o yarimasu – 今日はXをやります
I’m finished – Owarimashita – 終わりました
Around this area/ about here – Kono hen desu – このへんです
I corrected (the retakes/ changes) – Shuusei shimashita - 修正しました
I submitted X – X o teishutsu shimashita – Xを提出しました
Maya has crashed – Maya ga ochimashita – Mayaが落ちました
Maya has crashed again – Maya ga mata kurashu shimashita – Mayaがまたクラッシュしました


  • Learn the numbers and generic counter
  • Do not trust google translate, but use it as a very rough guide.
  • Speak slowly in English to help Japanese people understand you
  • If all else fails, say you will get the translator! – Tsuyaku o yonde kimasu – つうやく(通訳)をよんできます

Don’t forget to check my previous post on how to get an animation job in Japan and do leave a comment or drop me a line on twitter if you have any questions. Happy studies!


Posted on February 18, 2014 in blogPosts

About the Author

Dean Wright is a Creative Director and VFX Supervisor. He writes about the 3D animation industry, Motorsport and working life in Japan following his time there in 2013-2014. Having worked internationally at major studios, he now lives in London working as Creative Video Director for Motorsport network.

Responses (13)

  1. dreams2005
    April 19, 2014 at 2:44 am · Reply

    Nice to meet you, I am an animator graduates from Hong Kong and I am looking animation jobs in Tokyo. Thanks for the video and I appreciated your afford. I got some more questions about the dressing for interview and Company information session, is it necessary to wear proper suit? or just proper wearing is good enough?

    Thanks you!

    • Dean Wright
      April 19, 2014 at 2:49 am · Reply

      Good question! For interviews you will find that Japanese people will often wear suits. But as I am from the UK and it is more normal to dress casually I wore something in the middle. So not a full suit, but not dirty jeans and a T-shirt either. I think “smart casual” is the way to go, so clean trousers and a nice shirt is good, but you can probably leave the tie and expensive jacket at home 🙂

  2. dreams2005
    April 19, 2014 at 3:39 am · Reply

    Oh thanks so much for your advice 🙂 頑張りましょう!

  3. Majdy
    April 22, 2014 at 8:37 am · Reply


    I work in an animation company, and we would like to work with Anime artists directly from Japan,
    animators, directors, storyboard artists and character designers you name it, but it’s always hard to locate and communicate with them.

    am not talking about the high profile ones who made it to IMDB and Hollywood, but the young ambitious ones yet to be known.

    your help in directing me will be really appreciated

    Thank you

    • Dean Wright
      April 22, 2014 at 10:14 am · Reply

      Great! I’ll be in touch privately 🙂

  4. Avik Chakra Viorti
    January 9, 2015 at 4:41 pm · Reply

    😛 i am a college student i can see it would be hard for me to get the living expense at the start…but despite that i know i am dedicated to this. I guess i'd stick to freelace till i reach age of 25.

  5. Devismita Bhattacharya
    January 24, 2015 at 9:13 am · Reply

    I'm student of MAAC (Maya Academy Of Advance Cinematic) from India,still studying……is stop motion animation is a good enough prospect there? or motion picture work…i know a bit of Japanese i took a 3 months course in it…. but i want to know if its easier to work as freelance animator?

  6. miki
    May 27, 2015 at 5:54 am · Reply

    Hello. I am a college student who is researching more opportunities for a major. I have recently become interest in animation, although I have no experience. I’m a first year in college so I have plenty of time to learn but I was wondering what your advice would be. Should I even try to pursue a field in animation?

    • Dean Wright
      May 27, 2015 at 7:57 am · Reply

      Animation is very very competitive. If you have a huge passion and drive for animation and VFX then go for it! But you have to really want it, as the people I work and studied with are so into it. They eat sleep and dream animation of all kinds so if that’s you then great. If you are looking for a niche way in, the more technical side of the industry often has less competition than the creative side. So rather than pure animation/ modelling, perhaps look into lighting, effects, pipeline, coding/ scripting for animation. There are a huge range of roles in animation so I’d see if you can get a tour with a local company (big or small, they will know their stuff) to get a better idea of what’s involved.

      All the best!

  7. YiZhen Ng
    June 5, 2015 at 11:01 am · Reply

    Hahaha! I like it that you have included maya has crashed and maya has crashed again. LOL! Two important lines working in 3D~ XD Thanks for the lists~

  8. Salwa
    December 30, 2016 at 4:43 am · Reply

    Hi, I’m 2d animator, I’m graduating soon. I’m interested in working in character design, storyboard or animation in japan. I don’t know how to contact studios.If you could help me I would really appreciate it.

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