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Tangorin vs Tatoeba: Best Japanese Example Sites

by - 10:03 AM



When studying a language, having a plethora of examples is an extremely useful tool for seeing how the word is used.

I have used both Tangorin and Tatoeba in the past when looking for example sentences for new JLPT vocab! I thought it would be fun to compare them, so here we are!

I wanted to make a comparison post with some pros and con's for each one, because I feel they have a few similarities.

Let's get started!


Tangorin



So this is the launch page when you click the website! It's pretty simple, and the tags are pretty self explanatory.  The color scheme is pretty much orange, black, white and grey.


I decided to search the word '教育'. Here we can see not only a definition but also a breakdown of the Kanji. This is using the general tab, which encompasses all of the other tabs into one large search.


Since I use this site to help me find examples for new vocab, I just clicked the 'Examples' tab right after using the 'General' tab and a few examples popped up. This is only half of what was offered, so needless to say Tangorin offers a lot of natural sounding and pretty commonly used phrases.

The cool thing about this site is that if you click the grey plus button at the end of each example, you can save these to your account on the site. Then you can easily access your favorite examples and use them to study!

Another feature is that they sort of have additional translations available if English isn't your native language. However, this seems pretty limited.




Pros:


  • Easy to read, nice layout
  • Multiple language options
  • Ability to save examples
  • Simplistic but effective search options

Cons:


  • Not all examples have other language translations up and ready

Tatoeba


So Tatoeba is a little bit different in the way that the examples are crowd sourced from the user base. These users can take examples from basically anywhere, and I noticed some exact copies from Tangorin.

Another thing about Tatoeba is that you don't even need to use it for Japanese, it can be used for anyone who's learning a foreign language and would like to just search for something in that language.


This is the top half of the launch page. I decided to use the same word '教育' and search without applying any language filters, just to see what results the site provides me.


I got these results, which means the system picked up these two Kanji as Chinese. I can't read Chinese but I can understand the French sentence, which basically said that education is important. So it looks like we have the meaning down, but the language is incorrect.


So once I set the language to Japanese I got a correct search, accompanied by some other language translations. Something interesting I want to point out here is that this sentence came from a user who submitted it. However, this is the exact same sentence that was displayed on Tangorin.


Scrolling down a bit, this sentence is clearly also from Tangorin. It even uses the exact same name: Tom. 

My issue with this site is that, though translations and submissions need to be approved, I don't really trust user provided example sentences. 
Another thing is that, if you look at the side, the users can self identify as a native speaker. I'm not so trusting that all the people that 'self identify' are actually natives.

However, I will say that this site is miles ahead of Tangorin regarding other language translations. If you don't speak English and want to use Tangorin, your examples are a lot more limited.

When you click on the 'i' next to an example, you are taken to this page. This is where you can see who added, liked or commented on this example. Also, I think it's really cool that some of the translations have audio!

Pros:

  • Can be used with virtually any language
  • Multi language translation
  • Seems like a fun and active community
  • Possible audio that can come along with the examples

Cons:

  • Site seems a little messy 
  • Not sure about crowd sourced example reliability
All in all, I think if I was learning a language other than Japanese I might take a trip to Tatoeba, but for now I really like Tangorin! Luckily, I speak English natively and don't need to use the other language functions. For those who don't, I really recommend trying out Tatoeba and seeing how you like it.

I hope this post was helpful!

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