What is JOLT?

Japanese Object Label Translations, or JOLT (pronounced as the verb "jolt"), is a simple web app I built to extract English translations from Japan Search and ColBase. I built its prototype on the 20th of March, 2023 and released its first public version online about two weeks later.

How do I use it?

JOLT is extremely simple. All you have to do is input a string of Japanese characters in the search box, select a language, and click on/press/execute Search. Once you activate the app, it will present you with a list of object labels registered in Japan Search and ColBase that contain the exact string you searched for. JOLT does not expand your search with alternative spellings or synonyms. If you cannot find what you were searching for, try chunking your strings. For example, if you are dissatisfied with the results for 朝顔形埴輪, try searching for 朝顔 and 形埴輪 separately.

You can visit the original page of an object by clicking on the name of the collection holder/database in the third column.

Just because JOLT searches through object labels, that does not mean that you can only search for translations of object names in it. Object labels in Japan are often long and extremely dense in information, and you can use this to your advantage. For example, you can search for translations of 戦後, 屋根裏, or 委員会.

How accurate are the translations?

What you get with JOLT is a list of translations being used in the respective collections/databases. Some of them are downright wrong or grammatically incorrect. You have to use your judgment when you refer to the results.

Is JOLT Open Source?

Yes, JOLT is 100% open source. JOLT is a simple Python script with some CSS magic sprinkled on top. The source code is not yet available online because it is an embarrassing mess. However, if you really want to see it in its current state, e-mail me at contact@kneedeepjapan.com.

What is Knee-Deep in Japan?

Knee-Deep in Japan is a website owned by me (Peter Yanase), available at the domain kneedeepjapan.com. It is a strange beast: it is somewhere between a research diary, a blog, a one-person academic journal, an educational platform, and an experiment in personal knowledge management. However, currently, it has no public pages, so if you visit the domain, it will tell you that you don't have permission to access it. Do not let that scare you away from using JOLT, an entirely unrelated project, running on a different server, available at the sub-domain: jolt.kneedeepjapan.com.