Learning a new language has become the recent trend in the post covid world. Learning it from the comfort of home has become the new normal way of doing different things. While there are a variety of hobbies available for Indians, learning Japanese has always been the most opted one amongst many. Credit goes to the Internet that it is possible to learn a new language online. Additional perks of gaining certification for the Japanese language are also one of the benefits of learning Japanese online.
What are Japanese Language Certification?
Many institutes conduct virtual training courses to teach the Japanese language. A few of them also offer Japanese language certification online on completion of the course with a good score. While there are various levels involved in each certification programme, most institutes mainly focus on educating people with industry-standard language and vocabulary. One of the most famous tests often taken by many is the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, also called the JLPT.
Types Of Japanese Certifications
Language institutes offer many types of certifications, each having its own curriculum, syllabus, tenure and levels. For example, the Japanese Language Proficiency Test is a five-level course, each level having its own complexity. More focus is provided equally for reading, writing and listening skills to ensure the candidates get a comfortable environment when conversing with a Japanese native. Other tests like NAT Test, attended by many to obtain a certification in Japanese language, contain five levels similar to JLPT. However, they focus more on the accent followed by Japanese native speakers in addition to developing reading, writing and listening skills.
Different Japanese Language Certifications And Exams
Though JLPT has remained the common and frequent choice amongst many, there are other certifications as well, which are considered to be one of the eligibility to grant visas to foreign nationals in Japan. The immigration team accepts the below certifications in addition to the JLPT for the purpose of visa application:
- Business Japanese Test / BJT
- JETRO Listening and Reading Comprehension Test / JLRT
- Standard Test for Business Japanese / STBJ
- Certificate of Japanese as a Foreign Language / J-CERT
- Japanese Language Capability Test / JLCT
- Practical Japanese Communication Bridge / PCJB
- Japanese Proficiency Test / JPT
Japanese Language Certification Levels
Most of the certifications offered by Japanese institutes, including JLPT, contain five levels. These include N1, N2, N3, N4 and N5. Each of these language levels has its own complexity. For example, the JLPT N5 certificate is the easiest and easy to crack with a good score. However, as we move down the scale, the complexity increases and the N1 certificate is the most difficult to obtain. Due to its inbuilt complexity, each certification level takes its own time to complete. Hours of reading, listening and speaking are required to learn Japanese and gain the certification properly. Other tests like NAT also come with a five-level learning pattern which is almost similar to the JLPT certification test.
Course content and syllabus:
- N5 – This course content is designed especially for beginners who are pursuing a Japanese certification. There are three different forms of Japanese writing in Japanese, and candidates are expected to learn Hiragana and Katakana, in addition to a hundred basic characters in Kanji format. Reading the script and pronunciation is also part of the syllabus, and four hundred to five hundred basic Japanese words are taught at this certification level.
- N4 – 300 Kanji and nearly 1500 Japanese words are taught at this level. After completing this level, candidates will be able to listen to and comprehend daily life conversations. They will be able to follow the conversations, provided they converse soft and slow.
- N3 – A further step ahead of the N4 level, where the candidates can listen to and comprehend daily life conversations at a near-real and natural speed. After completing this level, candidates can judge relationships between people involved in the conversation. Additionally, 600 to 700 Kanji characters and nearly 3000 to 4000 Japanese words are taught at this certification level.
- N2 – A distinct jump is needed to move from the N3 level to the N2 level, where 1000 Kanji and nearly 6000 Japanese words are taught. Candidates who successfully clear this level attain the ability to sustain in a Japanese environment, get the ability to converse with people without any hindrance and also understand the Japanese culture and people’s emotions while they speak.
- N1 – The most difficult and sophisticated of all the levels is the N1 level, which stays on top of the pyramid. After passing this advanced level, candidates must have read and understood nearly 2000 to 2500 Kanji and 10000 Japanese words. In a nutshell, candidates completing this level would become like a near-native speaker.
Exam format and sections:
The examination contains multiple sections, which we will see in detail below, totalling a score of 180 at each level. For levels N1 to N3, below are the classification of the major sections in the examination,
- Vocabulary and grammar
For the levels, N4 and N5, below are the sections involved,
- Grammar and reading
In addition to obtaining the minimum overall score to pass the examination, the minimum section score is also needed to be achieved.
The frequency of this examination is twice a year in Japan and a few selected countries, including India. Normally, the examination is conducted in July and December, on their first Sundays. For the other countries which are not on the selected list, the examination is conducted once a year, on the first Sunday of December. Candidates who wish to appear for the July examination can apply for the examination starting from March to April of that year. The applications are subject to change, and the candidates are requested to be cautious about the examination calendar while preparing to appear for the certification examination. For December’s examination, the application period would normally be from August to September.
The JLPT examination has become quite famous because the examination can be taken from multiple locations across the globe. Within India, 8 examination centers are allotted where the candidates can book a slot based on their convenience. Below are the centers where the Japanese language exam can be taken in India:
- Pune – Japanese Language Teachers’ Association
- New Delhi – Mombusho Scholars Association of India
- Kolkata – The Indo-Japan Welfare and Cultural Association
- Chennai – ABK-AOTS DOSOKAI, Tamilnadu Center
- Bengaluru – Bangalore Nihongo Kyooshi-kai
- Mumbai – Teachers Association of Japanese
- Santiniketan – Visva-Bharati
- Salem – Japanese Language Teachers Association
Candidates who wish to apply for the certification have to pay Rs. 1600 to register for the examination. When comparing this cost with other equivalent certifications, JLPT remains to be the cheapest, well recognized and has good cost benefits. The registration fees can be paid online or via physical cash or cheque in the respective examination centers.
Benefits Of Japanese Certification
Grabbing a job opportunity:
As the world economy becomes more global, it makes perfect sense to use language as a tool to diverge and expand business options. Instead of trying to find a company owned by an American or expecting a colleague to understand you, it’s easier to learn a language. You will find that learning at least another language can significantly improve your work outlook.
Easier language to learn:
Learning a new language can be difficult, but having English as your mother tongue already brings you clear benefits. English is one of the most difficult languages to actually learn. However, new languages can be intimidating, just because they are very different from what you are used to. However, once you start learning some Japanese characters, you will be surprised at how easy it is to remember with regular practice. Many people start with the Hiragana alphabet first. Therefore, if you plan to be self-taught, consider learning these letters first.
Trigger to learn other East Asian Languages:
Except for Japanese enthusiasts, or those who are devoted to everything in Japanese, learning about the Japanese language and culture can motivate individuals to learn about other Asian countries and cultures. It is not uncommon for someone to learn Japanese first and then move to Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, or Thai. This will greatly enhance your understanding of East Asian languages and cultures.
Studying abroad in Japanese schools:
Japanese schools boast high levels of learning at all levels of education. If you are interested in studying abroad, Japan is the best choice. Of course, studying in another country is most beneficial if you speak their native language well. Therefore, before making this effort, make sure you are familiar with all three Japanese writing formats (Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji).
Learning the Japanese culture:
When you learn Japanese, you will learn a lot about Japan itself. Learn about national history and dialect differences between regions. You will also learn how to use words that are unique to Japanese customs and culture. This allows you to slowly open up and learn about Japan, its people and their culture, and a richer and more interesting history than you can imagine.
Make more friends online:
For many users in Western Europe, the Internet is an “English only” reality. Therefore, it can be inferred that Japanese citizens participate in online activities as often as Americans. But that is very inaccurate. Japan has the most internet-savvy population in the world. There is a simple reason why the interaction between the Japanese and English-speaking Americans is not so good. These people often use Japanese sites. By learning Japanese, you can navigate these places physically and virtually and find new friends to interact with.
Understand J-Pop and Japanese movies:
If you’re a Jpop (Japanese pop music) fan but don’t speak Japanese, you are missing out on the full enjoyment of the music you like. You might think it’s enough to hum along with the song and sing all the English lyrics and words used in the song. But when you really can understand the meaning and emotions behind a particular song, it turns out to be a completely different experience. The same is the case with Japanese movies as well.
Best Sites To Learn Japanese Online:
We have compiled a few websites that provide learning material and Japanese certification below. Candidates who wish to pursue the examination can register on any of the below websites to learn Japanese with certification. Please note that proper research is needed to understand if all your requirements are met on these sites:
Frequently Asked Questions:
- I have a physical disability. Can I get a JLPT certification?
Yes. There is a special testing facility for people with disabilities. Check with your institution that is conducting the exam in the country/region where you wish to take the exam. Suppose you wish to set up a special examination accommodation facility. In that case, you need to submit the “Special Examination Accommodation Facility Application Form” together with the application form at the time of registration.
- Who will carry out the JLPT?
Japan Foundation and Japan Educational Exchange and Services. The Japan Educational Exchange Service conducts examinations in Japan, and the Japan Foundation conducts examinations overseas in cooperation with local host organizations. In Taiwan, JLPT is organized in collaboration with the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association.
- Will questions from past exams be published?
The exact same test questions for each exam will not be published. However, since the Japanese Language Proficiency Test was revised in 2010, the official practical workbook for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test has been published in two volumes. Official Practical Workbook published in 2012, and Official Practical Workbook Vol published in 2018. It contains questions selected from the questions used in the tests since the 2010 revision at all levels, and the number of test items included is roughly equivalent to the actual test. Sample questions based on previous test questions will be published regularly in the future. The release schedule will be announced on the JLPT official website.
- When and how can I get the test results?
The result report will be sent to all test takers. In Japan, the July test results report will be sent in early September, and the December test results report will be sent in early February. The score report will be sent to the overseas examiner via the local host organization, who will receive the July exam report in early October and the December exam report in early March. If you do not receive any notification by the end of the month, please contact the local facility in the city where you took the certification.