Language | WELL SAID

Get some experience using 'keiken' and 'taiken'

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Contributing Writers

Tsūyaku no keiken wa aru-n desu ka? (Do you have any experience as an interpreter?)

Situation 1: Ms. Shiba and her colleague Mr. Tien are chatting.

芝: ティエンさんは通訳の経験はあるんですか?

ティエン: ええ、学生の時、中国から来たビジネスパーソンの通訳をした経験が何回かあります。

Shiba: Tien-san wa tsūyaku no keiken wa aru-n desu ka?

Tien: Ee, gakusei no toki, Chūgoku kara kita bijinesu-pāson no tsūyaku o shita keiken ga nankai ka arimasu.

Shiba: Do you have any experience as an interpreter, Mr. Tien?

Tien: Yes, when I was a student, I had some experience translating for a businessperson from China.

Two Japanese words that can translate as “experience” are 経験 (けいけん) and 体験 (たいけん). The former word, 経験, conveys the idea that the experience was acquired by knowledge, or a skill that was honed over time:

オーストラリアで日本語(にほんご)を教(おし)えた経験があります。 (I have experience teaching Japanese in Australia.)

The terms 経験が浅(あさ)い and 経験が豊(ゆた)か are used to express a small or large amount of experience, respectively:

佐藤(さとう)先生(せんせい)は経験豊かなお医者(いしゃ)さんです。 (Dr. Sato is an experienced doctor.)

Two phrases that use 経験 are 経験を積(つ)む (to gain experience)and 経験を生(い)かす (to make use of an experience):

彼(かれ)はイタリアの有名(ゆうめい)なレストランで経験を積んだ。 (He gained experience at one of Italy’s most famous restaurants.)

Situation 2: Mr. and Mrs. Okubo are talking about a mysterious experience from the past.

夫: 学生のころ、山岳部の人が、山でふしぎな体験をしたという話を聞いたことがある。

妻: ああ、私もある。山ではふしぎなことが起きるみたいね。

Otto: Gakusei no koro, sangaku-bu no hito ga, yama de fushigina taiken o shita to iu hanashi o kiita koto ga aru.

Tsuma: Aa, watashi mo aru. Yama de wa fushigina koto ga okiru-mitai ne.

Husband: When I was a student, I heard from someone in the mountaineering club about a strange experience on a mountain.

Wife: Ah, me too. It seems like strange things occur in the mountains.

The word 体験 is similar in meaning to 経験, but is used for experiences that are more concrete, that leave a strong impression and are not repeated on a regular basis:

この小説(しょうせつ)は彼の戦争(せんそう)での体験をもとにしている。 (This novel is based on his experience in the war.)

Bonus Dialogue: Ms. Tamachi and her colleague Ms. Gray are looking at a website that advertises yoga classes.

田町(たまち): 私(わたし)、ヨガの体験レッスンを受(う)けてみようと思(おも)って。どこがいいかなあ。

グレイ: あ、ここは経験豊かなインストラクターがたくさんいるみたい。受講者(じゅこうしゃ)のコメントに書(か)いてあるよ。

田町: でも、そういうところは私の経験から言(い)うと、長(なが)く通(かよ)っている人(ひと)が多(おお)くて、入(はい)りにくそう。

グレイ: そうなんだ。じゃ、この教室(きょうしつ)はどう?経験が全(まった)くない人でも、すぐに効果(こうか)が感(かん)じられますって。

田町: うーん、そこはうちから遠(とお)いなあ。

グレイ: そうね。私も前(まえ)に剣道(けんどう)をやっていたけど、うちから遠くてやめちゃったなあ。サムライになったみたいで楽(たの)しい経験だったけどね。

田町: でも、ヨガって、私に合(あ)っているかわからない。ほかのにしようかなあ。

グレイ: 田町さんはいつも慎重(しんちょう)なんだから。何(なに)ごとも経験でしょう?やってみようよ!

Tamachi: I’m thinking of taking a trial yoga lesson. I wonder which one is good.

Gray: Oh, it seems this one has a lot of experienced instructors. The students say so in the comments.

Tamachi: But, speaking from my own experience, (such kind of class) is filled with students who have been going there for a long time, it looks difficult to join.

Gray: Oh, really. Then, how about this class? Even people who have no experience can feel the effect almost immediately.

Tamachi: Hmmm, that class is far from my home.

Gray: You’re right. When I did kendo before, it was far from my house and I totally quit. I felt like a samurai and it was a fun experience, though.

Tamachi: But I don’t know if yoga is right for me. Maybe I should do something else.

Gray: You’re always so careful, Ms. Tamachi. You need experience in many kinds of things. Let’s try it!