What is the plain/polite feature, and is it different from the formal/informal feature?
The plain/polite feature is similar to our formal/informal feature as it gives you the option to adjust the tone of your translation.
Like the formal/informal feature, the plain/polite feature can be applied by using the dropdown menu in the top right-hand corner of the translator. When selecting Japanese as a target language, you can also adjust the tone of your translation with the plain/polite feature. When selecting other supported target languages, you can adjust the tone of your translation with the formal/informal feature.
This means that the plain/polite feature helps you to use a consistent tone throughout your translation.
However, please note that the terms polite/plain do not equal formal/informal. That means when selecting the plain tone for your translation, your translation won't necessarily sound informal.
You can choose plain/polite tones depending on the relationship between the speaker (author) and the target audience, as well as text types:
- With the plain tone, 常体 (jōtai) in Japanese, sentences often finish with da or dearu. The plain tone is appropriate for casual conversations with friends but also for some formal written texts such as academic papers and news articles.
- With the polite tone, 敬体 (keitai) in Japanese, sentences often end with desu or masu, showing respect for the target audience. The polite tone is used, for example, in formal situations such as conversations with superiors, colleagues or people you are not close to, and in business emails.
For example, the phrase "DeepL's headquarters is located in Cologne." can be translated differently into Japanese.
With the polite tone set, the desu/masu form will be used:
DeepLsha no honsha wa kerun ni arimasu.*
With the plain tone set, the translation of the example mentioned above would be as follows with the da/dearu form:
DeepLsha no honsha wa kerun ni aru.*
When setting the tone with the plain/polite feature, the following things might change to adjust the whole tone of your translation:
- The ending part of the verb (常体 or da/dearu form or 敬体 or desu/masu form)
- Addition/deletion of honorifics
- Prefixes of nouns
The plain/polite feature is currently not available for translations from Korean to Japanese.
For DeepL Pro (Starter, Advanced, and Ultimate) subscribers
Please note that the plain/polite feature is only available for DeepL Pro subscribers.
You can use the plain/polite feature for text translation in the web translator and the desktop apps. It is currently not available in the mobile apps and browser extensions.
This feature is not yet supported for whole file translation in the web translator and desktop apps.
The feature is supported for text and document translations in our API for CAT tools, so CAT tool providers can implement support for this feature in their software.
For DeepL API Free and DeepL API Pro subscribers
You can use the plain/polite feature for text and document translations by defining the formality parameter. To do so, please choose between default (automatic choice), more (polite tone), or less (plain tone). For more information, please consult the API documentation.
Please note that transliterations are not supported for translations in the desktop apps, the web translator, the browser extensions and the API. More information can be found here.