*The target readers are those who are going to make a Japanese speech or presentation
This article is a continuation of “For your Japanese Script; Imitate Great Speakers”. As we mentioned in the previous article, imitating native speakers is one of the best ways to make your Japanese speech sound as natural as possible. It can be utilized not only for the words you write, but also for when you give your speech to an audience. Thus, I recommend that before you start practicing your Japanese speech with your own words, you should practice reading other ones written by native speakers. It may feel like you are taking many routes to get to the same destination, but by getting a sense of what others have done successfully, in turn you will also become more successful.
The Most Effective Way to Practice Your Japanese Speech
Material for Practicing Your Japanese Speech
You can refer to TED Talks and look for presentations spoken in Japanese via Wasabi, Discussion Practice. If you don’t have a particular preference, I recommend, “Shimpei Takahashi, Play this game to come up with original ideas” which we saw as an example in the previous article. This example was chosen for its well designed structure, its availability in multiple languages, and its accessibility. (*you can download the video and the audio file easily). In this article we will proceed with the same example.
Imitate Great Speakers for Your Japanese Speech
I am going to show you an ideal way of practicing, which by you literally imitate the native speaker. It may be tough and take a lot of time, but this method can make your Japanese speech dramatically more colorful, natural and lively. Let’s give it a try.
1. Understand your chosen presentation
Firstly, you are going to read and fully understand the script of your choice for presentation. Since the speech is, of course, being spoken, you may have difficulty completely understanding its entire meaning just by listening to it. If that is the case, you can refer to the translation.
2. Get accustomed to the sound of Japanese
Secondly, you are going to watch the video or listen to the audio file over and over without the script or the translation. You should make the best use of your mobile devices by listening to or watching the speech on the go. Since you have already read and understood the script, you will be able to understand what the speaker says more easily at a natural speed. Continue to watch or listen until you can understand almost everything.
3. Start imitating native speakers
Thirdly, you are going to repeat each sentence. After the speaker says one sentence, please pause the video or the audio file and repeat the sentence in its entirety. Please try at least three times and be conscious of the intonation, accent and pronunciation.
4. Read the script out loud to yourself
Next, you are going to read the script out loud to yourself. I recommend you to do so in imitation of the speaker, that is to say, you should stand up, make gestures and look at your virtual audience.
5. Try shadowing with the video
The origin of the name: shadowing comes from the method of practice by which a learner follows an audio file 2 or 3 seconds later than the actual recording time. Again, please try shadowing in imitation of the speaker as you did in the previous section.
*This is how shadowing works.
The method of practice is the most ideal way to improve your Japanese speech to the best of our knowledge. Needless to say, when you make your Japanese speech or presentation, your audience will be Japanese people. In such a situation, the best way of conveying what you want to say is to speak like native speakers as much as possible. This practice will enable you to acquire that ability.
Author and English Editor
Author – Takuya Tokiwa
Takuya is the co-founder, Project Director of Wasabi and a serial entrepreneur in the education field. He is utilizing all of his knowledge and experiences for innovating Japanese learning.
English Editor – Natalia Weiner
Natalia is the Editor and Web Content Manager of Wasabi. She majored in Writing with a minor in Journalism and graduated from Loyola University Maryland in 2013. She was the Assistant Content Editor for the popular culture website EmcBlue, and has written and edited for a variety of publications in both Japan and the United States.