The answer to this question is influenced by the speed and accuracy of technological innovation, but more than that, I think it is a question of how you think about communication. So here are my thoughts on the subject.

I believe that communication has two kinds of purposes. One is to accomplish a task, and the other is to build a relationship. The former includes reports and requests, for which automatic translation may be sufficient. Especially in text-based communication such as chat and email, automatic translation is becoming more and more accurate. But, for the latter, it is better to be able to understand the other person’s culture and their thoughts. And for that reason, learning their language is so beneficial and useful. This is why language is said to be such an important part of culture.

Therefore, for those who want to build a better relationship with Japanese people, I believe it is worthwhile to study Japanese, no matter how accurate the automatic translation becomes.

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