I haven’t seen anyone talk about this Japanese live conversion feature, so I thought I’d bring it up. When normally inputting Japanese on a computer, it’s usual to first type in romaji which gets converted into hiragana. From there, the person pushes the space bar and can convert the text into katakana, kanji, or other characters. This has been the case for a long time now.
I enjoy using a Mac, but the recent feature in OS X El Capitan for users of Japanese input drove me crazy. It’s called Japanese live conversion, and it automatically converts your romaji typing into the correct kanji based on context. In theory, this sounds really great and convenient, but I often found myself having to fight the system. There are times when I need to write something only in hiragana or katakana, but the Japanese live conversation feature thinks I want to write like a Japanese novelist and converts everything into kanji. It didn’t take long before I was hunting down a way to turn this thing off.
For the record: My native Japanese speaker friends were annoyed by this feature as well.
This is hard to explain without actually seeing in action, so I tried to make some animated gifs that might better illustrate my point.
Typing with Japanese live conversion OFF
Notice how the normal way of inputting Japanese, I have to stop and hit the spacebar after each word to choose the right characters.
Typing with Japanese live conversion ON
With the feature turned on, I can type what I want to say without stopping and the Japanese live conversion feature will guess what I want to write based on context.
How to turn off Japanese Live Conversion
This feature is enabled by default on all installation of OS X El Capitan. If you buy a new Mac, it’ll be enabled too. Finding the place to turn this off is a bit tricky, so I decided to write down the steps and where to find the option.
For those Mac users out there that are annoyed with this feature, here is how you can disable it:
Update: It was brought to my attention that there is an easier way to turn off this feature.
EASY WAY TO TURN OFF
The long way
Step 1: Go to your system preferences>keyboard
Step 2: Click the “Input Sources” tab
Step 3: Click the Japanese section
Step 4: Go to “Input Sources” and scroll down
Step 5: Uncheck “Live Conversion”
System Preferences>Keyboard>Input Sources> Choose Japanese, SCROLL DOWN, look for “Live Conversion” check box and UNCHECK it.
Yeah, it’s a little tricky to find.
After you uncheck that button, inputting Japanese will return to pre-El Capitan methods and YOU can choose whether you want to convert your text to kanji or not.
Has anyone found the Japanese live conversion feature actually useful? I’m curious to hear about others’ experiences.