What do you do?

Mikhail Kotykhov Mikhail Kotykhov (0) on 27/10/14

How do you ask these questions in Japanese...

What do you do?

What kind of work do you do?

Relevant cultural tips will be also appreciated.



I'm not sure if there are more formal or polite ways to ask, but I would usually use something like:

  1. お仕事は?/お仕事は何ですか? - The first one is definitely a little more laid back. I'd use this if you're already in a longer conversation with someone and you're both talking casually. Otherwise, the longer second option would probably be better.
  2. どんな仕事をしていますか? - These both will elicit the same response, though, and feel like #1 might be the better option. A native speaker might have more examples that fit the English situation better though.

Hope that helps!



Misako Yoke Misako Yoke (1) on 07/11/14

I'm native Japanese, and I like Joseph's both sample phrases. We tend to finish our sentence unclear, but it gives the speaker more options for her/his answer. In that sense, you could also say 3. お仕事は何を? 4. お仕事はどんなことを? The sentences above are incomplete, but they are commonly used. It's common to ask someone's job in a small talk, although if the speaker hesitates his/her answer, that's a good sign that you should change the subject. And one more - if you compliment what he/she does, the normal response would be "Oh, no, there's nothing good about my job" or "That's a boring job" and so on - but the real meaning is "Thank you." We are trained to be modest :) (I failed)

Mikhail Kotykhov Mikhail Kotykhov (0) on 07/11/14

Yoke san, arigato gozaimasu.

Mikhail Kotykhov Mikhail Kotykhov (0) on 07/11/14

Thanks a lot, Joseph.
Amazing work Misako and Joseph!

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