Question

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.

Answers

4

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!

Recordings

Comments

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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