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The table below may be of some use in searching for Japanese patents or understanding German and Japanese specifications (by far the two most commonly-encountered languages other than English). Note that I am not fluent in German and don’t speak Japanese at all. Also note that, just as with English, terminology varies between manufacturers. This includes the eternal confusion over whether “operating” indicates the point of actuation or full travel. The German terms are taken from keyboard literature; the Japanese terms are also mostly taken from keyboard literature.

Some Japanese words can be found written in kanji, or spelled phonetically in katakana (technical loanwords may only have a kana form). Technical limitations and typographic choices have meant that small kana can be found written in large size or indistinguishable from large size. Fortunately, J-PlatPat accommodates this by matching either. Forms that incorrectly use full-size katakana are given in parentheses below.

Where “ー” ends an agent noun (e.g. “スライダー”, “slider”) in technical terminology, it is apparently commonly omitted. Supposedly J-PlatPat does not treat the likes of “スライダー” and “スライダ” as equivalent.

Note that the German words “Taste” (key) and “Taster” (pushbutton switch) are confusingly similar. Likewise, “Leertaste” (blank key, i.e. space bar) and “Leertaster” (dummy switch) are also easy to confuse. The German for switch is “Schalter” but “Taster” is used for momentary pushbutton switches.

“Einbau” is omitted from the table, as the English translation is unclear. The difference between “Einbautaster” (“installation pushbutton”) and a regular “Taster” (pushbutton) is not clear: what is a non-installation switch in this sense?

This table is far from exhaustive.

English German Japanese
alternate action switch Schalter (in context)
bounce Prellen チャタリング (chatter)
バウンス (bounce)
bounce time Prellzeit
carrying (current) 通電時
contactless kontaktlos
contactlos (RAFI)
contact resistance 接触抵抗
current Strom
current rating Stromstärke
dummy key Leertaster
force Kraft
illuminated leucht
jumper Drahtbrücke
key Taste
keyboard Tastatur キーボード
keycap キーキャップ
keyswitch Tastaturtaster キースイッチ
keytop キートップ
lifetime rating Lebensdauer 寿命
耐久性 (durability, Fujitsu)
mechanical mechanische メカニカル (also メカ, “mecha”)
mechanical contact mit mechanische Kontakte メカニカルコンタクト
model number 製品名
momentary モーメンタリ
movement differential Differenzweg 復旧位置
operating force Betätigungskraft 動作力 (Hirose)
押下力 (Fujitsu)
作動力 (Alps)
plunger スライダー / スライダ (slider, Fujitsu)
ドライブロッド (“drive rod”, Fujitsu FES-8)
pretravel Betätigungsweg
動作までの動き (Hirose)
動作位置 (Fujitsu)
pushbutton switch Taster 押釦スイッチ (押釦スイツチ)
押ボタンスイッチ (押ボタンスイツチ)
押しボタンスイッチ (押しボタンスイツチ)
rating 定格
series Serie
space bar Leertaste
switch Schalter (non-keyboards) スイッチ (スイツチ)
switching (current) スイッチング
tactile point Druckpunkt (“pressure point”)
total travel Betätigungshub
ストローク (stroke)
travel Hub
voltage Spannung
voltage rating 定格電圧

Thanks to Kiyoto for some initial help with Japanese entries.


Japanese English
アルプス (アルプス電気、アルプス電気株式会社) Alps (Alps Electric, Alps Electric Co., Ltd.)
富士通 (富士通株式会社) Fujitsu (Fujitsu Limited)
フタバ (双葉電子工業株式会社) Futaba (Futaba Corporation, literally Futaba Electronics Co., Ltd.)
ミツミ (ミツミ電機株式会社) Mitsumi (Mitsumi Electric Co., Ltd.)
オムロン (オムロン株式会社) Omron (Omron Corporation)
昭和無線工業株式会社 Showa Radio Industry Co., Ltd. (the old name for SMK)
エスエムケイ株式会社 SMK Corporation with “SMK” spelt phonetically (“Esuemukei”)
SMK株式会社 SMK Corporation
立石電機株式会社 Tateishi Electric Co., Ltd.; in English Tateisi Electronics Co. and later OMRON Tateisi Electronics Co. (earlier names for Omron Corporation)