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I'm sorry for asking this, but would someone be able to translate… 
10th-Jul-2014 06:13 am
I'm sorry for asking this, but would someone be able to translate this for me: Teaちゃんって呼んで良いかな?(btw, my name is Téa)

I've been using google translate to talk to this girl on twitter, and she sent me this message. I think she's asking if she can call me Téa-chan. This is a gesture of friendship on her part, right? Bec. people have told me different things so I'm not sure ^^;
Comments 
10th-Jul-2014 11:00 am (UTC)
It's almost literally "I wonder if it's okay to call you Tea-chan?" so yes, basically she's asking if that informal nickname is alright with you ^^
10th-Jul-2014 11:04 am (UTC)
omg, you have NO IDEA how relieved I am right now! wheeww I was so nervous cause some ppl were telling me that 'chan' is a term of inferiority, and I had asked her in JP if I can call her 'chan' back, so I was absolutely terrified that I just insulted her or something XDD

Thank you so so much!!! *hugs*
11th-Jul-2014 07:07 am (UTC)
You can read more about Japanese honorific suffixes here:
en(dot)wikipedia(dot)org(slash) wiki(slash)Japanese_honorifics#Common_honorifics

If you meet someone (female) about your age in a really informal setting and they give you a friendly vibe it wouldn't be insulting to ask them if it's OK to call them ~ちゃん but I'd recommend waiting to see if they ask you first.

True, it's generally described as being used to someone younger and female (that's where the "inferiority" comes in) but in practice it's used in a variety of settings.

Most important is just the relationship. Plenty of middle aged ladies call their good friends/female co-workers on super friendly terms ~ちゃん for cuteness/endearment. Even my previous host mom is sometimes called name~ちゃん by her friends and she's like 60+. I was even once addressed as ~ちゃん by a guy I'd been working with for several years and was slightly my senior because he was just being super playful/using a joking tone. In some cases ~ちゃん can be used for senior/older people too. I'm expected to call my old host mom's 95 year old mother おばあちゃん ("granny").

Anyway, you need to feel the situation out, but until you're sure in most cases you should stick with ~さん.

Finally, most Japanese will be pretty forgiving of a foreigner who makes a faux pas because they won't expect you to know. So don't ever worry to the point you stress yourself out ^^. Sorry if that was tl;dr
(Deleted comment)
13th-Jul-2014 07:42 am (UTC)
"hopefully you're not using google translate for everything!"

*uncomfortable laugh* um, yes? I mean, I'm just starting to learn kanji and I'm almost finished learning all the hiragana (haven't started katakana yet) so...I kind of rely on google translate for everything ^^;

but I usually translate the JP it gives me back into english to make sure that it's saying what i want it to say, and if it doesn't, then either i delete some of the characters until it does, or i try a different wording until it gets my message across ^^;

also, the girl who i'm talking to is Japanese. So she was probably trying to make it as simple for me as possible, which is why she wrote it that way XD
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