全ての研修生はつらい仕事の苦労を分かち合っている。

English Translation

All the trainees share the burden of toil.

How does 研修生 compare with 教習生、実習生、訓練生、研修員とか with respect to usage frequency and semantic connotation?

@ericaw
Interesting question!

  1. 実習生 = on-the-job trainees – 実 means “real”, so 実習 involves practical training programs. Medical interns in US are 実習生, for example. 教育実習 in Japan is an official and mandatory training program required for applicants for the teacher’s license issued by the government. 教育実習生 are assigned to an actual school, and they have to give lectures in front of school kids. All teaching topics are from actual textbooks. It’s not a simulation. 教育実習生 are woven into the real day-to-day operation process.

  2. 訓練生 – Like 実習, 訓練 also requires the trainees to acquire “hands-on” skills. In my personal opinion, the biggest difference between 実習生 and 訓練生 is with or without clients. For example, students at a military or police academy are often called 訓練生. They learn how to fire guns (i.e. practical training). They use actual bullets. But they are not deployed to an actual battle field or a crime scene. Therefore, there is no “client” 訓練生 are serving for whereas licensed soldiers and police officers serve for the country (i.e. client). 訓練 also gives the image of “repetition” under the same simulated situations. If a 訓練生 of a police academy fails in firing guns, he repeats the same practice again and again. However, a 教育実習生 doesn’t give the same lecture to the same school kids in class again and again even if she is not satisfied with her performance.

  3. 教習生 – The only usage of 教習生 I can come up with is trainees for driver’s license. There are two differences between 教習生 and 実習生/訓練生. 1) 実習生 and 訓練生 often refer to apprentices in professional context while the purpose of going to driving schools is not limited to a professional use. 2) 教習生 at driving schools learn from textbooks in a classroom setting and also drive a car in the field of the driving school. But 実習生 have already learned basic knowledge from textbooks.

  4. 研修生 and 研修員 – These are more general terms and can cover wider meanings. So, don’t try to figure out concrete and clear definitions. They are just illogical. You need to get familiar with each case of usage with a bottom-up approach.

  • Example 1) Suppose that the government changed the accounting rules recently. Some employees at a finance and accounting division are required to take a 2-day training course in a classroom provided by an outsourcer. The lecturer call the course-takers as 研修生 or 受講生. Unlike firing guns at a police academy, the 2-day accounting lecture course doesn’t offer repetition practices. It’s more like a traditional knowledge acquiring course. So, we don’t call it 実習 or 訓練.
  • Example 2) a new cashier of a convenience store often puts a “brand-new/newbie” badge (研修生 or 研修中) next to his name tag on his uniform. 研修生 are woven into the real operation process. There are actual clients. In that sense, 研修生 of a convenience store and 教育実習生 are the same.
  • Example 3) 研修医 (けんしゅうい) in Japan is often confused with the concept of medical interns in US (実習生). But they are different. 研修医 have already got a medical license, but they are still supervised by veteran doctors. 研修医 are paid and give some medical treatments for actual patients. 研修生 of the 2-day accounting course from Example 1 learn basic knowledge while 研修医 don’t need to learn from textbooks or from in-class lectures. “Hands-on” is not the determiner whether we call something 研修 or 実習.
  • Example 4) 研修員 is often used in academic or highly intellectual research context. Universities in Western countries have many research centers such as “the center for Asian international finance” and “the center on nuclear technology”. These in-house institutions offer “fellow” positions to invite external researchers. Such “fellows” are sometimes seconded from corporate in-house research divisions, and they are called 研修員 (fellow) at the center of the university. But 研修員 are not trainees because they are already qualified. They are more like “loaned” researchers under the directions of the center of the university.