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Is translation the career for me?
Thread poster: davekapp
Japanese to English
Jan 19, 2005

I'm trying to decide if going into translation is what I really want to do. Before asking for advice, I'd like to give some background on my situation first, of course.

After graduating from Colorado State University in May of 2004 (with a degree in Asian Studies), I came to Japan and began teaching English at a public junior high school. Although I love Japan, and I actually enjoy the city I'm living in here, I've found that teaching simply isn't the job for me.

I have a little over four years of college level Japanese, and I'm confident enough in my language abilities to consider a career in translation. However, I'm not really familiar with the structure of the translation industry, nor with what people expect out of your work.

I realize that my Japanese isn't perfect yet, but I that everyone has to start somewhere...

Am I even close to being qualified to be a translator? If not, what should I do to improve my skills? Thanks for any advice you may have!


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Kurt Porter  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:51
Russian to English
+ ...
Education Jan 19, 2005

The field is not as easy as it first appears. You're going to be competing with many people with a lot of years of experience and education. Speaking of education, if you can afford it, I'd truly submerse myself in the Japanese language for another year, then I'd apply to the Monterey Institute of Internation Studies and go through their J-E program, either to become an interpreter or a translator. You should be able to google their URL and take a look at their site for more information. Good luck in your search.


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:51
Leave teaching and get a different job first Jan 19, 2005

Agree with Kurt, you could do with another year or so perfecting your Japanese.

Would it be at all feasible for you to leave teaching and get a job in a Japanese company, using your Japanese all day, rather than English? You would see a massive improvement in your language skills, and also specialised industry experience.

Being fluent in a language is not always enough, you need to back this up with some kind of subject specialisation.

Good luck!


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:51
German to English
+ ...
Become a "Salariman" Jan 19, 2005

I assume you would look to business/technical translation, which I would imagine where the prime source of revenue is.

In line with the other guys, I'd recommend spending time with a Japanese company to get familiar with the unique business culture, hierarchy and "bizspeak" there. Also good training for eventually going into business yourself.

A further recommendation would be to then seek employment with a translation company for a while before going freelance.

HTH and good luck.


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