The importance of a translation course on becoming a Japanese-English translator?
Thread poster: Eien
Jul 5, 2010

Hi,

I have recently graduated from my degree from the School of Oriental and African studies (SOAS, University of London) (I am 22) with my degree in Japanese and Korean, and also have the Level 1 proficiency qualification in the JLPT (Japanese language proficiency test). My eventual aim is to work as a full-time translator, possibly in-house or freelance, in Japan. However, I would also like to be able to use my translation skills to further a career in differing work fields - corporate governance being one possible option. I have seen how many translators have acquired experience in a specific field of translating, and work experience being a prime way to build up a resume to becoming a translator. However, in recent years, there have been more translation courses established, and I am wondering whether such a course will give me a head start in finding translation jobs, whether work experience is more highly valued, or whether there are only a few translation courses worth applying for. I would ideally like to study translation in Tokyo, although I am willing to study elsewhere if there are far more reputable courses (I have heard good things about institutions in Honolulu). However, money is not something I have an excess of, so I am also wondering what sponsorship/scholarship options there may be available as well, or whether it is feasible to complete a course on a part time basis, while gaining work experience.

In terms of my experience of translation or working with language they include:

- Working as a researcher in a Japanese oil and gas company (6 Months full time) - this information was in English, but I would often proofread colleague's english emails and discuss corrections in Japanese
- Working as a French speaker in a car breakdown call centre (6 Months full time) (I also have fluent french, but not native level)
- Working as a waitress in a Shibuya Cafe (part time during my year in Japan) (not sure how helpful this is, but shows that I was able to work in a Japanese speaking environment before graduating)
- A year's dissertation research on cinema subtitle translation
- Working as an actual translator in a corporate governance company translating stockholders' meeting of convocation documents (article amendments, remuneration policies, director/auditor appointments) from Japanese to English - this is probably my best translation experience, but the position was unfortunately only for a month when translations were required.
- Other odd translation/interpretation jobs such as a japanese band interview interpreter, translation of a music website (not paid)

Any advice would be hugely helpful! In particular, advice on any career options beyond simply translating, but making the most of translation/language skills.

[Edited at 2010-07-05 13:16 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-07-05 13:25 GMT]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:00
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Have you tried the Embassy? Jul 6, 2010

http://www.uk.emb-japan.go.jp/en/study/index.html

Actually, I'd advise you to look over the available offers, and if your needs differ in some way, to ask them directly about how to do it. (After all, they promote this sort of exchanges).


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Eien
TOPIC STARTER
Comparison between translation courses and experience needed Jul 7, 2010

Parrot wrote:

http://www.uk.emb-japan.go.jp/en/study/index.html

Actually, I'd advise you to look over the available offers, and if your needs differ in some way, to ask them directly about how to do it. (After all, they promote this sort of exchanges).


This is certainly useful, but I still wonder whether it is worth my time to go to a translation school, or simply gain experience in a certain specialist field to become a translator? I have seen many people talk about HOW to become a translator, before many translation courses came about, but almost nothing on the comparison between translation schools and simply getting the experience.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:00
English to German
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What translation schools will teach you Jul 7, 2010

Here is a summary of my studies at the NYU:

1) How to translate press releases
2) How to translate birth certificates, university entrance certifications etc.
3) How to translate court decrees and license contracts
4) How to translate technical texts
5) How to translate medical texts
6) How to translate IT texts and how to localize software
7) How to translate patents
8) How to translate recipes
9) How to translate short stories / literature
10) How to localize marketing text across cultures

Each and every text requires a different approach and needs to be translated differently.

I had to edit theater plays that were written like a patent, not allowing the actors a chance to breathe. I have seen advertising copy that was translated without regard to the readership and therefore was rendered useless.

There is more to translation than being bilingual, and the right education is priceless.


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Eien
TOPIC STARTER
The importance of education in translation and how to obtain it in Japan Jul 17, 2010

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Here is a summary of my studies at the NYU:

1) How to translate press releases
2) How to translate birth certificates, university entrance certifications etc.
3) How to translate court decrees and license contracts
4) How to translate technical texts
5) How to translate medical texts
6) How to translate IT texts and how to localize software
7) How to translate patents
8) How to translate recipes
9) How to translate short stories / literature
10) How to localize marketing text across cultures

Each and every text requires a different approach and needs to be translated differently.

I had to edit theater plays that were written like a patent, not allowing the actors a chance to breathe. I have seen advertising copy that was translated without regard to the readership and therefore was rendered useless.

There is more to translation than being bilingual, and the right education is priceless.


That sounds like an excellent course, although I would personally prefer to do a course in Tokyo (unless there is a high class institution elsewhere in Japan that is more feasible) while working. Does anyone know of any translation schools worth attending, which could be attended on a part-time basis, that would be useful? Also, I get the message that an education in translation 'is useful' but is it essential in the eyes of employers or clients? Or is industry experience more valued? Are masters' degrees in translation (particularly in Tokyo) worth doing?


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