Need Advice in Japanese-English Translation Career
Thread poster: shii405
Nov 17, 2011

Hi Everyone,

I need advice. These are my conditions:

-I'm an Indonesian and live in Indonesia
-My bachelor degree is Dentistry
-I have studied intensive Japanese for 1 year in a Japanese language school at Tokyo.
-I have passed Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level-1
-I have nearly native-level fluency in both Japanese and English
-I've been working in a Japanese trading firm for 3 years (speaking Japanese and writing business e-mails in Japanese everyday, had to do interpreting in business meetings once in awhile)
-I have had translated documents from Japanese to English/Indonesian, for a lawyer firm since early this year, as a side job.

My dream is to be a full-time Japanese translator / interpreter. But I just realized that translators in Indonesia is paid a pittance and the industry is underdeveloped.

Is there any chance for me to work in the Japanese to English translation/interpretation business industry?

Do I have to take MA in translation or a certification in United States for that? How can I find business connections in the States, so that even after I return to Indonesia, I'd still get Japanese to English translation works regularly?

My main interest is to work on novels, legal documents, etc. But if there's a chance, I'd like to work as an interpreter as well.

What should I do to achieve my goal, to work in the Japanese to English translation/interpretation business industry?

Any suggestions, comments, and opinions, would be very appreciated!


 

xxxXX789  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:40
English to Dutch
+ ...
You can't Nov 18, 2011

You're not native, so you can't ever translate from Japanese to English. From Japanese to Indonesian is an option. Near-fluency is, unfortunately, not enough and won't cut it. Even if your English were perfect (which it isn't, as your posting shows, not that mine is either), agencies simply wouldn't take the risk. That's not to say that there aren't any worse native translators out there - but that's a different discussion really.

P.S. The above applies to translation; with interpretation, people may be slightly more flexible, as most interpreters interpret to and fro anyway, so that one of the languages in their pair is often not their native language.

[Edited at 2011-11-18 09:32 GMT]


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:40
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Never say never Nov 19, 2011

Loek van Kooten wrote:

You're not native, so you can't ever translate from Japanese to English.


This is simply not true. Or did I miss a sarcastic smiley?

Even if your English were perfect, ..., agencies simply wouldn't take the risk.


But they do. Simply because the number of native English translators in the Japanese-English language pair is not enough to handle the demand for translations. Many native Japanese translators translate into English, precisely for this reason. Specialty texts are also another example where being native in the target is secondary to being a subject expert. Agencies often work with native English editors to produce the desired end quality, it is sort of a "given" for any decent agency.

The OP has a specialty: dentistry, and that it is not very common, so offering niche translations services in that field (while working with a native editor) is not impossible at all.

Katalin


 

xxxXX789  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:40
English to Dutch
+ ...
Not really Nov 19, 2011

The fact that many J>E translations are handled by Japanese instead of native speakers is the most important reason why there is so much Japlish in Japan, the laughing stock of the world when it comes to this aspect (www.engrish.com).

There's indeed an option to tandem with a native speaker and have him proofread everything, but that still means that the OP will never be able to work on his own. It will also be a serious handicap, as working in tandem means that delivery times will be slower compared to those of native speakers. Last but not least, translations made this way are also more expensive if the OP doesn't cut his prices to some extent to be able to pay for the extra proofreading. Long story short: there's a lot less competitive power.

Most non-native speakers have an inflated opinion about their linguistic abilities. They are not an asset, but a liability, and most professional guidelines seem to agree on this. Once bitten twice shy and even then, serious agencies need to abide by these guidelines whether they like it or not.

The OP states he'd like to work on novels. That really doesn't seem realistic. I wish I had better news.

Go for interpretation, or focus on translations to Indonesian. Either from English or from Japanese.

[Edited at 2011-11-19 08:22 GMT]


 

madak  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:40
Swedish to English
+ ...
nn Nov 19, 2011

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

Loek van Kooten wrote:

You're not native, so you can't ever translate from Japanese to English.


This is simply not true. Or did I miss a sarcastic smiley?

Even if your English were perfect, ..., agencies simply wouldn't take the risk.



Katalin


Whether or not a native JP speaker can/should translate into EN is not really the point here - the OP clearly stated that they are not a native of either relevant language:

-I have studied intensive Japanese for 1 year in a Japanese language school at Tokyo.
-I have passed Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level-1
-I have nearly native-level fluency in both Japanese and English


 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Need Advice in Japanese-English Translation Career

Advanced search







Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »
WordFinder Unlimited
For clarity and excellence

WordFinder is the leading dictionary service that gives you the words you want anywhere, anytime. Access 260+ dictionaries from the world's leading dictionary publishers in virtually any device. Find the right word anywhere, anytime - online or offline.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search