Tools / Resources for Japanese Translation
Thread poster: Christopher W Gladden

Christopher W Gladden  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 12:37
Japanese to English
May 1, 2016

Hi!

I've been doing Japanese to English translation for a couple years now, and I have my go-to online resources. I'm wondering what other folks use.

Here's a brief rundown of my regular online tools:

Google docs for regular text (ie. Word)
MS online for Excel (via Dropbox...the Google doc spreadsheets seem to mess up formatting sometimes)
Rikai-chan (or Rikai-kun when in Chrome)
Weblio, Linguee, and occasionally Space Alc for individual terms
Regular old Google (surprising what turns up with just a simple search sometimes!)

Just these resources let me function and get beyond probably 98% of the hurdles I encounter along the way. What about other Proz members doing J to E translation? What are your go-to resources? And is there really any need for CAT software? I was messing around with OmegaT and found it far more cumbersome than working in the browser. The only advantage I could imagine would be the translation memory. But maybe there's a plug-in or something that, too?! Look forward to hearing what you think!

C




[Edited at 2016-05-01 12:51 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-05-01 18:31 GMT]


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:37
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Web-based May 1, 2016

Web-based CAT tools are, for example, Wordfast Anywhere and Google Translate Toolkit. However, if you find OmegaT cumbersome, there is little chance that those two ones will suit you better.

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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Getting over hurdles more efficiently May 1, 2016

Christopher W Gladden wrote:
Just these resources let me function and get beyond probably 98% of the hurdles I encounter along the way.

I use a CAT tool for three reasons.
1) Termbases. Many Japanese companies have their own preferences for terminology and are borderline obsessive about conformity with previous translations, so I tend to use company-specific termbases.
2) Translation memories. Less useful in terms of close matches, but useful for concordance searching.
3) Segmentation. You will either like this or not. I couldn't do without it these days.

I've never been asked to use any CAT tool other than SDL Studio (or Trados, as they still call it) so that is what I use. I regularly get projects in the form of Studio packages. Overall, I personally find CAT to be a useful force multiplier.

I don't use machine translation as most of my clients explicitly forbid it. If there were a guaranteed confidential MT option for a low price I would certainly try it out if clients gave me the okay.

The above aside, I use similar tools to you. Linguee, Google, occasionally Weblio but I don't find that very useful. Also the digital versions of the big Kenkyusha ei-wa, wa-ei dictionaries, the Daijirin, oh and the Eijiro dictionaries. The latter are not authoritative, but since I mostly use dictionaries (collectively) rather like a thesaurus they are still useful for ideas for expressing something.

All my software runs offline. MS Office, text editors, search utilities, backup, invoicing and so on. Data is stored offline by default. Nothing related to clients is stored in the cloud without being encrypted in a separate step before it is uploaded.

I use Verifika, PerfectIt, checklists and lots of red pens for reviewing and editing.

Despite having been translating for nearly quarter of a century, working as a freelancer has been a different experience. I'm still learning my craft, still improving. Always ready to add another good tool to my belt.

Regards
Dan


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Alexander Somin  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:37
Member (2014)
English to Russian
+ ...
Free and offline May 1, 2016

Free J-E resources and more at: lingoes net

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Christopher W Gladden  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 12:37
Japanese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks... May 1, 2016

esperantisto wrote:

Web-based CAT tools are, for example, Wordfast Anywhere and Google Translate Toolkit. However, if you find OmegaT cumbersome, there is little chance that those two ones will suit you better.


Thanks for your response. I understand such CAT tools exist, but I'm wondering which ones Japanese to English translators actually use (and not just CAT tools, all web-based resources).


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:37
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
OmegaT May 1, 2016

OmegaT is definitely used by translators from / to Japanese. One of the most active OmegaT community members translates from Japanese to French (not me).

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Christopher W Gladden  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 12:37
Japanese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Hmmm... May 1, 2016

esperantisto wrote:

OmegaT is definitely used by translators from / to Japanese. One of the most active OmegaT community members translates from Japanese to French (not me).


Maybe I need to give it another chance. Thank you!


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Christopher W Gladden  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 12:37
Japanese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Arigatou! May 2, 2016

I use a CAT tool for three reasons.
1) Termbases. Many Japanese companies have their own preferences for terminology and are borderline obsessive about conformity with previous translations, so I tend to use company-specific termbases.
2) Translation memories. Less useful in terms of close matches, but useful for concordance searching.
3) Segmentation. You will either like this or not. I couldn't do without it these days.

I've never been asked to use any CAT tool other than SDL Studio (or Trados, as they still call it) so that is what I use. I regularly get projects in the form of Studio packages. Overall, I personally find CAT to be a useful force multiplier.


Dan, thanks so much for your detailed response. I've read mixed reviews on using Trados with Japanese, but sounds like it does just what you need. If pretty much everyone wants Trados, I guess I'd be wasting my time learning anything else. The fact that Trados doesn't have a Mac version seems nuts to me, though.

Good call on standardizing termbases. I wish there was just a plug in or extension that would do that!

Also, I like your attitude towards incorporating new tools into the mix. There sure are a lot out there!

Thanks again,

C


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CafeTran Training
Netherlands
Local time: 04:37
Differences May 3, 2016

Dan Lucas wrote:

Despite having been translating for nearly quarter of a century, working as a freelancer has been a different experience. I'm still learning my craft, still improving.


If this would be appropriate in this thread, I'd find it interesting to read a few lines about the differences you discovered. If not appropriate here, perhaps you could start a new thread?


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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:37
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
All that you can't leave behind May 3, 2016

CafeTran Training wrote:
Dan Lucas wrote:
Despite having been translating for nearly quarter of a century, working as a freelancer has been a different experience. I'm still learning my craft, still improving.

If this would be appropriate in this thread, I'd find it interesting to read a few lines about the differences you discovered. If not appropriate here, perhaps you could start a new thread?

In my previous career, the main job was high-pressure and I translated as an ad hoc internal translator. The translation would always be for somebody I knew, so there was no marketing required. While I always did the best translation I could, I was never paid directly for translating, so rates and billing were never an issue. So in that sense, translation was almost a respite from my main work and there was little pressure.

My translation "clients" would be investors or the companies themselves, or somebody within my own firm. For example, a company might ask me to look at their IR materials or - if we were doing an event with the company such as a roadshow or conference - I might volunteer to revise a clearly inadequate translation.

Or an investor might phone me up and ask me to translate a few paragraphs of a financial statement for a company I knew well. (This was quite common back in the 1990s and early oughties, when there was much less financial information in English for Japanese companies and in the 1990s a lot of material was still delivered by fax!) Or a manager within my firm would ask for help putting a Japanese report into English. Adding it all up, I did quite a bit of J-E translation, especially up to about 2003. And throughout my career I was wading through piles of source language material every day.

What changes as a freelancer is the sheer volume of work. All I do is translate, so I have much more opportunity to recognise certain structures, phrases and expressions common to the source language and to work out strategies for dealing with them. Also, I have now been through a few seasonal cycles (and because most of my work is repeat business) I am seeing certain patterns emerge at certain clients, which makes it easier to predict and deal with demand. Finally, because I specialise in finance and autos or machinery there's far more terminological consistency to the content, which is also good.

Naturally, the non-translation aspect has been significant. That is, working out what to charge clients, going out and finding agencies and direct clients, managing administrative and financial issues (especially since we work through a limited company vehicle), the whole Pandora's box of dictionaries and CAT tools (which are a relatively recent phenomenon from my perspective), establishing a quality strategy, working out a path for CPD and so on. That's a big change, but I actually quite like this part of the job, as I get to use what I observed from watching some of the world's best companies do business over the preceding twenty years! So far, so good.

Regards
Dan


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CafeTran Training
Netherlands
Local time: 04:37
Thanks May 3, 2016

Thanks Dan, I've enjoyed reading your story.

All I do is translate, so I have much more opportunity to recognise certain structures, phrases and expressions common to the source language and to work out strategies for dealing with them


Patterns are in my business dominant too. We'll see what Slate Desktop et al. will do to the market.


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