I am a Japanese-to-English freelance translator specializing in sustainability, social responsibility (CSR), and environment-related themes for a wide range of clients, many of whom are large corporations. I have more than five years of experience as a full-time professional freelance translator, and more experience translating and interpreting in work and academic settings before that.
While double majoring in Japanese and studio art at Middlebury College in Vermont, I studied abroad for nine months at Doshisha University in Kyoto. After graduating I lived in Oita, in southern Japan, for four years, two of which were spent working for the prefectural government as a translator, interpreter, and coordinator for international relations (CIR) in the JET Program. Another year was spent attending a local craft school, where I learned how to split timber bamboo using a variety of cutting instruments and fashion it into strips for weaving baskets. This turned out to be a remarkable immersive experience, as I was the first foreigner to attend the school in it's more than 70-year history and had the opportunity to learn a traditional, local, and--sadly--dying craft.
I have always been mesmerized by the visual beauty of the Japanese language, and as a visual thinker this has inspired and supported the learning process. Having come to the point of practical fluency in the language, however, I make a special point in my work of creating an English product that can stand by itself. All too often translators remain entangled in the Japanese "mode" of thinking, both linguistically and culturally, and have trouble perceiving their translations from the perspective of the target audience, who tend to be unfamiliar with Japanese language and culture. I thus see translation as a balance of correctly conveying the specific meaning of the source information, while also creating or tweaking content to support the reader's understanding and deliver the message more effectively. Style and methods for doing this depend on the type of document, content, and audience. I am open to discussing with each client the level of technical rigor ("faithfulness") or interpretive creativity ("looseness") they want included in the final product.