Why fluency is not enough…

Why fluency is not enough…

I have been observing something very interesting.

I work with tons of Japanese Engineers. I think it goes without saying that they went to school for engineering. That is what they do. In addition to 4 years of school and at least 5 years working, for most of them, they also have been living in the U.S. for at least 2 years.  All this gives them an advantage over me in that they know JARGON.

As an interpreter, it is not enough to just speak like a native speaker. I can carry on bank transactions or conversations over coffee without pausing or using a dictionary. But that is not enough. As an interpreter, you need not only to know the jargon that is used in your work, but also understand the processes, departments, divisions of labor, and be able to do it all in two languages. This is not easy. I think its something that most people (employees and employers) overlook. They think that if someone has passed a particular test, they should be able to do anything. They don’t understand that the reason they can understand a particular word and I can’t is not because they are Japanese but because they are engineers. 専門用語!

Anyway, when I started at this company I was given a few excel files and dictionaries that I use. However, they are inevitably insufficient. I recommend keeping your own.