For all the people who are considering translation as a profession, I thought this site was a pretty succinct overview of what the job is like and what skills it takes. Enjoy.
If you are looking for a Japanese translation position in the central Ohio area, please try contacting the following agencies:
or possibly Omni One Staffing
In the rest of the US, try:
or try going to the New York or Boston Career Forum, a job fair for Japanese bilinguals.
When looking for a job, remember that you don’t necessarily have to have translation experience. You do need to have work experience. Show that you have language skills and can hold down a job.
For those of you who have not taken the JLPT, you may want to try ACTFL (a spoken proficiency test administered over the phone) or J-CAT (an internet administered test similar to JLPT but adaptive so it gets harder as you answer more questions correctly) to prove your language ability
One of the most difficult things to remember when translating is that you must focus on the meaning, not the words. The picture above is a great example of this. I’m sure the person who made it thought that they were “translating ‘Hello'” into many different languages. However, that is not entirely accurate. “Hello” in American English is a neutral greeting. It puts some distance between you and the target of the greeting, compared to the relative closeness of the term “Hey.” However, it is also formality and time neutral. こんにちはis also of relatively neutral formality, but it is more akin to “good afternoon” (in that it has a variant: こんばんわ) and is appropriate only at a certain time of day. That being said, “Hello” is used commonly when picking up the telephone in English, for which こにちわ in Japanese would be inappropriate. “Ciao” can mean “hello” or “goodbye.” 你好 is both “hello” and “how are you?” Even the translation of a simple word like “hello” varies by time of day, target of greeting, professional level of the speaker in reference to that target, medium of communication, etc. TPO!
So, when you are translating (or interpreting) it’s important to focus on the meaning of what’s being said. Too often (especially in E>J) I will see a word and say to myself, ‘I don’t know how to say that word in Japanese’ so I will spend several minutes finding the appropriate Japanese translation of an English word, only to find that, when I get the sentence all put together, it doesn’t make any sense in context. Then I end up changing it to words that I already knew because they reflect the meaning better.
Just remember, being true to the original means reflecting the meaning of the original in the target language, without dropping any aspect of that meaning. It does not mean making sure that every word used in the original is used in the target. That makes for a wordy and confusing translation.
Interesting article about why our profession is undervalued.