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Foreign Translator Career

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Foreign Translator Career

Postby Salza600 » Sat 02.09.2008 12:53 am

So yeah when I'm finally old enough I want to move to Japan! I'm in high school right now so I was wondering about some job opportunities in Japan. I was thinking that I could become proficient(sp) in Japanese by the time I graduate(i'm learning right now). Are there big corporations in Japan that pay good for translators or high paying jobs for mulitlingual people? I guess what i'm really asking is, what are good job opportunites for people fluent in 3-4 languages in Japan? Thanks !

P. S. Do you guys have any reccomendations for educational things I should do now in high school in order to get a good job in Japan? ( I love learning languages :D )
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RE: Foreign Translator Career

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 02.09.2008 12:58 am

By "by the time I graduate" do you mean college or high school?
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RE: Foreign Translator Career

Postby Salza600 » Sat 02.09.2008 1:37 am

I meant high school.

And I never knew that...
Is there something i could add with knowledge of alot of languages? Like law or foreign relations???
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RE: Foreign Translator Career

Postby OitaFish » Sat 02.09.2008 3:10 am

I think most, if not all, work visa's require a college diploma or a certain number of years of experience in the field you will be working in. You can read more about visas here. I am not an expert on this topic but if you are planning to go to Japan to work before you have a college diploma, the only practical ways I know of are marrying a Japanese citizen or if you are from a country that has a Working Holiday Visa arrangement with Japan, you could come over for a year (maybe 18 months) with that. If you are from the US, you will not be able to get a Working Holiday Visa though.

There are a few websites around that post job opening in Japan. Do a search on Google and look through some of the postings to see what kinds of work are available, what their requirements are, and what they pay. Obviously, the better you are at Japanese, the more opportunities you will have.
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RE: Foreign Translator Career

Postby Mike Cash » Sat 02.09.2008 3:41 am

Salza600 wrote:
So yeah when I'm finally old enough I want to move to Japan! I'm in high school right now so I was wondering about some job opportunities in Japan. I was thinking that I could become proficient(sp) in Japanese by the time I graduate(i'm learning right now). Are there big corporations in Japan that pay good for translators or high paying jobs for mulitlingual people? I guess what i'm really asking is, what are good job opportunites for people fluent in 3-4 languages in Japan? Thanks !

P. S. Do you guys have any reccomendations for educational things I should do now in high school in order to get a good job in Japan? ( I love learning languages :D )


What 3-4 languages are you fluent in?

I've encountered just oodles and oodles of high school kids who have the intent to become fluent/proficient in Japanese by the time they graduate. There seems to be a shortage of those who have anything resembling a plan for actually doing so, however. What's yours?

While language skills are essential to working as a translator, by themselves they're generally not enough. It helps to have some knowledge and/or practical experience of professional fields. Someone who can translate novels wonderfully would likely do less well translating chemical engineering papers or medical research stuff. And vice-versa.

Then we come to the matter of visa eligibility. Right out of high school the chances are close to zero that you are eligible for a visa, so that makes the question of employment entirely moot.

What you need to do for visa eligibility, for preparation for being a translator, and as a general fallback plan for when your interest in Japan peters out in a few years is to take your young butt to college and get an education and degree.
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RE: Foreign Translator Career

Postby saraLynne » Sat 02.09.2008 7:06 am

Mike Cash wrote:There seems to be a shortage of those who have anything resembling a plan for actually doing so, however. What's yours?


To be fair, I think that's precisely what he's trying to come up with. I'm nearly as cynical as others in that most people never live up to their dreams. But some DO-- usually the ones who are empowered to do so by the people in the best position to help rather than getting crapped on from the outset.

What fields have high demand for translators? Would it be best for him to find a job as an interpreter/translator stateside? Are there any trans-continental companies with good reputations that might -eventually- offer overseas transfer? What about working as a freelancer? Can that lead to being permanently hired on, or only as a freak stroke of good luck?

These are all questions that I suppose would help the guy out. Any takers? :)
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RE: Foreign Translator Career

Postby Mike Cash » Sat 02.09.2008 7:42 am

And in what way did I "crap" on him?

He made no mention of his plan for study, nor did he ask for any advice about that. My post let him know of a common pitfall and the need to avoid it. Far from crapping on him, that was actually constructive.

And I don't think a plan for achieving fluency/proficiency is precisely what he is trying to come up with. Nor do I understand how you substantiate that leap. He tells us himself:

I guess what i'm really asking is, what are good job opportunites for people fluent in 3-4 languages in Japan?


Before worrying about what particular field he may wish to specialize and what company in Japan he might work for, he first needs to learn the language and get a college degree. He seems to have been operating under the assumption he could learn Japanese in a couple of years and then move to Japan right out of high school and go to work as a translator. I addressed all of that. I really don't see how you can find fault with my post, much less characterize it as having crapped on the guy. Let's try to do without the calumny.
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RE: Foreign Translator Career

Postby OitaFish » Sat 02.09.2008 9:07 am

While I may not agree with exactly how it was stated, I think Mr. Cash gave a lot of good advice. The first part of the plan needs to be getting a college diploma. I hope the OP looks at the information my post will lead him to and that it leads him to the same conclusions that Mr. Cash stated explicitly.

I also don't get a very good sense that he really knows what kind of job he wants but maybe I'm reading too much into it. Maybe if he explores job postings, he will get a better sense of the kinds of jobs available and what their requirements are.

I work as an engineer for a relatively small technical company that does business worldwide. A lot more of our customers speak English than Japanese. In my office, we have 2 translators (both Japanese but fluent in English) and they constantly complain to me that they don't understand the technical discussion in Japanese and then they are expected to translate that which they don't understand to English. On the other hand, our sales people need to be bi-lingual but they don't really have to deal with the technical aspects of the job. If you want to be a translator, you need to have an idea about the things you are translating (which I think is what Mr. Cash was saying in part of his post).

I think the OP needs to take some time to figure out what exactly it is he wants, understand the requirements, and then come up with a plan. One thing I would strongly recommend though, is spend some time in Japan before planning to move here. Maybe he could get into a college program where he could do a semester or two in Japan.
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RE: Foreign Translator Career

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 02.09.2008 10:21 am

To be fair, I think that's precisely what he's trying to come up with. I'm nearly as cynical as others in that most people never live up to their dreams. But some DO-- usually the ones who are empowered to do so by the people in the best position to help rather than getting crapped on from the outset.


There's nothing wrong with steering someone towards a more realistic dream

Mastering Japanese well enough to qualify you for a translator job before the end of high school, and then actually managing to get a job in Japan as a high school graduate are both almost impossible. Rather than just make a feel good "you can do it if you dream hard enough!" post, it's much more helpful to provide advice on how to take the core dream of being a translator in Japan and rechannel it into an avenue that is more reasonable. Mike's post was not rude in any way and I don't see why people want to take him to task for telling people what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear.

What fields have high demand for translators? Would it be best for him to find a job as an interpreter/translator stateside? Are there any trans-continental companies with good reputations that might -eventually- offer overseas transfer? What about working as a freelancer? Can that lead to being permanently hired on, or only as a freak stroke of good luck?


The thing is, none of these questions are relevant in the slightest without first addressing the basic point that you're not going to get a translator job in Japan right out of high school, unless you have some extremely unusual background and miraculous connections in Japan.

Let's say the OP said they wanted to become a lawyer right out of high school, and wondered what some good firms were. Would it be "crapping on" the person to tell them that they're going to have to go to college and law school first?
Last edited by Yudan Taiteki on Sat 02.09.2008 10:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Foreign Translator Career

Postby two_heads_talking » Sat 02.09.2008 10:22 am

Mike Cash wrote:
calumny.


Now there's an 80 dollar word. but I would hardly think that anything about crapping would be considered a maliciously false statement. false? possibly (although to be honest I don't know that Sara was directing her comment directly at you Mike). Maliciously false? not quite. I wouldn't use such a strong word in that way..

but then again this might all just be a mare's nest anyways.. smoke and mirrors people, it's all in the smoke and mirrors.
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RE: Foreign Translator Career

Postby Salza600 » Sat 02.09.2008 2:22 pm

Hey everybody thanks for your replies. :)
I'm sorry I didn't really elborate enough in my first post about my "plan"
I intend to get my B.A. here in America (I'm not that stupid to just head to japan right out of high school :p ) During that time I also intend to study abroad for a semester or two. But the reason I was asking about the jobs was so I could get some insight on what exactly I should major in while at college (A language or something else like buissiness or law). I'm already fluent in French and i'm learning Japanese right now. I can also read Korean. But I hope to be fluent in a few languages by the time I reach Japan (after my B.A.)
I hope that clears some things up...
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RE: Foreign Translator Career

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 02.09.2008 4:47 pm

Ah, OK. That's more realistic. :) (sorry if we seemed hard on you but we get a lot of people wanting to learn Japanese in 1 year and move to Japan for the rest of their lives before they turn 16.)

I would investigate schools that have good Japanese programs. Do as well as you can in high school so that you can have a greater choice of college (and hopefully get money as well).

Don't major in something that is going to make you so busy you won't have time to take Japanese courses as well. A lot of people here at OSU do double majors in Japanese and something else, which is probably a good idea if you can put in the work.

One other thing you should find out when you're shopping for colleges is whether they have study abroad options for non-Japanese majors as well.

I don't know much about actually getting a translator job in Japan so I'll have to stop here.
Last edited by Yudan Taiteki on Sat 02.09.2008 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Foreign Translator Career

Postby Salza600 » Sat 02.09.2008 5:16 pm

Well I live in Florida right now. Know of any good choices here? hehe :D
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RE: Foreign Translator Career

Postby Ken Pro » Sat 02.09.2008 8:26 pm

Try to watch the movie "Fear and Trembling" before making the leap.
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RE: Foreign Translator Career

Postby Cratz » Sun 02.10.2008 12:16 am

One thing to keep in mind when deciding on a major:

There aren't any companies that are going to hire you just because you speak English and Japanese. Companies are looking for businessmen/engineers/programmers who also have the ability to speak Japanese. Walking out of college with a degree in Japanese isn't going to qualify you for anything beyond perhaps teaching Japanese (in the States, of course).

Even translators need a pretty solid background in some sort of technical field (the reason being that lucrative J-E translation jobs are always in a technical or medical field). The current hot fields in J-E translation are computing, image processing and medicine. If you are interested in translation, I would advise getting a degree in one of these fields and studying Japanese along the way.
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