I’m writing to tell you what the Japan Association of Translators has accomplished over the past 12 months as we approach the end of JAT’s and Japan’s fiscal year on March 31, 2017.

JAT membership hovers at about 800. Half of JAT’s members live in Japan, and the rest are scattered across the globe. You can find most members in the JAT directory at and information about JAT’s history and organization at Thanks to sound financial management, JAT has cash reserves of approximately 20 million yen even after its investment of 8 million yen on website development and upgrades.

JAT’s directors are:

Ben Tompkins - President, Contest Liaison
Hideaki Maruoka - Vice President, Webmaster
Akiko Endo - Treasurer, TAC Liaison, Asst. Secretary
Shigeki Fukuoka - Education, New Projects
Chiharu Hirabayashi - Legal Affairs, Acting Secretary
Stacey Jehlik - IJET, Asst. Webmaster, Asst. Treasurer (overseas)
Phil Robertson - Public Relations, PROJECT Liaison, FIT Liaison
Tobias Rushbrook - Membership, JTF Liaison
James Singleton - SIG and Regional (KAT, TRAC, MAC) Liaison

JAT’s auditors are Nora Stevens Heath and Gwen Clayton.

JAT has six Special Interest Groups (SIGs): JATLAW (legal translation), JATPHARMA (medical/pharmaceutical translation), JATINT (interpreting), JATTIP (translator-initiated publishing), JATTOOLS (translation tools), and JATPATENT (patent translations). Each SIG committee organizes meetings and other events, holds discussions online, and finds quality speakers for major JAT meetings.

We have four regional activity groups: TAC (Tokyo Activities Committee), TRAC (Tohoku Regional Activities Committee), KAT (Kansai Activities Team), and MAC (Midwest Activities Committee). These groups hold meetings and social events throughout the year. See for a list of upcoming JAT events.

A list of the members of these and other committees in JAT’s organization is available at Absent from the list of committee members are former KAT committee member George Bourdaniotis, former JATLAW Vice-Chair Kyal Hill, and former TAC committee member Richard Medhurst, who recently stepped down. JAT thanks these wonderful volunteers and others who recently stepped down from their committee roles.

JAT also thanks all our other behind-the-scenes volunteers. JAT volunteers handle everything from website content and elections to the translation contest, eJuku (online mentoring of new translators), announcement translation, the JAT anthology, technical issues, ISO discussions, and more. Your continued dedication to our profession is indispensable.

JAT Webmaster and Vice President Hideaki Maruoka oversaw a revamping of the JAT and IJET websites. The new JAT and IJET sites feature a cleaner look, many forums for JAT members to use to communicate with each other ( and, and the JAT Blog ( Don’t forget to check out existing site features such as the members-only Job Board (, JAT’s online directory (, and JAT’s extensive library of videos from past activities (

The IJET-27 Sendai Organizing Committee, led by Chair Lisa Hew, skillfully put together JAT’s 27th International Japanese-English Translation Conference (IJET), which took place at the Sendai International Center on June 18-19, 2016. JAT’s first major conference held in Tohoku, IJET-27 featured a keynote Shakespearian performance in Tohoku dialect and many presentations and panel discussions on topics relevant to translators and interpreters. JAT appreciates the hard work of the committee and congratulates them for making IJET-27 such a success.

JAT has many events planned for the coming fiscal year. IJET-28 will be held on April 8-9, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio, USA. The Organizing Committee, jointly led by Nadine Edwards and Allyson Larimer, have been working hard to assemble a high-quality program. I hope to see you in Columbus!

JAT will soon hold its annual election for the Board of Directors. We will begin accepting nominations for candidates in late May and hold a membership-wide vote in mid-June. Please consider running for the Board to help JAT grow, remain a key player in the translation industry, and educate translators, interpreters, and the general public about the issues that matter most to us. Watch your inbox and the JAT Forums for announcements from the Election Committee.

JAT will hold its 2017 Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) on Saturday, June 24, 2017 in Tokyo. Typically, our OGM is a 45-minute session at IJET, but this year’s OGM will be different. It will be an all-day event featuring a presentation on quality control by Terry Saito, a networking session, and a panel discussion on machine translation and its effects on the translation industry. The meeting will end with the actual OGM, where JAT members will congregate to conduct necessary JAT business and welcome the incoming JAT Board. Mark your calendar now and check the JAT website for updates. Registration will begin in early April.

Save the date! IJET-29 will be return to Kansai in June 2018, with Osaka having been recently selected as the host city. Organizing Committee Co-Chairs Shinya Futagami and Julian Kitchen are recruiting talent for their organizing committee, and are already getting to work on planning the event. Exact dates will be announced soon.

In closing, I encourage you to consider paying your gains forward. If you’ve been helped or inspired by JAT, please, think about joining a JAT committee, helping to organize a future IJET, or writing an entry for JAT’s blog or next year’s anthology. Email me in English or Japanese ([email protected]) to volunteer or find out more. JAT needs your talent and energy!


Ben Tompkins


Japan Association of Translators