Source Language Versus Target Language Bias in Translation

This article by Dr. David Petersen originally appeared in the August 2008 issue of the Tsuyaku-Honyaku Journal. Reprinted with permission.

Aside from a few volunteer projects, my start in translation profession was with a private school in Hiroshima where I was employed as a teacher. The English department had taken on responsibility for a visiting author who was writing a novel about the atomic bombing. She had amassed a series of transcripts taken from interviews in Japanese with atomic bomb victims, and came to us looking for a clean English version. The project was to take 6 months. Although the department accepted the work, this was its first venture into translation, and there was no one available to deal with the task on a full-time basis. Knowing of my interest in becoming a translator, I was given a portion of the responsibility, and eventually the better part of the material ended up on my desk.

The opportunity was exciting and the material meaningful, but the pragmatics were daunting. The problem was the mismatch between my sterile textbook Japanese and text in front of me, with its fits and starts, colloquial grammar, incomplete sentences, and emotional tone. Under pressure for time and not wanting to embarrass the school, I ended up organizing a kind of team-translation situation with several of my Japanese study partners: I would read the transcripts for gist, and discuss with my mentors what I felt the speaker was trying to convey. They would correct my intuition, which tended to stray from the text particularly in the more idiomatic passages. I would then take my notes from these meetings, and through comparison with the original, arrive at an English equivalent at a later date. The structure of the product we ultimately delivered reflected the choice to focus on conveying the main ideas as clearly as possible in colloquial English, rather than preserving the structure of the transcripts. I think of this as target language-based translation because of the distance from the source text, particularly during the production of the final draft.

A full-time opportunity eventually opened up at one of the larger translation agencies in Hiroshima. Accepting this offer provided my first exposure to the work methods of professional translators, the start of a valuable and sometimes painful exposure to a completely different perspective on dealing with text. The key aspect of the approach was what I refer to as source language-based translation, because of the degree to which the terminology and rhythms of the final product were constrained by those of the original document. The conservative emphasis on preserving as much of the structure of the Japanese as possible in the final copy yielded work that, while not always aesthetically pleasing, could rarely be faulted for accuracy. It was a conservative style, reflecting years of dealing with customer expectations.

It became evident in discussion with the writers that source-based translation is closely associated with thinking in terms of mapping - the notion that there is always an equivalent in the target domain for a given word or phrase in the source language. Less convincing was the implication in office practices that such correlations should be considered invariant and largely unaffected by context. (Hofstadter takes a diametrically opposed position in discussing the need for evolutionary models if machine translation is ever to offer a realistic alternative to human expertise.)

In fact, company policy dictated that the same word in Japanese should be translated with the same choice of word in English regardless of how many times the phrase appeared in the same document. There is a good lot of repetition in Japanese, particularly in technical articles, and not surprisingly, following this rule inevitably produces materials that seemed stilted and lacking in authenticity. Yet more natural copy was dismissed as barabara (inconsistent) because of the violation of the mapping principle. In defense of the agency, assuring consistency was important given the nature of the material, which primarily consisted of patents, company standards and instruction manuals. As far as the customer was concerned, overuse of synonyms implied a nonexistent variance in the source text, something that could potentially mislead the reader. From their perspective, the artificial tone of the final product was a small price to pay for clarity.

Other aspects of the office organization also implicitly favored production of source language-biased copy. Each translated document was reviewed by at least one other person (usually Japanese) before delivery to the customer. Selection of more natural turns of phrase in English, and particularly the use of colloquialisms, increased the likelihood that the checker would be unfamiliar with the material and would thus flag the sentence for confirmation. The ensuing “hassle factor” was even worse in the case of client reviewers associated with certain companies, who could be counted on to reply with a list of detailed questions on word choice and syntax requiring an extensive explanation (in Japanese). The concomitant loss of time and stream of thought could be avoided by ensuring that the structure of the translation never strayed far from that of the original text.

Additionally, office promotion of computer-assisted translation (CAT) was wholly congruent with the focus on source language structure. As those familiar with TRADOS and other such products are aware, the software provides a database for comparison of previous translations both within and across documents. The active sentence is compared with all previous material. Anything judged sufficiently similar is recalled for the user, along with its corresponding translation. The previous work can typically be modified to suit the present case with only a substitution or two of nouns, thus speeding up the handling of documents considerably.

In gradually adapting to the way in which the software deconstructs the text, I found that my “conceptual space” was contracting from page or paragraph down to the level of the sentence, a factor which curtailed any temptation to read for gist and then paraphrase. It was difficult to build up elaborate explanations in the target language because of the constraint of providing approximately one English sentence per Japanese sentence. Working with CAT also tends to promote a kind of abstract thinking with respect to the material, focusing attention squarely on the syntax of the source language. Nouns take on a disposable quality thanks to the recycling of previous sentences, and the text becomes somehow less about content and more about form – primarily the abstract pattern of particles and verbs.

This I believe was responsible for what I see as the largest benefit of source language emphasis, i.e. the ability to adapt quickly when faced with technical materials in fields outside of one’s own areas of expertise. Learning to ignore the complexities of the placeholders in favor of the essential form - "A acting on B during C” for example, made it easier to visualize what the writer was attempting to convey, and to then fashion an equivalent in English.

The arrival of a new recruit provided an opportunity to examine the question of source/target emphasis anew from a more objective perspective. This person's background included no use of CAT: their process involved an initial reading for meaning, followed by an intuitive translation guided by the principle that the finished product must sound as if it had been produced originally by a native English speaker. The approach was hardly radical, but quickly led to friction with the other staff.

Fidelity to content for example was frequently an issue. Particularly in business Japanese, there are long stretches of prose tied to levels of politeness not normally utilized in English correspondence. If it is difficult to find an equivalent image or tone, there is a tendency to abbreviate, a habit which can betray the tone of the original if not used sparingly. In fact, the new recruit’s “authentic sounding document” rule was gradually augmented by a concomitant and less commendable rule of thumb – i.e. “if in doubt, leave it out.” Use of the latter heuristic was further reinforced by inevitable time constraints arising from stylistic concerns.

Target language emphasis was also problematic given the diversity of source materials. While a translator must of necessity be committed to continuous study, the ideal of operating only within one’s field of expertise is rarely an economically viable option. During the course of a typical day at the agency, it was not unusual to be faced with a private letter, a financial statement, specifications for semiconductor production, and an overview of the municipal water supply, all in quick succession. In this kind of triage situation, stylistic concerns become less important than providing as accurate and unambiguous a text as possible in the time available. This means keeping a close eye on the syntax of the original, and assuming that the result will make sense in the specialist context in which is it will be read. My peer’s commendable attempts to match the writing to each field in question meant being constantly under the gun as far as deadlines were concerned.

My circumstances have changed, and I have returned to working a more manageable schedule. Reflecting back the experience at the agency, I am left with a sense of the importance of balance. The policy of source-based translation was a pragmatic one, intended to maximize the throughput of material and hence profits. The results were often stilted, and there was certainly no comparison with the stylistic quality of my peer’s work. Yet there are times, particularly in unfamiliar fields, where the best assurance of correct interpretation is to internalize the grammar of the original and to give it precedence in the writing. In fact, I find myself now using computer assisted translation even with literary texts in which there is no chance of repetition. The reason is that focusing on the level of the line and its syntax helps to structure intuition. Staying close to the grammar of the original provides cohesion, thereby grounding the aesthetic choices that constitute the creative process in which we are all involved.


Tomokazu Gushikami - 25 October 2008 TAC


JAT Board Face-to-Face Meeting Minutes, Fall 2008

JAT Board Face-to-Face Meeting Minutes
October 24, 2008, 1:30pm to 7:00pm
27th floor of the Horizon Mare building in Ariake, Tokyo

Chair: Manako Ihaya (MI)
Directors in attendance: Chris Blakeslee (CB), Manako Ihaya, Jamie Phillips (JP), Phil Robertson (PR), Mike Sekine (MS), Nora Stevens Heath (NSH), Jed Schmidt (JS)
Auditors in attendance: Wolfgang Bechstein (WB), Kiyoshi Chimasu (KC)
Directors represented by proxy: N/A
Minutes kept by Jed Schmidt

IJET19 wrap-up

WB: IJET committee needs to release financial statement, summary of attendance stats.
MS: Committee misinterpreted JAT loan of 1,000,000 yen as a grant, but ended up 920,000 yen in debt. Will have financial report done by end of 11/2008.

IJET20 status report

PR: Led by Michael Hendry, IJET20 is now four months away, aiming for 100+ attendees. Committee will not need more seed funding from JAT. Smaller fees from PayPal mean commissions will be less than expected. Some worries about repaying JAT loan due to falling AUS$, and that hotel is less than efficient. Details here: [link]

IJET21 status report

PR: Will be held on 4/24-25 at Miyazaki Kanko Hotel in Miyazaki. Participants estimated up to 120, with the theme of “Improving the quality of the translator’s life and strengthening translation abilities”. Details here: [link]

IJET22 status report

MI: Preliminarily considering Seattle or LA as venues, currently recruiting potential hosts.

Project Tokyo update

PR: Chaired by Ben Davis, will be held at Tokyo Convention Hall in Hamamatsu-cho. Program is already filled, with many non-members and people from outside of Kanto signing up. Themes include “Translation as a business” and “Starting out as a translator”, attendance currently at 80. Significant promotion activity, both online and offline. Worries about reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses for volunteers outside of Tokyo. Details here: [link]


NSH: New members in Q3: +10, +8, and +3 in July, August, September ‘08, respectively. PayPal growing in usage over furikomi, with less friction after last year’s automation. Most non-renewing members leave because they are no longer translators. Domestic/Overseas split steady at 67% / 33%. Nora is on last term as membership secretary, looking for a smooth handover.

JP: JAT needs to know the real names of its members, to avoid situations in which JAT is responsible for unmemberly behavior, such as libel and business fraud. Manako proposed to add the following to the sign-up form. The motion was passed unanimously:

Manako Ihaya proposes the following changes in membership signup wording:
Japan Association of Translators requires members to sign up with their legal name and full address.

Full Name (English)
Full Name (Japanese)

Displayed full name (English) (optional, this can be used as a pen name)
Displayed full name (Japanese) (optional, this can be used as a pen name)

Mike Sekine suggested that the board add a disclaimer such as the following to the membership application: “By submitting this form I agree that JAT shall not be held liable for damages resulting from any actions or opinions expressed by its members.”


JS: The JAT site renewal has started again, and the new site could be ready as early as the end of the year. The site will be largely the same, but on one framework, integrating the member directory and content into a single site, running on Expression Engine. Archives will also be added, with older archives added later. Jed is also considering using his possible upcoming candidacy as a referendum on moving jat-list to a web-based forum.

JAT contest

MS: We got 82 entries (36 J>E, 46 E>J) this year, and they’ve already been pre-screened. They are currently waiting to be judged.
MI: With 480,000 yen budgeted for screeners and judges for 82 entries, does the budget make sense? Screener payment is an issue: is it enough or too much?


CB: JAT has seen more red ink in the past term than any other recent year, but only because we’ve finally managed to allocate our budget towards things that matter, and also that the past few IJETs have run a loss (possibly as a function of being held in more remote locations). JAT still has quite a cushion of funds that are collecting minimal interest, prompting some to wonder whether it should be invested elsewhere.

AGM / Board elections

Jed proposed that III (3) 2 be changed to: Each member shall be able to vote “Yea”, “Nay”, or “Abstain” for each director or auditor. Passed: 6 for, 1 abstain.

MI: Need to put together an election committee in time to get candidate statements by late March.
WB: The full election results should be published for the sake of transparency.
MI: Do the bylaws need to be changed to accommodate JAT members that want to run for the board, but let their membership lapse and do not meet the one-year requirement? Board decided on “No” for the time being.

Public relations

MS: Activities over the past year will be summarized at the AGM, as well as the TAC meeting tomorrow.
MI: Should JAT submit to present at ATA in New York next year? MS: JAT should consider hosting a party there, to drum up new possible member.

The Board decided that JAT would pay for the nijikai cost for the speaker at the October Tokyo TAC meeting.


Toshie Yashiro - 20 September 2008 TAC


通訳翻訳ジャーナル 2008秋


Past Videos and Audio

PROJECT Tokyo 2010 Videos
September 11, 2010
Common Password: malplaquet

1. Emily Shibata-Sato
2. Tak Osato
3. Richard Walker
Taming the Dragon: A Practical Guide to Voice Recognition and Translator Productivity
4. An Youhee
5. Joji Matsuo
6. Charles Aschmann
What to Look for in Translation Memory Software
[VIDEO] Part 1
[VIDEO] Part 2
[VIDEO] Part 3
7. ディニー・ユウノ
[VIDEO] Part 1
[VIDEO] Part 2
8. Ryan Ginstrom
Felix Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) System
[VIDEO] Part 1
[VIDEO] Part 2


J-E Translation of IR Materials
Jeff Loucks
April 12, 2008 (IJET-19)
Password: jeffloucks

Interpreting Performance
Sophie Natsusato, Katie Watanabe, Jolie Kawazoe, Manako Ihaya
July 12, 2008
Password: interpret0712

What Translators Should Know About Internationalization & Localization
Chris Pearce
July 5, 2008 (JAT Kansai Meeting)
Password: pearce0705

July 5, 2008 (JAT Kansai Meeting)
Password: fujimura0705

Healthcare Interpreting
Dr. Takayuki Oshimi
June 21, 2008
Password: oshimi0621

Introducing Langwidget
Jed Schmidt
April 12, 2008 (IJET-19)
Password: ijet19schmidt
(If you want a deeper and more up-to-date look at Langwidget, check out this online product tour, courtesy of none other than Jed Schmidt himself: [AUDIO]
Password: ijet19araki

Translation Workshop
Fred Uleman
April 13, 2008 (IJET-19)
Password: freduleman

Post-IJET19 Meeting
Mayumi Toyota, Phil Robertson, Toby Rushbrook, Yukihiro Sato, and Ben Davis
May 17, 2008
Password: ijet19

April 12, 2008 (IJET-19)
Password: ijet19hirata

April 12, 2008 (IJET-19)
Password: ijet19takeda

April 13, 2008 (IJET-19)
Password: tomiiatsushi

Raising Productivity with Speech Recognition
Chris Blakeslee
April 12, 2008 (IJET-19)
Password: chrisblakeslee

Tezuka Osamu, Astro Boy, and the Roots of Modern Manga and Anime
Frederick Schodt
March 22, 2008
Password: schodt080322

Japanese/English Business Correspondence & Pre-IJET Networking
Moderators: Lisa Hew and Kiyoko Sagane
March 15, 2008
Password: saganehew0315

Fun and Useful Productivity Tips and Tools
Andrew Shuttleworth
January 26, 2008
Password: shuttleworth0126

Patent Translation Workshop
Yusaku Yai
February 26, 2008
Password: yai0216

Literary Translation
Juliet Carpenter
December 8, 2007
Password: carpenter1208

Taxation Seminar
Masaru Sato (JAT accountant)
November 10, 2007
Password: sato1110


5th Contest JE


5th Contest EJ


IJET19 Recap: J-E Translation of IR Materials by Jeff Loucks

For the next in our release of full videos of several presentations from IJET-19, we're pleased to continue the series with the following presentation from Jeff Loucks:

Title: J-E Translation of IR Materials
Speaker: Jeff Loucks

This presentation looks at how listed Japanese companies communicate with overseas investors in English and shows how an aspiring J-E translator can enter the investor relations field. We will look at a typical annual schedule of investor communications, focusing on what publications are provided in English and why. Finally, the presentation will describe some useful translator skills and background characteristics and look at ways of developing these skills.


(Note that these videos are available for members only. The password required to view the videos can be found on the JAT mailing list.)


ILC Special Day



通訳翻訳ジャーナル 2008秋

日本翻訳者協会と通訳翻訳ジャーナルの「~英語翻訳のプロたちが綴る~後進への招待状」連載企画ですが、2008年秋号(本日発売)にはDavid Petersenさんが「Source Language Versus Target Language Bias in Translation」という記事を寄稿しました。




そして10年後 アポロ、パソコン、インターネット…Googleへ

This article by 佐藤綾子(Emily Shibata-Sato) originally appeared in the May 2008 issue of the Tsuyaku-Honyaku Journal. Reprinted with permission.

約10年前の1999年、本誌の「Translation World」シリーズで「人生の転機はアポロ、パソコン、インターネット」と題して次のような内容のエッセイを書かせて頂きました。






Google という言葉が前述のHonyakuに初めて登場したのは、99年1月19日、”Yakkers [=Honyaku subscriber] in search of authenticity may like to check out a new search engine: “ という書き込みです。 同年9月7日には ““It's[Google is] more up to date than AltaVista, and if you search for two terms, it gives you context for both.” とあります。当時の検索エンジンでは1つの単語からしか検索できないのが普通でした。さらに12月2日には、「”my apology” と “my apologies”のちがいは? 」という議論が続くなか、「Google検索したら、前者が2,859件、後者が3,538件ヒットした」と報告されていました。今ためしに両方をGoogle検索=「ググって」みましたら、それぞれ約59万件と410万件ヒットしました。いったい情報は何倍に「爆発」したのでしょうか。

上記3件のメールは、1995年以降のメール約22万件が保存されており、今も更新され続けているHonyaku Archiveから発掘しました。


私は、2004年からJAT新人翻訳者コンテストに関わっており、最近の第4回コンテストでは審査員の一人を務めました。今回、審査にあたって一番感じたのは、せっかくGoogleという便利な道具があるのだから、応募者はもう少し背景情報を調べたり、自分の訳文をチェックしたりすればよかったのに、ということです。英日部門の課題文 ”Protect The Merger Or Sale Value Of Your Business: What You Can Learn From The DaimlerChrysler Debacle” (約900 words)から2つ例を挙げます。

原文1 When Daimler purchased Chrysler, Chrysler was having record revenues of 61 billion dollars and net earnings of 2.8 billion dollars.
訳文1-1 ダイムラーがクライスラーを購入した時、クライスラーは610億ドルという記録的な売上高と28億ドルという純利益を打ち出していた。

この訳文には2つ問題があります。第1は「購入」です。DaimlerやChryslerが何だかわからなくても、Googleで 「Daimler Chrysler」、あるいはカタカナの「ダイムラー  クライスラー 」のキーワードでググれば、両社のオフィシャルサイトやWikipediaが上位に表示されます。それらを読んだり、さらにリンクをたどっていったりすれば、これが企業「買収」をめぐる話であるとわかります。

第2は「・・・純利益を打ち出していた」です。このような言い方はあるのだろうかと疑問に思ったら、” 純利益を打ち出していた” と検索語句の前後にダブルクォーテーション(””)をつけてググると、検索語句をそのままの形で含むページを検索できます。検索した結果、この表現は見当たりませんでした(ただしその後、JATのウェブサイトに訳文を掲載したため、今はそれがヒットします)。
訳文1-2 ダイムラーがクライスラーを買収した時期は、クライスラーが売上高610億ドル・純利益28億ドルという記録的な数字を達成していた時期だった。

原文2 Exciting new product lines were eagerly accepted by the market.
訳文2-1 新たな生産品目の積極的な導入を、市場は熱狂をもって受け入れた。
訳文2-2 消費者の興味をそそる新たな製品ラインは購買層の熱烈な歓迎を受けていた。
訳文2-3 斬新な新型車のラインナップは熱狂的にマーケットに受け入れられ、

この文脈での「熱狂」や「熱烈」は、対象がアイドルではないのでちょっと大げさかなという気がしました。では他にどのような言い方ができるでしょうか。表現のバリエーションをGoogleで調べるには、ワイルドカードとしてアスタリク(*) を使います。たとえば ”市場*受け入れられ”などと言葉を組み合わせてググり、検索結果を見ていけば「”eagerly accepted”の意味は、わざわざ”熱烈・熱狂”を加えなくても、“歓迎した・された”に近いかな?」などと判断できます。

2つの検索ワザ” ”と*は、日英翻訳の際にもフル活用できます。その他のGoogle活用術については本誌でもよく特集されていると思いますし、JAT会員の安藤進さんによる「翻訳に役立つ Google表現検索テクニック」(丸善出版事業部、2007)もぜひご覧ください。




JATの設立20周年を記念し、優秀な新人実務翻訳者の発掘と奨励を目的として2004年に始められたコンテストです。応募資格は実務翻訳(放送・映像翻訳も含む)経験3年未満の方で、JAT会員・非会員は問いません。年1回開催され、部門は日英翻訳部門と英日翻訳部門、応募料は無料です。両部門の第1位受賞者は、世界の英日・日英翻訳者が集まって研究発表を行なう国際会議 (IJET:に招待されます。詳しくは をご覧ください。すでにこのコンテストからプロデビューを果たした方々もおられます。


佐藤綾子(Emily Shibata-Sato)


Interpreting Performance - 12 July 08 TAC


Thoughts and tips on becoming a patent translator ~特許翻訳への道 成功するために~

This article by James Phillips originally appeared in the February 2008 issue of the Tsuyaku-Honyaku Journal. Reprinted with permission.

People that are considering a career in patent translation often seem to have exactly the same questions. In this article I will attempt to answer those questions, give some hints as to how you can study for free, and give some useful advice regarding how to get work once qualified.

The following is a list of questions I am asked most often.

1) Is there a demand for patent translators?
2) Do you think I would make a good patent translator?
3) What is the best way to become a patent translator?
4) Can I really study for free?
5) Should I work in-house, or freelance?
6) How can I get freelance work?

1. Is there a demand for patent translators?

This question is easy to answer. Yes, there is always a demand for GOOD patent translators. A good translator will usually have the following:

a) An excellent understanding of the source and target languages.
b) A detailed knowledge of the subject being translated.
c) Specialist knowledge relating to how to translate patent specifications.
d) A meticulous approach with regards to quality and deadlines.

If you already have a) and b) then you have an excellent chance of achieving your objectives as c) and d) can be picked up with relative ease (at least compared to a) and b)!). Having a specialist subject that you know inside-out is an enormous advantage. It will make the task of translating much more straightforward and it will also be much easier to sell yourself as a translator. The translation work itself will also be more interesting for you because if you have an in-depth knowledge of the subject it is probably something you like (hopefully!). If you do not have any kind of specialization then it will be more difficult to sell yourself to potential customers and the fees you can command are likely to be lower than a specialist. However, if there is a subject you have a strong interest in that you feel you can pick-up with relative ease, then maybe it will be possible to turn that subject into your specialization.

2. Do you think I would make a good patent translator?

All good translators have one thing in common: a willingness to ask questions and to never stop learning. If you have a willingness to learn and preferably some kind of specialist subject then there is every chance that you will be able to become a successful patent translator. You should be aware though that this will require a relatively sustained amount of effort over a reasonable period of time. Like most skills worth having, it is not the kind of skill you can pick up overnight.

3. What is the best way to become a patent translator?

I obviously have a vested interest in this subject as I provide courses in patent translation via my site at and there is a bewildering array of courses offered by a wide range of translation schools. However, such courses will often serve merely as a springboard for entry into the business, but what approach should then be taken to gaining the right kind of experience that will help you to become a high-quality patent translator? The most common route is to join a patent office or the patent department of a company as a junior translator. When choosing such a job, take care to be sure that you will be tutored in an effective manner by the staff of the company. The level of expertise offered by a patent office or company patent department will often be higher than that offered by a translation agency but you may find that entry is more difficult as a result so a translation agency may also be considered. If, for example, you have already had a career spanning a number of years as an engineer, you may find that you can skip this step altogether and go straight to being a freelancer by making use of your specialty.

4. Can I really study for free?

Yes, self-training is possible to a certain extent. The big advantage with the Internet is that it provides a wealth of information that can be harvested for the purposes of study. For example, it is possible to search the USPTO for a US patent that has a corresponding Japanese patent and then search the JPO for the equivalent Japanese patent. This will often yield two almost identical documents that can then be used for the purposes of studying. You can also get documents in the exact field you wish to study by searching in a manner corresponding to this field. Detailed instructions of how to do this are provided on the site. We also run free online patent translation workshops on the horsefrog site once a month where you can have a short translation evaluated for free and we provide free translator level evaluations. Free glossaries and a forum are also provided. The JPO, USPTO, and WIPO sites themselves are also excellent free sources of information regarding patents and how they should be written.

One suggestion I would have if you are studying by yourself though is to be very careful not to study simply by memorizing sentences. A much better approach is to read the document you are intending to translate very carefully, gain a full understanding of the invention first, then translate the document in the manner that you yourself would actually have written the document had you actually been the author. Finally, compare your translation to the actual original document. This will give your translations a much more natural feeling than attempting to translate a document word for word. Joining a translation organization such as JTF or JAT will also enable you to share your experiences with others in the same situation and pick up a great deal of useful information that would otherwise be extremely difficult to acquire. The more enthusiastic amongst you may consider attending the upcoming IJET-19 conference to be held at a beautiful location in Okinawa on April 12th/13th. This will be a particularly valuable opportunity for those new to translation to pick up lots of useful information and will include several presentations on the subject of patent translation.

5. Should I work in-house, or freelance?

This really very much depends on the kind of person you are. If you are a social person that likes to be around other people all the time then you are probably more suited to working in-house. If, on the other hand, you put great value on independence, would love the freedom to make your own schedule as you please and don’t at all mind being by yourself a lot, then freelancing may well seem like heaven to you.

6. How can I get freelance work once I feel I am ready to become a patent translator?

There are many ways to get work once you feel you are equipped to complete the work effectively. There is, of course, the traditional approach of applying for jobs through the various media. However, a more proactive approach is likely to meet with much more success. For example, make a list of the companies that you would most like to work for (companies that most closely match your field of specialty, for example). Then find some material by the company of your choice (for example, a short section of a patent belonging to that company). Translate the material and send it to the company concerned, together with a letter explaining who you are, what you do, and why you would like to work for that particular company. This approach is much more likely to meet with success and is widely considered by people in the translation business to be the most effective. It naturally involves more effort than the more traditional approaches, but the company can see the quality of your work immediately and is likely to be more interested in somebody who has shown such an obvious interest in their company rather than somebody who has simply sent hundreds of general-looking resumes to lots of different companies.

I hope you have found the content of this article of use. If you have any further questions please feel free to either post them on the horsefrog site or send them to me directly at [email protected]. I always go to great lengths to answer any questions I receive as soon as possible. In the meantime, good luck to anybody who is considering becoming a patent translator. Maybe I will see you in sunny Okinawa!








  • 主催: 特定非営利活動法人 日本翻訳者協会(JAT)
  • 目的: 優秀な新人実務翻訳者の発掘と奨励
  • 応募資格: 実務翻訳(放送・映像翻訳も含む)経験3年未満の方(JAT会員・非会員は問いません。過去のコンテストに応募した方も入賞者以外は応募可とします。)
  • 応募部門: 日英翻訳部門、英日翻訳部門
  • 応募料: なし
  • 各賞:
    第1位   日英・英日の各部門1名
    第2位   日英・英日の各部門1名


  • 英日部門: 佐藤綾子、石原ゆかり、千桝靖
  • 日英部門: マルコム・ジェームス、ケン・ワグナー、リー・シーマン


  • 2008年9月1日 JATウェブサイトに日英・英日両部門の課題文を掲載
  • 2008年9月28日 24:00(日本時間) 訳文提出締切 
  • 2008年11月23日 最終候補作5件をウェブサイトで発表
  • 2008年12月25日 JATウェブサイトにて受賞者の発表(受賞者には直接連絡)
  • 2009年2月14日 受賞者をIJET-20に招待






JAT新人翻訳コンテスト 応募フォーム

  • 応募者は、上記の応募フォームを記入し、訳文を添付して送信してください。ファイル形式はMS Wordファイルまたはテキストファイルのみとします。
  • 訳文ファイルには応募者の名前やコメントなどを書かないでください(つまり訳文のみ)。
  • 訳文のファイル名は次のようにしてください(ファイル名は必ず半角英数で記入してください)。

CONTEST J your name (例: CONTEST J Roger Federer)

  • 提出後、こちらから確認のためのメールを返送します。hotmail などの無料のWebメール(フリーメール)をお使いの場合、メールが届かないことがありますのでご注意ください(迷惑メールフォルダをご確認ください)。
  • 応募はお一人1部門につき1回に限ります(応募期間中、一人で2回以上応募することは認められません)。


  • 提出された翻訳文はJATの所有となり、応募者には返却されません。
  • 翻訳文の著作権はすべて主催者であるJATに帰属します。

  • JATは、受賞者の名前、受賞対象の翻訳文、写真や画像、参考情報をJATのウェブサイト、メーリングリスト、電子・印刷出版物等に掲載するすべての権利を有します。


  • 出題者の作成する審査基準に則って、審査会が第一次審査、第二次審査と最終審査を行います。最終審査に残った5件の候補作については、2008年11月23日にID番号と訳文がJATウェブサイトで公開されます。
  • 審査員の決定は最終的なものとします。結果についての問い合わせや異議申し立てはできませんので、あらかじめご了承ください。



  • 居住地からIJET開催地までの往復航空券(エコノミークラス、最短ルート)
  • 鉄道運賃(グリーン車、一等車、寝台車は除く)

  • 自家用車を使用する場合は、移動に要したガソリン代および駐車料金
  • IJETの開催地またはその最寄りのホテルの宿泊代(3泊分、スタンダードルーム)

  • 支払いのためには領収書が必要となります。
  • 詳細については、受賞者と個別に相談の上、決定します。



  • 申請不備(応募フォームの記入事項もれ、ファイルの名称が間違っているなど)
  • 提出期限後の提出

  • 他人の名前によって応募した、または応募者以外の人が翻訳したことが判明した場合
  • 記載事項に虚偽の記入をした場合、またその他の不正があった場合

お問い合わせは [email protected] にお願いします。


通訳パフォーマンス_レクチャー原稿_Short Version






日通訳パフォーマンス_レクチャー原稿_Complete Version