The cold, dark nights of winter have passed, and spring is upon us. And that means ... JAT Elections!
The JAT Election Committee is pleased to invite upstanding persons to run for either Director or Auditor. Do you have ideas of how JAT can be improved? Do you have a desire to help your fellow translator? Well then...
This year there are FOUR director positions and TWO auditor positions open (all carrying two-year terms). To qualify as a JAT director or auditor candidate, you must have been a member of JAT for a period of no less than one year as of March 20, 2008.
Period for candidate submissions: 3/1-3/20
Announcement of candidates: 3/21-4/4
Voting period: 4/5-4/26
Candidates must submit a candidacy statement to the Election Committee by midnight, March 20, 2008 (JST). Statements of candidacy should be no longer than 300 words in English or 600 characters in Japanese, and must include the candidate's full name, gender, nationality, address of current residence, home telephone number, and e-mail address.
And so, my fellow translators, ask not what JAT can do for you, but what you can do for JAT!! Send your statement to the Election Committee at [email protected]
翻訳者がきちんとした背景調査を行ったかどうかは、例えば、”merger of equals”を「対等合併」として訳せているか、”Chrysler”を何と訳しているかどうかである程度伺える。前者については、最終審査に残った6人中5人が訳せていることは良い。後者については、In the heat of summer 1997, Daimler Benz purchased Chrysler for 37 billion dollars in a reported business merger of equals. Now, not quite 10 years later DaimlerChrysler is selling Chrysler for a reported 7.4 billion dollars for 80% of the firm.の文章をみてみると、最初のChryslerと2番目のChryslerをまったく区別せず両方とも「クライスラー」とした応募者が2名、2番目のクライスラーを「クライスラー株」とした応募者が2名、2番目のChryslerを「クライスラー部門」と訳せていた応募者は2名のみであった。今回の課題文は、専門家向けのビジネス文書ではないが、事実を正確に記す慎重さが求められる。
読解力では、例えばIf the loss of 30 billion dollars in business value is not bad enough apparently the entire purchase price being paid by the buyer Cerberus will be placed into Chrysler and not retained by Daimler.の前半は、筆者の皮肉が含まれていることを感じ取らなければならないが、これをまったく文字通り訳してしまった応募者が2名いた。また、 Don't wait until even the "business challenged" can tell you must sell.の訳については、文意をまったく理解できていない応募者が3名、残りの3名は文意はまあまあ理解できているが、括弧をつける場所を間違えていたり、精度に欠けていた。ちなみに "business challenged" とは、｢経営に無知な人間／疎い人間｣といった意味である。また、In the name of efficiency Daimler didn't let Chrysler keep dancing the dance that got it to the ball.の訳についても苦労の跡が見られたが、ここは｢舞踏会｣などという表現を使うようでは不合格。この文章以前の情報からわかるように、クライスラー社がデザイン力で成功していたにもかかわらず、ダイムラー社はそのデザイン力を発揮させるチャンスを与えなかったという文意が読み取れなくてはならない。
日本語力という点では、Exciting new product lines were eagerly accepted by the market. の訳について全員が苦労していたようであるが、このような文章の場合、「熱烈な歓迎」「熱狂的に受け入れられた」などのドラマチックな表現は不自然である。「圧倒的な人気／支持」などと表現を工夫できるようになりたい。また、「Exciting new product lines」についても、冗長な表現が多く見られた。
さて、課題文に「ビジネス」ものが登場したのは今回が初めてです。普段、日経新聞やビジネス・業界誌（紙）、あるいはビジネス関係のサイトやブログなどをあまり読んでいない方にはとっつきにくかったかもしれません。”Purchase” を”購入”（21番）に、あるいは”privately held business”を「私有企業」（29番）（「私有企業」は「国有企業」との対比で中国関連の文章に登場することが多い）としたのは、慣れていなかった例でしょう。まずはGoogleで検索したり（クライスラー、ダイムラー、サーベラスの3つの単語で検索するだけで、「買収」に関する記事などが数千件みつかります）、雑誌や新聞記事を探したりして、少なくとも数十ページ分をまず読み、雰囲気をつかまれることをお勧めします。
”When Daimler purchased Chrysler a new design center had been completed allowing Chrysler to bring cars on the market in three years or less./ ＜その２パラグラフ後に出てくる＞What happened to the design studio again? ” ここでは最初の a new design centerと次の the design studioが、同じものを指していると訳文からすぐわかるか？をみました。21番（デザインセンター・再び気になるのはデザインセンター）と61番（新しいデザイン拠点 / 先ほどのデザイン拠点）が訳語を統一させていましたが、他の方々は、24番（設計センター・設計所）、29番（デザイン・センター/ デザインスタジオ）、35番（新デザインセンター/前述のデザインスタジオ）、38番（設計センター/ 設計部門）と表現が異なっていました。英語では最初が“…a design center” 次が “…the design studio again”と theがつくので同じものだとすぐわかりますが、“center“ と“studio“を直訳すると「あれ、これって何だっけ？」と前を読み返すために、読者が数秒ロスしてしまう可能性があります（ただし、自動車業界の人ならばすぐわかるかもしれません）。正確さや厳密さが要求される学術文書や法律文書ではありませんので、なるべくさらっと読める工夫が必要だと思います。
もう１点は ５パラブラフ目に登場する “affordable car style”で、訳文から「値段が安い・予算内」だとすぐわかるかどうかです。「手頃な」だけですと、日本語では「手頃なサイズ（大きさ）」などの言い方もありますので、ちょっと迷ってしまいます。
21番は最初、私にとっての１位候補でした。"business challenged," “the ‘crossover’ or mix of SUV and Minivan”などで意味を取り違えたところや、ビジネス文書に慣れていないとすぐに分かる表現はあったものの、日本語としてとてもおかしな表現は見当たらなかったからです。しかし、全体的にみると、訳文が冗長で（一番短い人より400字程度多い）読みにくかったのが減点対象となりました。たとえば最初の文章「ダイムラー・ベンツが370億ドルでクライスラーを買収し、対等合併を行うことが報じられたのは1997年の真夏のことだった」では、１つの文章に「こと」を2回使わないようにする等、訳文を引き締める工夫を重ねればよいかと思います。
24番は、最初に引用した”purchase/購入”がこの分野に慣れていないと察せられる一例でしたが、不自然な文章の流れ（「…価格設定で重要となる。上昇サイクルで…」）、おかしな日本語表現（「活気に満ちた新製品ライン」、「成長する計画もなければ」、「報道が街に流れた時」、「有能な社員は大切な商売道具である」）も減点対象となりました。“Chrysler was a low cost provider”のところはよく解釈できていました。今後は、英語だけではなく、日本語の文章もたくさん読まれることをお奨めします。「言葉の誤用（誤用にご用心）」http://starscafe.net/kotoba/misuse/ などというサイトも役立つかもしれません。
29番は、“Now, in 2007, Chrysler has revenues of 62 billion dollars … with no projected growth and no current cash flow for financing.”の“cash flow for financing” の意味をうまくつかめていない人が多かったなかで、「資金調達のためのキャッシュ・フローもない」と訳せたのはよかったと思いますし、 “business challenged” も解釈できていました。しかし”In a merger originally billed as a marriage of equals…” の「当初は対等な連合と宣伝された統合」など不自然な表現や、”Compare that to the current industry weakness…” の「この状況を現在の業界の弱点と…報告を伴う弱点だ」というぎこちない訳などが減点対象となりました。
35番は、「意訳」コンテストでしたら1位となる可能性もありましたが、あくまでも、解釈をなるべく加えず、意訳もなるべくせず、それでもなおわかりやすく訳出するのが目的の「翻訳」コンテストでしたので、何か所か減点対象となりました。最初見落としたのですが（他の審査員の方から指摘されて気がつきました）、ドルを「円」としてしまったところもありました。あと日本語表現ではがんばったものの、原文の意味が取れていないところがかなり多かったです。”Jeep was very close to the Marlboro Man in American mystique”を「ジープはかのマルボロマンの車」としたのは、情景が目に浮かんでくるようではありますが、バツです。（ちなみに”Jeep”と “Marlboro”で画像検索をしたところ、なぜかMickey Rourke とDon Johnson主演のアクション映画”Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man” のポスターが出てきました）。
そして結局61番が１位となったわけですが、一番悩んだのは、「過剰整備（「設備」だと思われる）」、「医療や退職費用負担よる（「による」だと思われる）、「お手頃な車という座も失ってしまったのです（ここだけ「ですます」調になっている。また”affordable”も訳し足りていない）」などの、誤字・脱字・チェックし忘れをどの程度減点するかでした。また”in a reported business merger of equals”（「対等合併」と称して）、”Daimler, in 2007, finally brought out a Hummer competitor…“（ダイムラーが、ハマーを競合としてようやく意識し始めたのは…）など、かなりの減点対象となるところもありました。結局、プラス点とマイナス点を総合的に判断し、紙一重で１位としました。
21番は、「余裕のなさは買い叩かれるもと」、「才能は事業の要、流出させることなかれ」など、個人的には気に入った表現もあったものの、文脈に即していない用語選択や「カバー可能」など、口語的と思われる表現がありました。「スタイリッシュ」という外来語は日本語として定着しているか、「アメリカの伝説」とはどういう意味なのか、など、もう少し突き詰めて考えてみてください。「Daimler didn't let Chrysler keep dancing the dance that got it to the ball」を「ダイムラーはクライスラーがヒットを産み出して来た従来のやり方を継続させようとしなかった」と訳し、意味はとらえているものの、「ヒットを産み出して来た」の部分が「超訳」となっている点に気をつけてください。残念なのは、文章が冗長的で読みづらいため、稚拙な印象を与えている点です。自分で声を出して読んでみる、人に読んでもらって聞くなどして文章を洗練させると、「英文和訳」から「翻訳」に脱皮できることでしょう。
35番は、文章がかなりこなれており、工夫して訳していると感じましたが、意訳が多く、原文にない補足もいくつか見られ、審査中、何度も原文に戻って確認する必要がありました。「…is not bad enough…」の構文を変えて「～最悪の自体に見舞われることになる」と「超訳」されていますが、素直に原文どおりの構文で訳しても良いのではないでしょうか。「アメリカの三大自動車メーカー（ゼネラル・モーターズ、フォードモーター、クライスラー）」に見られるような補足も、親切心からなのかもしれませんが、この文章の読者層は一般ビジネスマンなので不要でしょう。むしろ「ジープはかのマルボロマンの車」の部分の方が、今日の日本の読者間で一般的な知識であるか疑問なので（グーグル検索でもヒットは少ないですね）、あえて補足をするならここではないでしょうか。「人材の実力を発揮させることなく」、「トレンドから距離を置いた」などは誤訳と判断しました。「28億円」の単位間違えや「2006年まで」の部分で「three years prior to」が抜けている (意図的?) などのミスも残念です。
After much deliberation, the judges awarded prizes as follows:
First place: No. 62, Monica Farrell
Second place: No. 33, Sarah Bull
Many thanks to everyone who applied. Choosing the winners was a difficult task, given the number of entries and their level. I observed the judges' deliberations via e-mail, and they they took their responsibilities very seriously. Even if you didn't win, I hope you found the contest to be a challenging and worthwhile exercise, and I hope that some of you will try again next year.
Commentaries from the Judges
The stated purpose of the contest is "to cultivate new talent in commercial non-literary translation." In judging, I was trying to find the person with the most talent to become a top commercial translator, not the person who produced the best translation at this stage. Simple misinterpretations are likely to disappear with experience, so I regard them as less of a problem than if this were an actual commercial translation. I'm much less willing, however, to be lenient on translators who submit a translation that doesn't seem to have got a final read-through, or who produce a translation that doesn't seem to have considered the document's context and purpose.
The passage for translation is part of a page giving plain language summaries of chapters of a government report. The Japanese is easy to read, well-structured, and quite accessible. I'd like to think the English could be, too. However, there are some paragraph-length sentences gave the translators problems.
Three of the finalists wrote their translations from a different time perspective from the genko, which was dated December 2001. Two of the finalists translated "要約" in the title as "abstract," but that’s not really appropriate for a chapter summary. Both of those errors could have been avoided by simply taking the URL at the top of the passage, looking at the full page on the Internet, and thinking more about the context of the part being translated. The "効果" in the title was also problematic. Four of the finalists used "effects," but two used "effectiveness," which seems a better fit with the rest of the passage. It's always a good idea to go back and do a reality check on the title when you reach the end of a passage.
Specific points for #33
I liked No. 33's translation for its clear writing, which makes it easy to understand. Examples include "the new curriculum guidelines to be fully implemented from the 2002 school year," and the treatment of Paragraph 3 (see comments on No. 62). However, there are places where this goes too far, sacrificing accuracy for readability. For example, "immediately after warning labels are introduced people remember their contents, but ... the percentage of people who still remember the contents after a month decreases" reads well, but the "still" shifts the emphasis and increases the risk of misinterpreting this phrase to refer to recollection after an interval of one month instead of recollection after a month of continual exposure. Contrast this with "consumers could recall the contents of a warning label immediately after its introduction, but one month after the introduction that percentage dropped." (No.64) There are also comprehension errors, as seen in "noticing the social factors that trigger smoking" and "in order to expand economic activity beyond the borders of multinational corporations."
No. 33's natural writing style is an excellent basis for translation, and I expect him/her to become a very good translator as experience brings greater comprehension of the Japanese.
Specific points for #39
No.39 was generally good, and read well, but suffered from grammar and logic problems in the English. Look at Paragraph 3: "Another study shows the correlation between increases in price and its affect on consumption. Raising the price of tobacco products exceeding the rate of inflation and growth in average income leads to a decrease in tobacco consumption, particularly among minors and lower income groups." The translation is correct, but it has the following problems:
- Word choice: "affect" should be "effect". (Interestingly, No.39 used "effect" correctly in the title.)
- Logic: There's always a correlation between an action and its effect, so perhaps this should have been "correlation between price and consumption"?
- Word choice: "Raising the price ... exceeding the rate of inflation" should be "... in excess of the rate of inflation"
On the other hand, there were some places where the phrasing was inspired, reading naturally, but still conveying the full meaning of the Japanese. "Programs focusing on developing skills to counteract the pressure from such social factors" is a good example. Also, No. 39 was the only finalist to actively acknowledge the way the last paragraph uses "各国" to signal a contrast between what's happening at the national level and what's happening at the international level.
Specific points for #52
I took an instant liking to No. 52 for being the only finalist to find a proper place for "cigarettes" in a text where the focus was on "tobacco."
However, there were a number of translation errors (for example, "According to healthcare providers and others, smoking cessation counseling" for "医療従事者などによる禁煙指導") and over-literal translations ("research and reporting being done").
I liked the phrasing of "this correlation is particularly strong for minors and low-wage earners," and the brevity of No. 52's treatment of Paragraph 3 (see comments on No. 62).
Specific points for #53
Although No.53 appeared to misunderstand the passage at several points, he/she had a nice turn of phrase, as seen in "Another device" in Paragraph 2. The translation was let down by poor checking, though. A proper read-through before submission would have caught the following errors in the English:
Para 2: "have been the focus much study" (should be "...focus of much ...")
Para 2: "warnings in form of photographs" (should be "... in the form of ...")
Para 4: "advice that direct targets the habits" ("... directly targets ..."?)
Para 6: "The prospects ... are well under way" (?)
Specific points for #62:
The overall winner, but tended to be wordy, which sometimes made the text a little less comprehensible. For example, compare three different versions of Paragraph 3:
No.62: Additionally, with regard to the effect of tobacco price hikes on tobacco consumption, reports indicate that tobacco consumption declines when the rise of the price of tobacco exceeds the rate of inflation as well as the income increase rate. This decline is especially connected to inhibiting tobacco consumption among minors and people in lower income brackets, according to reports.
No.33: Reports regarding the effect of prices increases on tobacco consumption claim that when price hikes for tobacco products exceed the rates of increase for other products and for wages, the result is a decrease in consumption; particularly among under-age smokers and people in low-income groups.
No.52: Meanwhile, it has been reported that when the price of cigarettes rises faster than the rates of inflation and income, cigarette consumption declines and this correlation is particularly strong for minors and low-wage earners.
For this paragraph, No.62 takes 30% more words than No.33 and 73% more words than No.52 to say pretty much the same thing. These translations are all 'correct' but take different approaches. No.62 would benefit from practice at editing his or her own translations to cut the number of words by 15% or so without sacrificing accuracy.
Errors included the logical error in "unless the format of warning labels changes, it is ineffective to change only the content of the warnings" ("only" introduces a contradiction), "the new Courses of Study that will be implemented as the standards for educational courses ..." ("standard"?), and there were over-literal translations such as "This decline is especially connected to inhibiting tobacco consumption" and "negotiations are currently in progress" ("currently" is superfluous).
I particularly liked the overall accuracy of this translation, and expect the translator to keep improving as experience brings more confidence to step away from a very literal approach.
Specific points for #64:
Had some nice ideas but poor execution. I liked the attempt to write the text in a readable manner, but there were too many places where the English would have benefited from a critical read-through before submission. Examples include:
Subject-verb agreement: Para 2: "an obligation ... are among techniques" (should be "obligations" or "is among techniques")
Subject-verb agreement: Para 5: "the new course of study ... stipulate ..." (should be "should be "stipulates" or "stipulated")
Word choice: Para 5: "stipulate that ... education be taught" (a lofty ambition, but inappropriate here)
Unnatural phrasing: Para 7: the ... WHO ... decided to request the initiation of the development the Framework ... (it's the string of nested structures that's unnatural, but I also marked this down for missing an "of" before "the Framework" and for mistranslating what was decided)
This translator would do well to practice reading with a critical perspective. Either persuade an experienced editor to give feedback, or, as one of the EJ division judges suggested, get someone else to read the translation out loud.
In 1954, two British physicians published findings suggesting a causal link between smoking and untimely death. Twelve years later, in 1966, the US Surgeon General required the first warning labels on cigarettes in the United States. Earlier this month, the World Health Organization announced that tobacco use could kill one billion people in the 21st century, up from a scant million in the 20th century. Once viewed as glamorous and even healthy (with claims of relieving stress and promoting good digestion, for example), smoking has been vilified by the medical community as a major health hazard for decades. This has given birth to a well established medical discipline of smoking cessation treatment and a public health campaign against tobacco use waged on national and international fronts. This in turn has spawned its own body of writing with its own unique jargon, an example of which was the passage for the Japanese-English portion of this year’s contest (namely, 「たばこ対策への介入事例とその効果」要約) .
The purpose of the JAT Translation Contest is “to foster, recognize, and reward excellence in commercial, non-literary translation between Japanese and English by new translators.” One method of assessing technical translation, proposed by the American Translators Association, breaks the translation process into three areas: source language comprehension, target language writing, and “translation technique.” (I simply cite the ATA’s approach because I am familiar with it.) The last, translation technique, includes proofreading to ensure the translator has avoided mistakes and research to ensure that the vocabulary and usage are appropriate and, especially in the case of Japanese, to help the translator interpret any vague passages.
The たばこ対策 passage used technical vocabulary sparingly (it had almost a general sound), but did contain some of the key vocabulary of the anti-smoking field. This included the terms smoking cessation, cessation counseling, warning labels, tobacco consumption, rotation (of warning labels), and the proper names of an organization and a publication. In fact, the publication (an agreement, actually), the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, adopted at a WHO World Health Assembly, was one piece of research material that yielded, in addition to its own proper name, the vocabulary and feel of anti-smoking public health writing. A little more Googling with the vocabulary available in the Framework Convention provides all of the information needed to set the right tone and employ the right vocabulary for the translation.
Monica Farrell (Entry 62) employed all of the field-specific vocabulary cited above, a low number of source comprehension errors, and workmanlike writing to win this year’s contest. Each of the six semi-finalists selected had his or her own strength, and some produced very likable English prose. However, Monica showed the willingness to do the amount of research that I would think would lead to consistently accurate and appropriate translations and serve as a basis for continued growth as a translator.
Sarah Bull (Entry 33) produced perhaps the most readable translation. However, the number of comprehension errors was comparable to that of Monica’s and Sarah took a more neutral approach, not employing some of the key terms of the smoking cessation field.
I, for one, could not see an immediately apparent winner among the six semi-finalists provided to the judges by the JAT screeners. Several readings and careful analysis of the texts were necessary to produce the finalists and the winner. Each contestant showed different strengths, and the judges found it difficult to select a winner. Considerable negotiation was necessary, with each judge presenting arguments for his selection. That serves as evidence of the competitive quality of all of the semifinalists’ translations.
Good translation is a little bit like pornography: very hard to define but easy to recognize when you see it. This is especially true for commercial translation, which unlike literary translation, is almost always compared side-by-side with the original in evaluating “translation accuracy.” Personally, I think that “translation accuracy” is an ill-conceived and poorly defined concept. For example, how does one quantify translation accuracy? Advertisements for translation software often cite translation accuracy as a percentage, but what does it mean to be “90% accurate” versus “80% accuracy,” and just where is the borderline between “usable” and “unusable” or “acceptable” and “unacceptable?”
While it probably isn’t possible either to fashion an axiomatic definition of or to establish quantitative standards for evaluating translation accuracy, it certainly is possible to list a few of the characteristics that are essential to a professional quality translation.
Perhaps the first thing that need be mentioned is that the translation should contain all the same factual information that the original does. Certainly no translation could be considered accurate or complete if an important piece of information was missing. There are times, however, when certain information explicit in the original need not appear in the translation if the conventions of the target language preclude its inclusion. An example very commonly found in Japanese to English translation might be the inclusion in parenthesis of the acronym for the name of an organization even though the acronym is not used anywhere else in the document. This occurs in this year’s contest text where the World Health Organization is mentioned in the final paragraph. Is there any real need to include WHO in parenthesis there?
The opposite can also be true in cases where information implicit in the original need be explained to the target readers. This year’s text, for example, mentioned a dairoku gakunen, which could be translated as “sixth year of schooling,” but given the diversity of nomenclature in the various school systems found in English speaking countries, I heartily concur with those who rendered this as “6th year of elementary school.”
Clearly, one of the first skills that a successful translator must develop is the ability to recognize what should or shouldn’t be translated.
Another characteristic to consider is whether the translation conveys the necessary information in the same tenor and tone as the original and as appropriate for the target reader. A good example of this from this year’s contest was the word youyaku in the title. Even professional translators will disagree over whether to include a word such as summary or abstract in the title itself, or perhaps to leave it out of the title altogether, and simply make clear in the topic sentence of the opening paragraph that what is being given here is a description of the content rather than a reproduction of the chapter itself.
In fact, one of the most difficult aspects of judging a translation contest is the fact that there is rarely only one “correct” translation. Rather, there are usually a number of possible approaches, and the question of whether a given approach is appropriate for a given problem is one that can only be answered in the context of what the translation is for, who the target reader is, and how much time can be allotted to translating the problematic passage.
One last issue I would like to comment on is the question of how literal a commercial translation should be. Translators who specialize in patents or legal documents, both of which are often subject to word-by-word scrutiny, understand the expediency of producing a commercial translation with a one-to-one correspondence to the original. Such an approach might not produce the most readable translation, but is an effective way to assuage a client’s fears that something is either missing or mistranslated, and in many cases makes it easier for the end-user to use both the original and the translation side-by-side.
This level of linguistic correspondence is in sharp contrast to the more figurative approach taken in commercial translations for publication, especially in documents where the use of idioms as well as hyperbole, parallelism, and other rhetorical techniques make word-by-word translation inappropriate. At this level, evaluating translation accuracy can be far more complicated, sometimes bordering on the subjective.
It may seem strange that “accuracy” can be considered to be something less than completely objective, but when editing for readability or when evaluating word choices, composition, and other stylistic considerations, the question of whether a translation accurately reflects the tenor and tone of the original is one on which even experienced translators can occasionally disagree.
There was much to praise in all of the final entries in this year’s contest, and one problem with a contest is that the need to pick a winner leads to excessive nit-picking of otherwise competent work. All of the finalists showed talent and are to be congratulated for their efforts.
The coming JAT meeting will be on February 16th, in which patent translator Yusaku Yai will hold a workshop on patent translation. As usual, we will hold a nijikai at a nearby izakaya from around 17:15.
The next meeting will take place on Saturday, March 15th. We won't hold a Tokyo meeting in April, but hope to see many of you at IJET19 in Okinawa!
Lisa Hew, Kiyoko Sagane, and Helen Iwata
Tokyo Activities Committee (aka "the Angels")
Date: Saturday, February 16, 2008
Time: 14:00 - 17:00
Meeting Place: Forum 8
Address: Dogenzaka 2-10-7, Shibuya, Tokyo
Cost: Free for JAT members, ¥1000 for non-members
Tens ways for translators to become more efficient. A detailed discussion is given of ways translators can use the Internet to become more efficient. This includes a detailed look at how to promote yourself using the Internet, how to create your own personal brand, how to make the most of the dazzling array of free services now available, and exactly what you should and should not put on the Internet. Mind-mapping, blogging, e-mail synchronizing and a whole host of other subjects are discussed.
Note that this video requires the password posted to the JAT mailing list, which is only available to members.
The following six entries (#33, #39, #52, #53, #62, and #64) have made it to the final round.
Examples of anti-smoking measures and their effects
Chapter 3 discusses warning labels, anti-smoking advertising campaigns, the relationship between price and consumption, support and guidance in quitting smoking, health education, and the anti-smoking measures being taken by international organizations.
Currently, countries throughout the world are educating people about the effects of smoking on health and using legislation to regulate smoking in a variety of ways, and research into the effectiveness of these methods is being conducted. For example, a report from Australia has found that immediately after warning labels are introduced people remember their contents, but that the percentage of people who still remember the contents after a month decreases, and a U.S. report claims that changing the contents of the labels without changing the style is ineffective. In Canada and Australia various methods have been used in recent years, such as displaying photographs on the warning labels of tobacco products for visual effect and requiring that labels containing different messages, of different shapes and sizes are displayed after one another.
Reports regarding the effect of prices increases on tobacco consumption claim that when price hikes for tobacco products exceed the rates of increase for other products and for wages, the result is a decrease in consumption; particularly among under-age smokers and people in low-income groups.
Numerous studies and reports are being conducted into the effects of the many intervention efforts being made into the habits of smokers in various countries in order to help people quit smoking. Provision of guidance by medical professionals has been discovered to result in significantly higher numbers of smokers quitting, compared to cases where medical professionals are not involved in providing guidance. Further, the effectiveness of the guidance is enhanced even further when conducted by several people.
In Japan too, educational measures to prevent people taking up smoking are being implemented. These efforts are not only focused on providing information about the effects of smoking on health. Since the 1990s they have also included programs that concentrate on noticing the social factors that trigger smoking in young people and providing the skills to deal with their effects. In addition, the new curriculum guidelines to be fully implemented from the 2002 school year clearly state that education to prevent people from starting smoking be conducted in the sixth year of elementary school.
As shown by the above examples, various anti-smoking measures are currently in use in countries throughout the world. However, in view of the inequity between countries regarding the resources necessary for such counter-measures and in order to expand economic activity beyond the borders of multinational corporations, the World Health Organization (WHO) resolved to prepare the “Framework Convention on Tobacco Control” at the 1996 World Health Conference and negotiations between governments are now underway with the aim of adopting the framework in May 2003.
Intervention Strategies for Tobacco Control and the Effects Thereof
Chapter 3, in reference to tobacco control, discusses the administration of warning labels, advertising campaigns against tobacco smoking, pricing and consumption, assistance programs for quitting, health education, and the involvement of international organizations.
Currently, countries outside Japan are taking various initiatives to educate people about the health risks of tobacco smoking and to institute regulations for tobacco control. Studies are also being conducted to determine their effectiveness. A report from Australia shows awareness among people regarding the content of warning labels is highest directly following implementation but decreases after one month. Another report from the United States demonstrates that changing the text in warning label alone is ineffective and must be accompanied with a change in format. Canada and Australia have recently adopted a method to visually appeal to consumers by using graphic warning labels along with other approaches such as mandating the size and order in which multiple messages are phrased.
Another study shows the correlation between increases in price and its affect on consumption. Raising the price of tobacco products exceeding the rate of inflation and growth in average income leads to a decrease in tobacco consumption, particularly among minors and lower income groups.
As an intervention strategy to help quit smoking, other countries engage in assistance programs promoting non-smoking, along with research projects confirming their effectiveness. In comparison with no intervention, a report suggests that programs assisted by healthcare professionals help reduce the amount of smoking significantly and programs incorporating the support from multiple resources further increase their effectiveness.
In Japan, we are pursuing educational outreach to prevent smoking, not only by providing information concerning the health risks of smoking, but by promoting awareness of social factors that contribute to the initial adoption of the smoking habit among young people. In the 1990’s, we introduced programs focusing on developing skills to counteract the pressure from such social factors. The new curriculum guideline, which is to take effect in Heisei 14 (2002), requires education on smoking prevention for six grade students.
The above examples show intervention efforts across borders for tobacco control. However, issues of broadening international economic activities by multinational corporations and disparities among national administrative resources need to be addressed. Recognizing the need for multinational effort, the World Health Organization passed a resolution for initiating a Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) at the World Health Assembly in 1996. Currently, intergovernmental negotiations are in progress to prepare for prospective adoption of FCTC resolution in May of 2003.
Chapter 3 Outline: "Case Studies of Anti-Smoking Intervention Measures and their Effectiveness"
Chapter 3 discusses warning labels, anti-smoking advertising campaigns, the effect of cost on consumption, smoking cessation counseling and support, health education, and initiatives by international organizations and such.
Currently there are various approaches being taken in different countries with respect to legal regulations and education about the effects of smoking on health and there is a wide range of research being conducted into the effectiveness of these approaches. For example, Australia has reported that people remember the content of warning labels immediately after they are introduced, but the rate of retention drops one month after their introduction, and the US has reported that if the form of the warning label is not changed, changing the content alone is ineffective. Also, in recent years Canada and Australia have implemented measures such as the use of photographs on warning labels to increase their visual impact, and additionally have started requiring that tobacco companies make their warning labels a certain size or display multiple, different messages in sequence.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that when the price of cigarettes rises faster than the rates of inflation and income, cigarette consumption declines and this correlation is particularly strong for minors and low-wage earners.
Furthermore, smoking cessation counseling is being actively conducted in various countries as a means of intervening in the habits of smokers, and there is a large amount of research and reporting being done. According to healthcare providers and others, smoking cessation counseling results in a significant increase in the non-smoking rate when compared to cases where it is not employed, and moreover it is reported that the effectiveness of this method increases further when the counseling is conducted by multiple counselors.
In Japan too, education initiatives for the prevention of smoking are progressing, and these initiatives do not merely provide information about the effects of smoking on health. Rather, programs which make young people aware of the existence of the social factors related to smoking initiation and which focus on helping them to form the skills necessary for dealing with those factors, started to make an appearance in the 1990s. Also, since the full implementation of the new educational guidelines in 2002, it is specifically required that smoking prevention education be given in grade 6.
Anti-smoking measures are currently being carried out in various forms in different countries as described above, but at the 1996 World Health Assembly the World Health Organization (WHO), reflecting the expanding cross-border economic activities of multinational companies and the inequality among countries of the necessary resources for anti-smoking measures, voted to begin preparations for the drawing up of the "Framework Convention on Tobacco Control". Preparations are progressing with a target adoption date of May 2003, and intergovernmental negotiations are currently underway.
Chapter 3- Examples and Effects of Strategies to Curb Smoking—summary
This chapter looks at health warnings, anti-smoking advertisement campaigns, the relationship between pricing and consumption, anti-smoking guidance and support, health education, and the anti-smoking efforts of international organizations.
Different countries have through various methods engaged in educating their populations on the health consequences of smoking, and have imposed various legal restrictions in regard to tobacco usage, the results of which have been the focus much study. For instance, one report from Australia, which looked at health warnings, found that the contents of those warnings are remembered immediately after they are first introduced but not so much one month later. Meanwhile, another report, this time from the US, suggests that changing the contents of health warnings has no effect if the format of those warnings stays the same. In Canada and Australia, warnings in form of photographs and other such visually impacting methods have been used in recent years. Another device has been to enforce a requirement that numerous warning messages of varying size be arranged on each packet.
There are also reports to suggest a linkage between the price of tobacco and its consumption—smoking goes down when the price of tobacco rises faster than the cost of living and people's incomes. This is particularly the case for those underage and those on low incomes.
In many countries there are widespread moves towards antismoking advice that direct targets the habits of smokers. This too has spawned many studies and reports. It is found that the rate of smokers quitting the habit increases significantly when health professionals instruct the public to do so compared to when such guidance is absent. Furthermore, it is reported that such instructions are even more effective when coming from numerous sources.
Japan has also seen moves to combat smoking through education. In the 1990s, a program emerged which not only provided information concerning the health consequences of smoking, but was also attentive to the social factors underlying young people taking up smoking. A focus was then put on fostering the necessary skills to deal with those influences. Also, in the now fully implemented New Course of Learning issued by the Japanese Ministry of Education in 2002, there is an explicit directive for the provision of anti-smoking education to 6th grade elementary school children.
In this way, various strategies for tackling smoking have been employed by different countries. However, in reaction to the global economic reach of multi-national corporations and the imbalance between states in their ability to come up with the resources needed to mount anti-smoking campaigns, the World Health Organization (WHO), at the 1996 World Health Assembly, made a decision to formulate an International Framework Convention for Tobacco Control. The prospects for its adoption by May, 2003 are well under way, with ongoing negotiations between governments.
Chapter 3: Examples of Intervention in Tobacco Control and their Effectiveness – Abstract
In Chapter Three, we discuss warning labels, anti-tobacco advertising campaigns, price and consumption, smoking cessation counseling and support, health education, and the efforts of international and other organizations.
Currently, education on the health effects of smoking and tobacco control via legislation are being carried out in a variety of forms abroad, and a variety of research into the results of those efforts is also underway. For example, a report from Australia shows that the content of warning labels could be recalled in the period immediately following their implementation, however, one month after implementation the recollection rate declined. Another report from the United States shows that unless the format of warning labels changes, it is ineffective to change only the content of the warnings. Moreover, in Australia and Canada various approaches have been taken towards warning labels on tobacco products in recent years: in addition to employing visually evocative methods such as using photographs or other images on warning labels, requirements have also been set regarding the amount of surface area to be covered by the labels, as well as requiring that different warning messages are shown on a rotational basis.
Additionally, with regard to the effect of tobacco price hikes on tobacco consumption, reports indicate that tobacco consumption declines when the rise of the price of tobacco exceeds the rate of inflation as well as the income increase rate. This decline is especially connected to inhibiting tobacco consumption among minors and people in lower income brackets, according to reports.
Cessation counseling for smokers is also a thriving method of smoking intervention in foreign countries. A great deal of research is being done on this topic, and a number of reports have been released. One report shows that the rate of smoking cessation dramatically increases when the cessation counseling is done by healthcare professionals as compared to when a health professional is not present; when multiple practitioners are involved counseling produces even higher results.
Health education to prevent smoking has been making progress in Japan as well. These efforts are not limited to merely providing knowledge on the health effects of smoking; efforts are also being made to raise awareness among minors of the existence of societal factors related to taking up smoking at a young age. Programs focused on fostering the essential skills to cope with the influence of these societal factors have been available since the 1990s. In addition, it is clearly specified that education to prevent smoking must be provided in the sixth year of schooling, according to the new Courses of Study that will be implemented as the standards for educational courses in all elementary and secondary schools in 2002.
As such, tobacco control activities are currently taking place in many different forms in each country, however, in light of factors such as the international spread of the economic activities of multinational corporations, as well as the disparity among nations in the resources required for tobacco control activities, the World Health Organization (WHO) voted to develop a Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) at the 1996 World Health Assembly. Preparations are underway with the goal of adoption of the WHO FCTC in May 2003, and intergovernmental negotiations are currently in progress.
Section 3. Examples of Tobacco Control Interventions and their Effects (Summary)
Section 3 discusses warning labels, anti-smoking ad campaigns, prices and consumption, smoking cessation guidance and support, health education, and initiatives by international organizations.
Outside of Japan, tobacco control is being carried out in various forms through the use of laws and education about smoking’s effects on health, and various studies are being conducted on their effectiveness. According to an Australian report, consumers could recall the contents of a warning label immediately after its introduction, but one month after the introduction that percentage dropped. If the appearance of a warning label remains unchanged, changing the contents will have no effect, according to an American report. Also, in recent years, in addition to attracting the eyes through the use of pictures, an obligation to use certain label sizes and cycle through differing messages are among techniques used in warning labels on tobacco products in Canada and Australia.
Meanwhile, reports show that regarding the effect of raising prices on tobacco consumption, when the rise of tobacco prices exceeds the growth of income and the inflation rate, tobacco consumption decreases. This is particularly relevant to the control of tobacco consumption among minors and the low income class.
Also, smoking cessation guidance is actively being practiced outside of Japan through the use of intervention against the smoking habits of smokers, and much research is being done on the subject. According to reports, when smoking cessation guidance is given by a health care provider, smoking cessation rates are significantly higher than when guidance is not given, and furthermore, when the smoking cessation guidance is given by more than one guide, there is a further increase in guidance effectiveness.
In Japan as well, the anti-smoking education initiative continues to progress, and rather than simply providing information about the health effects of smoking, programs that introduce social factors related to starting smoking at an early age and focus on developing the skills necessary to deal with those influences started appearing in the 1990’s. Also, the new course of study fully implemented since the 2002 fiscal year stipulate that anti-smoking education be taught in the 6th grade.
In this way, various forms of tobacco control have come to be carried out in many countries. In consideration of the spread of multinational corporations’ cross-border economic activity and the imbalance between countries of resources necessary to address tobacco control, the World Health Organization (WHO) decided to request the initiation of the development the Framework Convention of Tobacco Control at the 1996 World Health Assembly. The preparation for its prospective adoption in May of 2003 continues and governmental talks are currently being held.
The coming JAT meeting will be on January 26th, in which self-proclaimed Internet and software geek Andrew Shuttleworth will be sharing some productivity tips and tools. His presentation will cover how to benefit from mobile productivity by using smart phones and other tools such as mind mapping, to-do lists, Google Apps, as well as blogging and social networking services. The meeting will be followed a Nijikai. See the following for details.
Helen, Lisa, and Kiyoko
JAT Tokyo Activities Committee (aka, the Angels)
Date: Saturday, January 26, 2008
Time: 14:00 - 17:00
Meeting Place: Forum 8
Address: Dogenzaka 2-10-7, Shibuya, Tokyo
Cost: Free for JAT members, ¥1000 for non-members
At JAT, we have compiled the answers to the often-raised questions among translators who live outside Japan and work for Japan-based clients:
Are Japan-based clients supposed to deduct tax from payments for translation work? If so, are there ways to avoid such withholding taxes?
On November 10, 2007, we had JAT’s tax accountant, Mr. Masaru Sato, give a talk on this very subject. In addition, we had Mr. Sato prepare a document explaining the tax mechanism for us, complete with links to necessary forms. For some remaining questions raised by JAT members, we asked Mr. Sadao Kanezaki, one of the authors of “Doing Business in Japan,” also a tax accountant, to provide us with a second opinion on this topic.
As part of our effort to allow all JAT members to enjoy membership perks once privy only to those of us in Tokyo, we are kicking off an effort to broadcast all of our monthly meetings, over the web. Note that these videos require the password posted to the JAT mailing list, which is only available to members.
Says JATter James Phillips (who has been kind enough to take care of the recording and editing):
We are pleased to announce that a video of the presentation given by Juliet Carpenter, a well-known translator of books and literature, to the JAT members on Saturday December 8th, 2007 is now online. Enjoy Juliet giving an account of the trials and tribulations involved in being a literary translator.
A wide array of tricky translation tasks are covered, from how to describe emotions felt when listening to music, how to describe how somebody has been murdered, and even how to deal with whether or not to use the "F" word (gasp!). This was a fascinating presentation that will be of particular interest to those involved in the field of literary translation but can still be enjoyed by anybody with an interest in the translation business. The video is split into two halves, with the first half lasting just over an hour and the second half lasting approximately forty minutes. Enjoy!
The coming JAT meeting will be on December 8th. Ms. Juliet Carpenter will talk about literary translation. The meeting will be followed by Bonenkai and Nijikai. See the following for details.
Please RSVP to [email protected] by Friday, November 30 to benefit from a discounted Bonenkai price (applicable to JAT members only), if not by Wednesday, December 5.
Helen, Lisa, and Kiyoko
JAT Tokyo Activities Committee (aka, the Angels)
Literary Translation with Juliet Carpenter
Place: Ristorante Della Collina (http://www.ristorante-della-collina.com)
Place: Ristorante Della Collina (same as above)
Time: 16:30 - 18:30
Cost [RSVP by November 30]: members 5,000 yen; non-members 6,000 yen
Cost [RSVP on December 1 or after]: members 6,000 yen; non-members 6,000 yen
All you can drink
RSVP To [email protected]
The following are the minutes recorded for the JAT Board Face-to-Face Meeting, which took place on November 9, 2007, from 10:45am to 6:30pm, on the 27th floor of the Horizon Mare building in Ariake, Tokyo.
The meeting was chaired by director and president Manako Ihaya. In attendance were directors Mike Sekine, Jed Schmidt, Phil Robertson, Nora Stevens Heath, Karen Sandness, and Ko Iwata, as well as auditors Wolfgang Bechstein and Yusaku Yai. The minutes were recorded by Jed Schmidt.
Outside grants sought by IJET organizing committees require board approval before application: ACCEPTED (7 for, 0 against) JAT will waive registration fees for IJET organizing committee members up to an amount equivalent to four times the registration fee: ACCEPTED (5 for, 2 against) Payment for non-keynote presenters at IJETs requires board approval: ACCEPTED (6 for, 0 against, 1 abstain) The 2008 AGM will be held at the monthly JAT meeting in Tokyo in May: ACCEPTED (7 for, 0 against) IJET-20 will be held in Sydney, Australia on February 14 and 15, 2009: ACCEPTED (7 for, 0 against) The North Sydney Harbourview Hotel is endorsed by the board as the venue for IJET-20: ACCEPTED (7 for, 0 against)
Japan/overseas members ratio unchanged at 65/35 Number of member is holding steady, if not growing slowly, and can be checked on the members site. Data is slightly off due to paypal switchover Membership website needs are mostly incremental/usability-related
Decision to keep our US bank account for now until new treasurer takes over Funds left over from IJET18 will be sent back Mizuho bank account will be used for IJET19 Kagi is now closed, all payments now through PayPal
Transition to new website and host is complete The Board has decided to continue using Basecamp in place of a mailing list for Board communication Most changes over the next term will be for usability and design Webmaster will look into:
finding ways to have Basecamp send own email
purging old members from database
keeping static content on front page
Posted on mailing lists and social networking services (mixi, gree) Questions to raise when next contest is considered:
What should be the protocol for fixing mistakes? Should entrants be told they should flag?
Should JAT buy an article from a publication to ensure quality?
Are the prizes fair? Should we somehow compensate people who can’t attend IJET?
Should we change compensatation to the larger of transportation or IJET registration fee?
Is the contest a good PR opportunity (with Japan Times, etc.)?
Should board members help pre-screen entries to reduce burden on judges?
Japan IJETs growing faster in popularity than overseas IJETs
Time committment and total costs are biggest factors in attendance
Practical and industry-related sessions are most popular
Most desired domestic IJET: Hokkaido
Most desired overseas IJET: Canada / New Zealand / Australia
A good conference, especially given the inexperienced hosts
Proposals for Sydney IJET and IJET venue both accepted
The board decided to keep its policy of non-reimbursement for board AGM attendance.
Emily Shibata-Sato will continue her work as NPO liaison
Mike is going to record the TAC zeirishi presentation, kicking off a potential TAC podcast Mike is going to manage a member publication list The board agrees to have all site content professionally translated, using funds from the tech budget Mike proposes to have JAT pay speakers for non-Tokyo, local seminars; the board declines, maintaining its practice of paying for the venue but not for speakers (as a rule). The board will explore sending a kikakusho to tsuyaku/honyaku journal for a bimonthly article
The following is a brief write-up of the JAT Board Q&A session at the Tokyo JAT meeting on Saturday, November 10, by Helen Iwata.
What are the requirements to hold an IJET?
IJETs are held in Japan on even years and overseas on odd years. The Board accepts proposals more than one year in advance. A committee of at least four people – a chair, treasurer, program coordinator, and facility coordinator – is required. Volunteers should be prepared for a great deal of hard work and hassle. The Board is updating an IJET manual, which includes FAQs. The results of the recent IJET survey will appear on the JAT website soon. IJET will be held in Okinawa on April 12 and 13, 2008 and in Sydney on February 14 and 15, 2009.
What has happened to the members only part of the JAT website and where are member profiles?
The JAT website was renewed two months ago, as explained in e-mails from the Webmaster, Jed, to each member. JAT now has a content site at http://jat.org and a members site at http://members.jat.org. Members can now make their own profile changes and select privacy settings. Profiles can be found at http://member.jat.org/ followed by the member’s username (e.g., “hiwata” for Helen Iwata). Members can include the link on business cards and other promotional material. The new JAT website is now bookmarkable, which means Google will start to recognize us.
Is it possible to video JAT meetings and IJET sessions?
Meetings and IJETs can be recorded provided someone volunteers to do the taping and editing, and the speaker agrees (a number of people volunteered). Concern was raised that videoing might reduce attendance, but most agreed that being there in person has added benefits. Videos will be made available to members only on the JAT website. On the subject of volunteers, it was suggested that JAT have a “volunteers needed” section on the website.
Does JAT have plans to help improve translator quality other than the translation contest?
Not at present. Mike Sekine is working hard to publicize the contest. Concern was raised about whether the cost of the contest outweighed the benefits, but most agreed that the publicity and ability to attract new talent to the organization outweighted the cost. Mike also commented that he is negotiating with Tsuyaku Honyaku Journal to run a series of articles by JAT members.
Which is more important, the quantity or quality of JAT members?
The consensus appeared to be that both are important; everyone was a beginner at some point.
What does the Board do (members hear little of Board activities)?
Board meeting minutes are posted on the website. In addition to day-to-day running of the organization, the Board pays attention to topics raised on the mailing list and responds as appropriate. The Board arranged for a zeirishi to speak in response to list questions about taxation.
At the Tokyo JAT meeting on February 24, Yuko Kawamoto spoke about the need for structural reform and innovation to achieve Japanese economic growth. She concluded with a few words on the translation industry, noting that prospects are good for skilled, specialized translators due to advances in technology and globalization. This write-up by Helen Iwata covers the key points of the presentation.
Numerous factors in post-war Japan have made serious structural reform a must. These include a major demographic shift, misdirected investment, and a record high government deficit. Meanwhile, businesses have tended to pay little attention to profitability, and the country’s banks have worked off a huge volume of bad debt accumulated during the bubble years. To sustain the presence and growth of the Japanese economy and society, Japan must establish an economic structure that enables it to optimize resource allocation and fully leverage the potential of its people.
The aging of Japanese society presents a major challenge for the government. By 2025, 46 percent of the population is expected to be over 60 – eligible for a pension – compared with just 18 percent in 1970. At the same time, the birthrate is declining. This situation has resulted in ballooning social security costs, with the current pension system unable to generate sufficient funds to be sustainable, and growing healthcare responsibilities.
Furthermore, the government does not invest sufficiently in the country’s youth, beginning with school-age children. The government’s policy of yutori kyoiku – the “relaxed” education system – has resulted in thinner textbooks and lower academic standards. Ranking among OECD countries, Japanese school children fell from 8th to 14th in reading comprehension and 1st to 6th in mathematical application between 2000 and 2003.
Out of school, a relatively high number of young Japanese are also out of a job. While Japan claims overall unemployment rates of under five percent, joblessness among 15 to 24 year olds grew from around six percent in 1995 to almost ten percent in 2003.
Instead of investing in its people, Japan continues to pour funds into infrastructure. By 2003, the government had laid 3.07 kilometers of concrete road per square kilometer – more than any other country. Germany ranked second, but with only 1.77 kilometers per square kilometer. Compared with the U.S., Japan has 30 times more concrete per person. Even though only a few of Japan’s numerous highways are profitable, the government still plans to build more roads and bridges.
Infrastructure maintenance costs are high and contribute to the growing financial burden on Japan’s shrinking population. The ratio of total public debt to GDP at national and local levels increased from 87.1 to 170 percent between 1995 and 2005. By comparison, the UK ratio fell from 52.7 to 44.9 in the same period.
On the business side, Japan suffers from a lack of management sensitivity to profitability. The average operating profit margin in the 1960s was 4.8 percent. By the 1990s, it had fallen to 2.5 percent, and in the 2000 to 2006 period, it had only recovered to 2.85 percent. This is half of European profitability and one third that of the U.S. Although Japan wrote off over JPY100 million of bad debt between 1996 and 2006, regional banks still hold JPY15 trillion in non-performing loans, and profitability in those financial institutions has been almost flat in the same period.
In response to the above factors and the resulting need for structural reform, the Japanese government has launched efforts spanning finance, government-affiliated corporations, fiscal discipline, regulation, the pension system, Japan Highway Public Corporation, the postal service, and a regional reform that aims to reduce national subsidies, transfer tax revenues to local governments, and reform the grant-in-aid system. While some areas, notably the bad assets issue, have seen progress, reform is far from complete in others.
Structural reform alone, however, is not enough. Japan also needs to innovate in order to address weak productivity, respond to the changes in the 21st century economy and corporate environment, and compete internationally.
A look at labor productivity in Japan reveals that the economy is polarized. Ten percent of the workforce is employed in export-oriented manufacturing, including automotives, electronic machinery, IT equipment, and steel, where labor productivity is 20 percent higher than in the U.S. Productivity in other sectors, which collectively employ 90 percent of the workforce, is 37 percent lower than the U.S. average. Moreover, while productivity in the Japanese retail sector is half that of the U.S., the Japanese work 47 percent longer hours than Americans. Innovating to increase productivity in the sectors that employ the majority of the population is vital if Japan is to achieve economic growth, especially in the face of its declining workforce.
At the same time, the 21st century economy is characterized by three factors: globalization (expanded business sphere and increased M&As and market failures), capitalization (heightened volatility due to a greater likelihood of market impact), and digitalization (expanded networks and information volume). Simplification and flexibility through innovation are essential for business leaders to manage increased complexity.
Recently, the Japanese corporate environment has shown clear signs of change. Companies used to have low profitability and capital productivity, but domestic institutional investors in capital markets are demanding stronger returns, and more activist funds, such as Murakami Fund and Steel Partners, are emerging or taking an interest in Japan. The number of M&As is likely to increase as Japanese companies become potential targets for foreign players. As a result, top management is under increasing pressure to enhance corporate value and looking for innovative ways to do so.
Japanese companies are becoming more aware of the need for governance, and are beginning to reorganize into boards (ownership), corporates (management), and business units (execution). Disclosure requirements are becoming more stringent, and there is a more apparent correlation between information disclosure and performance – with disclosure, companies become more self-disciplined, work faster, and become accustomed to evaluating and verifying results. Japanese companies need to move away from individualist thinking and embrace more objectiveness, including bringing in outside directors – even women!
While Japan has some highly competitive international players, others lag in comparison with their global rivals. In a Yahoo! Finance index ranking the top company in each industry as 100, Japan leads the automotive industry with Toyota at 100, while DaimlerChrysler scores 33.3. By contrast, non-Japanese players lead other sectors, namely mobile phones, courier services, banking, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, consumer goods, electrical equipment, retail, and food, and Japan lags considerably. For example, Pfizer stands at 100 with Takeda at just 21.1, P&G scores 100 and Kao trails with a mere 9.8. Japanese companies need to innovate in order to compete globally.
Despite the clear need for innovation in the above areas, Japan’s investment in venture capital compared to GDP is the lowest among OECD countries and around one tenth of the average. Japan has its share of outstanding scientists and engineers, and plenty of investors and cash to support them in the pursuit of innovation. An environment that allows these resources to be fully leveraged, however, remains to be created.
Corporations are looking at innovative ways to leverage resources and do business. As part of this effort, executives from a number of Japan’s top companies should form a group with the aim of promoting a freer labor market for talented individuals, including movement between academia and business, and investing into venture startups. Innovation, particularly to improve productivity, will continue to be an important theme in Japan.
Implications for translators
Japanese and English translation supply is growing due largely to two factors: more translators and more output per person on average. In addition to the translation community traditionally found in Japan and English-speaking nations, large numbers of practitioners are emerging in developing countries, such as India and China. Productivity and potential output per translator have increased with advances in technology, including faster look-up through the Internet and wider use of tools such as translation memory, optical character recognition, and voice recognition. Increased supply is putting downward pressure on translation rates in parts of the market. In a sense, this reflects a balancing of supply and demand compared with the past when limited supply drove prices higher.
The good news for translators is that globalization and larger flows of information will bring more translation demand because most people will not have the skill or will to learn the required languages quickly enough to be able to operate effectively in a multilingual environment. In this expanded market, if translators translate like machines, that is, if they simply replace words automatically with little consideration for context or appropriate target-audience style, they will produce material of machine-translation quality and earn at machine-translation rates. Translators who provide a value-added service through expertise in their field and polished writing skills will command higher rates. Quality is key.