Why I became a Japanese-to-English translator

 A short explanation of my background: I first started learning Japanese on my own in high school, when I found a “Teach yourself Japanese” book in the school library.

At Yale University I majored in History (the research methods and writing skills I picked up along the way have proved invaluable as a translator) while also studying Japanese from my sophomore to senior years. I also studied Japanese abroad at Nanzan University in 2005.

After graduation I returned to Ghana and worked for an ad agency as a copywriter, a brief but formative experience that taught me a lot about writing clearly and concisely for various audiences. From 2007-2010 I worked at the Embassy of Japan in Accra. My work involved dealing with a lot of documents in Japanese and frequently paraphrasing or summarizing them in English. As I worked, I increasingly began to think “I love this kind of work. I could do this all day.”

That thought grew stronger and stronger and eventually I decided to just go for it. I enrolled in a Masters in Translation Studies at Aston University (Birmingham, UK) in 2010 and started my freelance career that same year. I began with video game and manga translation and realized I enjoyed working on consumer-focused texts, which is why I gradually moved towards marketing, general business, IT (mainly guides and manuals), etc.

English is my native language and although I haven’t lived in Japan in years I am conscientious about keeping up with the latest news, trends and slang from Japan. I am still learning a lot about the translation industry even after 5 years in it and I hope to be translating for a long time to come. If you need a translation, you can contact me at kuochoe @ japan-translate . com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *