I used to work as an English teacher in Tokyo.



I am very oriented towards achieving a good work-life balance, so I thought that
if I worked freelance I would be able to have more free time as it means you can
avoid spending time commuting, which would suit fine.



I had been interested in languages for a long time, so I wanted to find work that  enabled me to try out my Japanese, which is something that I had worked hard to learn.



With translation work you can just be yourself and focus on the work at hand, and as long as you have a computer and the Internet you can do it from pretty much  anywhere. So I thought translating would allow me to utilize something I had       learned while offering future prospects and flexible working style, and that’s why I decided to try my hand in the industry.



After my alarm goes off at 7am I am in front of the computer and ready to start   translating by 7:30am. I have my breakfast at around 8:30am (mainly toast), and continue translating until around 1:00pm. I then go back to translating and aim to finish at around 3:00pm, but I’ve recently been blessed with a daughter so
helping out with nappy changing and feeding sometimes means that I miss this
target by quite a large margin.



My work is meant to convey meaning to people, so I always keep this in mind and try to create translations that efficiently and naturally convey whatever is
supposed to be conveyed. I focus on trying to make my translations as natural as possible for native speakers, but there are sometimes a few barriers in this
process (see below)



One of the things I find most difficult is dealing with misconceptions about certain aspects of English. The things that feel natural to an English speaker are often
quite different from what non-native speakers learn, so in some cases, despite
submitting translations that I am quite pleased with I have to deal with requests
for unnecessary modification or the inclusion of somewhat unnatural expressions.
In such cases all I can do is try to explain why I wrote somethingthe way I did,
or to try to explain things in such a way that the customer accepts a translation
that is different from their suggestion. It kind of makes me feel like I am back to
being an English teacher, but if it results in a good translation being produced
then the effort is worth it.


ただ、唯一悔しい点は、お客様が、翻訳の対象外だった「大福」という単語を「BIG HAPPY」と自分なりに訳して、私の訳文のタイトルとして使ってしまっていたところです。(苦笑)

Many years ago I took on a translation from a well-known confectionary store in
Ueno, Tokyo, and the photos in the project made the daifuku and manju sweets
look so good that after the translation was finished I decided to pay a visit to the
store. I found that not only was my translation displayed in the store, but that the
products were indeed as delicious as they looked in the photos I had seen.
From that day on I fell in love with daifuku, and I think it’s fair to say my life has
been better ever since! However, there was one small frustrating thing, and that
was the customer taking it upon themselves to translate the work “daifuku” as
“big happy” and use it as the title for my translation .



There was a period in which I was doing a lot of translation for a certain
government agency, and one day they actually placed an order through the
translation company specifying me personally as the translator they wanted.
When I said I was busy with other projects and was unfortunately unable to
take on the project the customer actually rearranged the schedule to
accommodate me so I was able to do the translation for them.
I guess that’s when I realized how much progress I’d made as a translator.



Basically, this is a great job for people who don’t like to leave the house very
much! If you aren’t the type of person who can spend a lot of time sitting in front
of your computer at home then freelance translating probably isn’t the job for
you,but if you hate rush hour and don’t want to deal with packed trains and
busy roads anymore then it’s a really great way to work.



When I told a colleague who I used to work with that I was thinking about looking for a job as a translator, she told me she had a friend who worked at a company
called Kikko that did translations, and that’s how I found out about the company.



The first impression I got was that I probably wasn’t good enough yet.
The company seemed really sophisticated and professional, so as I was still a
newcomer to translation I had no confidence that I would be able to produce
work of the level that Kikko would expect.



It fits my first impression – I think it is a sophisticated and professional company, as you’d expect from a company located next to the Prime Minister’s residence!
I feel the staff are professional and reasonable in their dealings with translators,
and that they are efficient in the way they go about their work.



I mostly talk to the coordinators about translation projects, and they are always
friendly and polite whenever I communicate with them.



As I mentioned before, I have recently been blessed with a daughter so I am
very time-poor in my private life and I spend a lot of time looking after the baby.
However, if I do have free time then I really like reading, watching films, and
going running.
Oh, and I also really like going out for a few drinks and checking out new bars!



Although a bit vague, I guess my target with work at the moment is to increase
my efficiency. I’d like to set firm start and finish times and work efficiently
so that at the end of the day there are no loose ends.



I just hope that everyone at Kikko keeps being the great translation industry
professionals that they are, and that the company can keep getting orders for
interesting translation projects.