How is a barrier turned into a portal?
I translate investment research from Japanese into English. In this branch, the final document is the product. My goal is to produce English reports for end-user investors that are indistinguishable from a report originally written by an English native speaking analyst. This is a craft.
I began doing translation work in 1998 after several years of living and studying in Japan (about 1994–2000, mainly in Kansai). I translated a wide variety of materials, which included ISO quality control and environmental policies, business marketing materials, magazine and newspaper articles, technical marketing materials for specialized large-scale commercial equipment, commercial contracts, legal judgments, and even a book on management philosophy. Over the years, I gradually came to specialize only in equity research across a wide range of industry coverages, and this continues.
My translation policies are and always have been to:
- Put quality first and speed second.
- Look up everything uncertain: Either track it down or flag it as not yet fully clear.
- Follow the details of client style sheets and delivery preferences.
- Leave upstream editors with an easier job (nothing much to fix here)
- Deliver the most concise translations and do so at the agreed deadlines.
My translation process includes the following broad steps:
- Understand the meanings conveyed from a Japanese writer to a Japanese reader.
- Mentally step back from the words and linguistic forms through which that was done.
- Express those same meanings as an English writer to an English reader.
- Review the original again to confirm that all meanings have transferred correctly.
- Perform a final edit for error-checking, flow, and naturalness.
Language does not have to remain a barrier, but can be transformed into a portal across cultural worlds. It is my job to cross through this portal, return, and then convey what I have seen on the other side.