Dec 15, 2014

ATA 2014: Automotive Translation and Interpreting

Presented by: Miyako Okamoto
Summarized by: Yoko Usui

My job responsibility includes being an in-house interpreter for a Tier 1 Toyota supplier, so needless to say, Ms. Okamoto’s session on “Automotive Translation & Interpreting – How cars are made” was on my list of absolutely-must-attend sessions.  The presentation was a great introduction to those who may be unfamiliar with the automotive manufacturing industry, yet still educational to those like myself already involved in this industry.  Using Honda Motor Japan website’s “Virtual Plant Tour” as the base, Ms. Okamoto highlighted the major processes involved in the manufacturing of an automobile (outlined below).

Dec 7, 2014

ATA 2014: Chicago wrap up and planning for Miami

Dear JLD,

You may not have noticed it, but the month of November just blew past. One minute many of us were at the ATA Annual Conference, and the next it was Thanksgiving. At least it felt that way. Happy December! I hope the weather is good wherever you are.

I wanted to post this for two reasons: to call for feedback on the Chicago conference and to call for volunteers/ideas for next year's conference in Miami (especially from those who weren't in Chicago.)

I thought Chicago was a big success. The Annual Meeting powerpoint presentation and meeting minutes should be going up on the JLDTimes Blog shortly. Volunteers wrote summaries for most of the JLD sessions and even for a few others. Please check them out when you get a chance. If you have any feedback on last month's conference, please contact Nadine or me. If you had a session proposal or an idea to make things better but didn't get a chance to share it, please do!

Which leads to the second reason for my email. Although not even a month has passed since the conference, the planning process for next year is already beginning. The deadline for Distinguished Speaker proposals is in February, and the deadline for regular session proposals is in March. The first Planning Committee meeting will be held soon.

For those who couldn't attend the 2014 conference, this is your chance to let us know what sort of sessions and presentations you would be interesting in attending. Who would you like to hear speak? What subjects would you like to learn about? Would you be interested in giving a presentation? Do you know someone who would be a good speaker? Please let us know. Any and all suggestions are appreciated.

If you would be willing to volunteer, please contact us. We are always looking for JLD members to make a presentation or post an article to the blog. You could also get involved in the Planning, Editorial or Entertainment committees. Feel free to contact Nadine or myself with any questions.

-Jim Patrick
JLD Administrator

Nov 27, 2014

ATA 2014: English>Japanese Translation of Figures of Speech

講演者: 望月良浩
報告者: ミトリック理香(Rika Mitrik)


Nov 26, 2014

ATA 2014: Grammatical Digging to Improve Japanese>English Patent Translation

発表者: James Judge
報告者: 前田 紘明

 JLD最初のセッションの議題は、日英の特許翻訳において日本人翻訳者が陥りやすい文法上の落とし穴について。大阪から招いた発表者のJames Judgeさんは、日本での日常生活でよく見かける日本語の曖昧さや不思議な英文を紹介しながら、複雑な特許明細書を読み解き英訳する際の文法上の問題点についてユーモアを交えながら話してくれました。特許翻訳に携わっている翻訳者だけではなく他の分野の翻訳者も多数参加し、特許翻訳独特の英文表現ついて盛んな議論が持ち上がり、予定の時間があっという間に過ぎてしまう充実したセッションでした。

Nov 25, 2014

ATA 2014: Pictures and Sound: Translating Television and Other Audiovisual Media

講演者:Sarah Lindholm

今月始めにシカゴで開催されたATA55th Annual Conferenceで、Sarah Lindholmさんのプレゼンテーション「Pictures and Sound: Translating Television and Other Audiovisual Media」を視聴する機会に恵まれました。画像と音声を普段から扱ってお仕事をされているLindholmさんらしく、ビデオクリップの例も含む大変わかりやすいスライドショーを使ってのプレゼンテーションでした。

My ATA Conference “Newbie” Miracle

By Nicholas G. Sturtevant, Japanese Linguist, JLD Newcomer
Like most folks who majored in foreign languages, I’m not new to translation. I’ve been involved in translation in some form or another since my graduation from college and subsequent life abroad in Japan.

ATA 2014: The Proofreading Refresher Course

Presented by: Ms. Carolyn Yohn, Untangled Translations
Summarized by: Sarah Lindholm, the Detail Woman
Carolyn presented her session with two audiences in mind: freelance translators who proofread their own work, and editors proofreading the work of others. She introduced her own proofreading system, but stressed that her system and her advice are customizable, and individuals should modify as necessary to suit them.

Nov 19, 2014

ATA 2014: Is Machine Translation Your Friend or Foe? Challenges for English-Japanese Translators

Presented by Dr. Takako Aikawa, Sr. Lecturer in Japanese, MIT Global Studies and Languages
Summarized by Kazumasa Aoyama, Park IP Translations

In her excellent presentation, Dr. Aikawa discussed the use of machine translation (MT) in English-to-Japanese translation. She gave answers to the question with many examples: “Why English-to-Japanese translation is so challenging for MT?”  She also showed us how human translators can help improve the quality of MT.

ATA 2014: Japanese to/from English Interpretation Workshop: Focusing on Short-Term Memory

講演者; Izumi Suzuki(鈴木いづみ
報告者: Satoko Nielsen (ニールセン智子)

 鈴木いづみ氏はこれまでにもしばしばATA会議で通訳ワークショップを行ってくださっているが、今回は今までと少し趣が違い、短期記憶力の改善法に焦点を絞ったものであった。通常のメモ取りを中心とした通訳のトレーニング方法ではなかなか進展がみられず、むしろ通訳のスキルを磨くには短期記憶力を改善した方が効果が上がるのではないかとの認識によるものである。(ところで興味深いことに、たまたまATA Chronical 7月号にもRoda Roberts氏による記事「Enhancing Short-Term Memory for Accurate Interpreting」が載っているのでぜひ一読してもらいたいとのことであった。)

Nov 13, 2014

Thank You, JLD Volunteers

I would like to thank all the people who made the JLD, and ATA, activities possible at the Conference.  I think this year was another resounding success.  It was the second most attended ATA conference in ATA history.  Also thanks to James, Nadine, Hiro, Hiroki and anyone else who contributed to a very interesting and well-balanced JLD slate of sessions.

Speaking of which, if you attended a session that was of particular interest, please share it with your colleagues who may have attended a different session.   We will try to get them posted here as soon as possible.  If you have pictures to share, you can post some here.  Click here for overall conference photos, and here for election results.

You can send an email to this blog master, or Nadine at if you did a summary of a session.  It doesn't have to be a thesis, just share your thoughts, ideas, experiences or other interesting Japanese English translation stuff with colleagues.

Please keep in mind that it takes just a little time and effort from a lot of people to keep the JLD a vibrant venue for exchange with colleagues.  We need your help, with all areas of the JLD.  If you have not considered helping before, please do.  It's a wonderful way to get to know others in your industry.  Talk to James, Nadine, Hiroki or myself.   We'd love to talk about it.

Nov 2, 2014

JLD Open House Wednesday at 7pm

Dear JLD,

The Annual Conference in Chicago is right around the corner. I hope to see many of you there!

Wednesday night things kick off with the Welcome Reception at 6pm, and immediately following at 7pm we will have our Division Open House as we do every year. I believe we will be in the "Chicago 10" room. So when the main reception starts to wind down, please look for other JLD members congregating together.

The Open House is a chance for members to meet and mingle. Nadine and I will be handing out a flyer with information on JLD resources and ways to get involved. The Open House is a nice chance to see who else from the JLD is at the conference and to meet new people.

We have a good slate of presentations lined up in Chicago. Every year we ask for volunteers to introduce presenters, track time and just generally help the speakers out. Also, we try to post brief summaries of each presentation to the JLD Times Blog after the conferences for those would cannot attend. If you would be willing to volunteer to introduce a presenter and/or write a summary for the blog, please contact Nadine or me, either via email or in person at the conference.

See you in Chicago!

-Jim Patrick
JLD Admin

Oct 30, 2014

JLD Newcomers' Lunch on Thursday 11/6 in Chicago!

JLD Newcomers Lunch 

Please join us at a lunch. This is a casual lunch gathering for newcomers. You will meet regular JLD members to discuss topics that you want to know. The regular attendees will share the experience and insights with you on translation and interpretation.

JLD Newcomer's Lunch 
Time/Date: Thursday, November 6, 12:15pm 
Place: Food For Thought (a few minutes walk from the hotel) 
Contact: Hiroyuki Tsuchiya (
RSVP is not necessary. We'll meet in the lobby. 

Don't miss this opportunity!

Hiroyuki Tsuchiya

Oct 14, 2014

Taken Out of Context: The Importance of Context in Japanese-into-English Translation (Part 2)

Example 3: Making it real

The word 実現 is fundamentally associated with the process of converting an abstract entity (such as an idea or a concept) into a concrete entity (such as an object or a numerical result). Authoritative dictionaries offer meanings such as “realization,” “attainment,” “actualization,” “materialization,” and “fruition,” but the inherently broad range of application for this word forces the translator to select a translation that fits the specific context in which the word appears. In a technical paper that describes different types of glass we encounter the following sentence:

1 に太陽光エネルギー波長分布と、上記光学特性を実現する材料の候補としての、銅イオンを有する合わせガラスを透過したエネルギー分布を示した。   (4)

In this instance the direct object of the verb 実現する is 光学特性, which means “optical characteristics.” A student submitted the following translation:

“Figure 1 displays the sunlight energy wavelength distribution. Also displayed is the transmitted energy distribution of a glass laminate containing copper ions, as a candidate material that can actualize the optical characteristics mentioned above.”

This student translated 実現する as “actualize.” The verb “actualize” is a valid word, but the combination of “actualize” and “optical characteristics” sounds more like marketing jargon than the objective of an R&D project. A newly developed material would be expected to “display,” “exhibit,” or “provide” a desired property. Thus, the sentence could be translated like this:

*** Fig. 1 shows the energy vs. wavelength distribution for sunlight and the comparable distribution for the light that is transmitted by laminated glass containing copper ions. Such a glass is one candidate/option/possibility as a material that displays/exhibits/provides the above-mentioned optical characteristics. ***

In a technical paper that describes a new type of LED we find this sentence:

半導体の中で最も短い波長で発光することが理論的に予測されていた窒化アルミニウム (AlN) を用いた発光ダイオード (LED) の動作を実現し、波長 210 nm の遠紫外光を観測することに成功した   (5)

Here the direct object of 実現し is 動作, which could mean something along the lines of “action,” “movement,” “demeanor,” or “operation.” A student proposed this translation:

“Luminescence of the shortest wavelength among semiconductors has been implemented through the action of a light emitting diode (LED) which uses aluminum nitride and which followed theoretical predictions. There have been successful observations of far UV light with a wavelength of 210 nm.”

The student translated 実現し as “implemented.” Although we implement such things as “rules,” “policies,” and “guidelines,” we do not generally implement a property, such as luminescence. Returning to the direct object of 実現し, we see that the 動作 in question is the 動作 of a particular type of light-emitting diode. In such a situation we might say that we “achieved operational status (for the LED)” or that we “successfully operated (the LED).” If we incorporate the second option, which sounds more natural, the entire sentence could read like this:

*** We successfully operated a light-emitting diode (LED) using aluminum nitride (AlN), the material that is predicted theoretically to luminesce at the shortest wavelength among all semiconductors, and we were able to observe far-ultraviolet light with a wavelength of 210 nm. ***

It is worth noting that if we use the word “successfully” as part of the translation for 実現し, we need to consider how to translate the final phrase (観測することに成功した). A literal translation could read “we succeeded in observing ...,” but in order to avoid unnecessary repetition it would be better to use the phrase “we were able to observe ...,” as indicated above.

The following sentence appeared in a paper dealing with robotic technology:

人間の能力を超えたハイパヒューマン技術を実現するためには、まず人間の能力そのものを的確に把握しておく必要がある。   (6)

In this instance the direct object of 実現する is ハイパヒューマン技術, which we may safely translate as “hyper-human technology.” A student provided the following translation:

“In order to materialize hyper-human technology that exceeds human abilities, it is necessary to accurately grasp human abilities themselves.

This student rendered 実現する as “materialize.” The verb “materialize” is a valid word, but this is not the proper context for its use. Among other tasks we may “develop” technology, we may “advance” technology, we may “refine” technology, and we may “employ” technology, but we do not “materialize” technology. The writer’s use of ために suggests that ハイパヒューマン技術を実現する is a goal or an objective to be reached in the future. The use of the connective form (把握して) and the auxiliary verb おく indicates that this action (把握する) is being carried out in order to attain some future objective. The introductory word まず places emphasis on the necessity (必要) of carrying out this action “first” in order to ultimately reach the stated objective. The verb 把握する often means “to grip (something)” or “to grasp (something).” The verb “grasp” itself can refer either to the physical act of holding an object in one’s hand or to the mental act of gaining a deep understanding of a concept or a situation. In this instance the writer is referring to a mental act, and that point should be made clear in the translation. A translation that incorporates all of these thoughts could read like this:

*** Before we can bring to reality/commercialize/successfully develop/implement hyper-human technology—technology that exceeds the capabilities of humans—we must first gain a detailed understanding of those very capabilities. ***

Based on the content of the sentence alone any one of the four alternatives provided here for 実現する would be reasonable. Careful reading of the entire paragraph in which this sentence appears would be needed in order to determine which of the alternatives is best.

In this example we have seen the same verb (実現する) combined with three different direct objects, and we have chosen a different translation for 実現する in each case. The range of possible translations for 実現 makes this word a useful tool for teaching students the importance of context in determining the intended meaning of a word or phrase.

Example 4: Level of emotion

A book about the Japanese economy contains the following sentence:

これらを睨みつつ、政府、日銀、民間企業の景気分析担当者は日々頭を悩ませている   (7)

Two students offered the following translations:

While staring at these factors, the government, the Bank of Japan and people from civilian companies in charge of analyzing the economy worry themselves everyday.”

With this glaring down upon us, economic analysts within the government, the Bank of Japan, or private businesses are troubled on a daily basis.”

The verb 悩ませる typically indicates “distress,” “anxiety,” or perhaps even “torment.” The range of emotions covered by this verb is quite broad, but the specific expression 頭を悩ませる suggests a level of emotional stress on the high end of this range—much higher than these two translations indicate. The verb 睨む could mean “to glare at (someone)” or “to watch in a disapproving manner,” but it could also mean “to look intently at (something),” “to concentrate on (something),” or simply “to bear (something) in mind.” The pronoun これら refers to trends in economic indicators that the author had described in earlier sections. From the context we understand that it is through the process of analyzing these economic indicators that the 景気分析担当者 are 頭を悩ませている. The first student assumed that the 景気分析担当者 work only for 民間企業, but the second student assumed that all three nouns (政府, 日銀, and 民間企業) modify the topic. In fact, the government, the Bank of Japan and corporations employ economic analysts, so the second interpretation is probably correct. The second student misunderstood the direct object of the verb 睨む, but the first student recognized that the analysts work with data. The first student translated 民間企業 as “civilian companies,” while the second student chose “private businesses.” Usually, the word “civilian” is used in contrast to “military,” but that distinction is not relevant in this instance. It is not clear whether the English phrase “private businesses” is intended to refer specifically to “privately held companies”—i.e., those companies whose stock is not traded on public exchanges—or whether the student intended to encompass any non-governmental company or corporation. The term 民間企業 usually carries the second meaning; a phrase such as “the private sector” would eliminate any confusion in this regard. A translation that takes all of these features into account could read like this:

*** Every day economic analysts in the government, the Bank of Japan, and the private sector rack their brains as they carefully watch these trends. ***

(to be continued)

Jim Davis is Professor and Director of the Technical Japanese Program in the Dept. of Engineering Professional Development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


--Request practice passage

J-3: Japanese<>English Certification Workshop
Friday, November 7, 11:30am-12:30pm

If you are planning to participate in the Japanese<>English Certification Workshop, please
obtain and translate a practice passage in advance. It is vital that translations be completed
in advance in order to receive full benefit from the workshop.

J>E passages can be obtained from Ken Wagner

E>J passages can be obtained from Miyo Tat

After a brief introduction of the certification test and the grading system, the workshop will
break into two groups: J>E and E>J. The J>E and E>J workshop groups will be held at the
same time. It is only possible to participate in one group. In the J>E group, participants will
review each others translations according to ATA Certification Exam standards, guided by
a current certification exam grader. In the E>J group, graders will discuss the grading
process, using the practice passage.

Contact Ken Wagner,



Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers
Chicago, Illinois
November 5-8, 2014

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