Dec 18, 2017

ATA 58 Session Summary - J-6: “Bye, Felicia.” Tackling Allusions, Slang, and Pop Culture References

“Bye, Felicia.” Tackling Allusions, Slang, and Pop Culture References
Presented by Yoshihiro Mochizuki
University of Michigan
ATA 58th Annual Conference Session J-6
Saturday, October 28, 3:30pm-4:30pm 

Summary (Contributed by Shiori Okazaki):
This interactive session examined various examples of allusions and other references in both English and Japanese, and discussed how to best translate them. The session was originally conceived by Ms. Motoko Oshino Matthews. The presenter was Mr. Yoshihiro Mochizuki, a Japanese Lecturer at the University of Michigan.   
The session began with a discussion on the definition of allusions. Mr. Mochizuki explained that it is a “reference to another text” that requires “further interpretation . . . based on the meaning of the alluded-to text.” Allusions add layers to the text, allowing the reader to enjoy both the current text and what is being referenced; they make the text memorable, ironic, or funny; and by creating a shared secret between the writer and the reader, they provide a sense of mischief. On the other hand, the weaknesses of allusions are that not everyone understands them, and it may seem as if the author is showing off their knowledge.  
Translating allusions from English to Japanese and vice versa require a different set of skills and knowledge: allusions in Japanese draw upon poetry or idioms, appear more often in literature, and seek to be funny or playful; allusions in English draw upon the Bible or Shakespeare, appear more often in journalism, and are used to showcase knowledge or writing technique. When translators do not understand allusions, it may lead to literal—and incorrect—translations.  The best way to translate allusions is to replace the image in the source language with a similar image in the target language. This is easiest when similar expressions exist in both languages, e.g. “back to square one” and 振り出しに戻る. Other translators have sought to replicate the impact of the allusion by finding close alternatives. One translation of Soseki’s Botchan replaces a reference to Fukuda Chiyo-ni’s haiku with the better known “Old Pond” haiku by Basho. This is much more effective than a precise translation with footnotes that interrupt the readers’ thoughts.     
Following a workshop, where the audience divided into small groups and dissected the allusions of various English and Japanese passages, the session concluded with a discussion on resources and methods for translating allusions. Resources include 日本語俗語辞書 and Urban Dictionary. Recommendations for translators are: thoroughly look up words and phrases, even if you think you understand them; consult multiple sources; and keep abreast of modern expressions and contemporary culture with movies, television shows, music, and social media.

Dec 11, 2017

ATA 58 Session Summary - J-5: Japanese Interpreting and Translating in the North American Automotive Sector

ATA 2017 JLD Session Review
Getting “Gung Ho!”: Japanese Interpreting and Translating in the
North America Automotive Sector

Presenters: Denise Fisher, Mary Goudreau, Paul Koehler, Shizuka Matsunaga, and James
Review by Allyson Larimer

This group of panelists held a wealth of experience in the Japanese automotive industry. James and Denise both had long careers with Honda R&D in Ohio and later transitioned to freelance interpreting. Paul works as a contractor to Honda R&D in Los Angeles. Shizuka
and Mary both work at major Honda suppliers, with experience both translating and interpreting, and managing other translators.

Each presenter gave an overview of what their work load was like in an average day. Most do a mix of translating and interpreting each day. Some were expected to work primarily into their A language, while others did a both. However, in most of the companies the panelists represent, there were people on staff who specialized in one discipline (either translation or interpretation). They pointed out that this kind of specialized position was more common in larger companies. Smaller suppliers were more likely to seek someone who could both translate and interpret in both directions. They also discussed the fact that Honda had more language support staff, whereas Toyota, Nissan, and other Japanese companies tend to rely more on contractors.

The panel discussed some of the benefits of working in-house in the automotive sector. All presenters emphasized the appeal of working on a long term project that ends in the creation of a new car that goes into the market. Shizuka mentioned the flow of work; getting to follow a problem from its discovery to its resolution. Jim mentioned the benefit of having engineers around who can explain the technology to you. Because of the benefit of getting to work one-on-one with engineers and other translators, all panelists recommended working in-house at some point in one’s career, particularly for those who are just getting started or want to build a new specialty.

Dec 4, 2017

ATA 58 Session Summary - J-3, J-4: Translating Sex and Gender: Part I, Henry James; Part II, The Tale of Genji

“Queering Translation” – Translating Sex and Gender: Part I, Henry James (J-3)
Date: Friday 10/27/17
Presenter: J. Keith Vincent
Summary by: Sarah Alys Lindholm

Professor J. Keith Vincent, chair of the World Languages and Literatures Department at Boston
University, was a distinguished guest speaker invited to ATA58 by the Japanese Language Division. He
presented a two-part series of sessions on sex and gender in literature which drew attendees from both
inside and outside of the JLD.

In this first session, he began by giving us his personal background, as well as background on the
theoretical frameworks he would be using to analyze the literature of Henry James and Murasaki

Two significant things happened while Professor Vincent was a graduate student at Columbia at age 23:
he began reading the Tale of Genji in Classical Japanese, and he came out as gay. This was in the 1990s,
so he started reading queer theory at the height of the world’s fear of AIDS as the “gay disease.” Today,
he teaches both Japanese literature and sexuality studies at Boston University. His approach to analyzing
works like Genji and their translations is grounded in a hybrid of two theoretical frameworks: “LGBTQ
Studies” and “Queer Theory.”

LGBTQ Studies vs. Queer Theory
LGBTQ Studies (originally known as “Lesbian and Gay Studies”), is the older of the two frameworks. It’s
referred to as “minoritizing” in the sense that it was thought of as a field for minorities which only
applied to minorities. By contrast, Queer Theory is “universalizing”: a way of understanding literature
and culture that is relevant to everyone regardless of their individual sexual orientations.

LGBTQ Studies began in the 1970s-80s by asking questions that no one in the mainstream had been
asking: What is the construct of gay identity? Who built “the closet,” and who is it really for? In this
framework where we work to define and illuminate the nature of identity, translation is a tool to that
end. New translations offer the hope of understanding and restoring gay identities historically left out of
literary canons; older English translations of foreign-language works might alter homoerotic passages, or
even omit them altogether, and modern translations of these works can render what has been erased
visible once more.

Meanwhile, Prof. Vincent tells us, the Queer Theory framework regards translation as an impossible
task: “The impossibility of translation is a metaphor for the impossibility of a stable identity.” Pursuing
this task, however, can revitalize a static source text. As an ongoing and uncertain practice, translation is
an inherently “queer” practice. Queer Theory focuses as much on not retroactively or inappropriately
assigning identities as it does on bringing erased identities to light.

Problems of Translation
We have already discussed older translations’ tendency to obscure LGBT Q identities. Another concern
when translating queer texts is the issue of warping and distorting the text by translating a neutral word
in a pejorative way, or vice versa (for example, the Japanese translation of Leo Bersani’s book Homos
omits the pejorative “homo” from the title, while “openly gay” is rendered as “shamelessly gay” within
the body of text).

Combining Two Theories
Professor Vincent prefers to combine elements of both LGBTQ Studies and Queer Theory. As LGBTQ
Studies emphasized, it’s important to specifically uncover the aspects of gender and sexual identity that
have been overlooked or obscured in the past. But in the Queer Theory model, gay identities shouldn’t
be coopted and applied to identities that were inexplicit in the source text. Avoiding this requires a more
nuanced and interrogative approach. This type of framework advances both translation and literary
theory. In Prof. Vincent’s opinion, “translating can make you a better queer theorist, and reading queer
theory can make you a better translator.”

Case Study: Henry James’s The Beast in the Jungle
This session concluded with a case example analyzing Henry James’s The Beast in the Jungle. Henry
James’s writing is “notoriously vague,” and therefore susceptible to multiple interpretations. What did
the character May mean when she used words like “queerness” and “gaiety” in connection with
Marcher, since those words had different popular meanings when this novella came out in 1903 than
they do now?

At the time, critics’ reading of the text was that Marcher “failed to marry” May. The LGBTQ Studies
reading, on the other hand, is that James’s vagueness is hiding his sexuality. In this reading, Marcher is
gay and May is his beard or his fag hag. Eve Sedgwick’s later reading of it through a Queer Theory lens
pegged the text as about men who worried that their sexuality was “not straight enough”—but she did
not necessarily assume that Marcher was gay. Professor Vincent invited attendees to look at Japanese
translations of relevant passages and to evaluate them with these competing theories in mind.

Bersani, Leo. Homos. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard Univ. Press, 1995.
Butler, Judith P. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1990.
Crimp, Douglas, and Leo Bersani. AIDS: Cultural Analysis, Cultural Activism. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press,
1987. **This was Prof. Vincent’s first reading in the field.
Sedgwick, Eve K. Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. New York, N.Y: Columbia
University Press, 1985.

Sedgwick, Eve K. Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.

Nov 27, 2017

ATA 58 Session Summary - J-2: Japanese > English Translation of Clinical Trial Documents

Japanese > English Translation of Clinical Trial Documents
Presented by Matthew Schlect, PhD
ATA 58th Annual Conference Session J-2
Thursday, October 26, 3:30pm-4:30pm

Summary (Contributed by Kazumasa Aoyama):
In the second JDL session of the conference, we had an opportunity to hear and learn from Dr. Matthew Schlect about Japanese to English translation of clinical trial documents. Dr. Schlect was a researcher in chemistry and life sciences for 20 years before he started his freelance work and has been a freelance translator, editor and writer for 15 years. He is currently a member of the leadership council for ATA's Science and Technology Division.
As a part of his introduction, Japanese medical language was discussed:
  1. Japanese medical terms are often compounds of familiar elements (e.g. 糖尿病), while many English medical terms came from Latin and Greek (e.g. diabetes).
  2. Japanese has many medical terms borrowed from English and German (e.g. カテーテル (catheter) and ゾンデ (Sonde (German), probe (English))).
  3. Japan has a long tradition of Oriental Medicine (漢方), and Western science and medicine were introduced to Japan from Germany through Dutch merchants in the Meiji Era (1868-1912)
Then the following were presented:
  1. Clinical trials (what, who and why)
  2. Types of clinical trials (Phase I (第I相試験), Phase II (第Ⅱ相試験), etc.)
  3. Clinical design (Some key terms were discussed.) (blinding (盲検化), endpoint (評価項目), etc.)
  4. Those who are involved in clinical trials (principal investigator (治験責任医師), sponsor (治験依頼者), etc.)
  5. Clinical trial facilities (study center (治験実施医療機関), testing facilities (試験実施施設), etc.)
  6. Clinical trial documents and formats with examples.
    • Clinical trial protocol (治験実施計画書)
    • Investigator's Brochure (IB) (治験薬概要書)
    • Clinical trial agreement/contract (治験実施契約書)
    • Clinical trial report (治験報告書)
    • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) (標準業務手順書)
    • Informed Consent Forms (ICF) (同意説明文書)
    • Case Report Form (CRF) (症例報告書)
    • Institutional Review Board (IRB) Report (治験審査委員会報告書)
    • Medical Journal Articles (医学雑誌の記事)
Following the discussion above, terminology – standardized clinical nomenclature (MedDRA) and Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE), and drug/disease/procedure names were discussed followed by the process of translation of clinical trials. Dr. Schlect pointed out that there are three steps in the translation process: research, translation, and validation:
  1. Research:
    Skim through title, abstract, key words, unfamiliar terms.
    Research unfamiliar topics in the source & target language
        CTCAE (
        Clinical trial databases
           WHO International Clinical Trials Registry (
            US National Library of Medicine Clinical Trials Registry (
            EU Clinical Trials Register (
            臨床試験の検索 (
  2. Translation
  3. Validation: Validate that key translation terms/phrases are found "in the wild" in texts written by native authors.
At the conclusion, Dr. Schlect told us: To succeed at clinical translation,
  • Being a doctor or nurse is not a requirement.
  • Do need careful research, translation, and validation
  • Experience with clinical content will facilitate professional clinical document translations
  • Controlled language (MeDRA, CTCAE) seems tedious, but standardization is necessary
  • Use the extensive resource available

He also presented useful English medical resources, Japanese to English resources, and clinical terminology resources. Below are some of the resources:

  • NIH PubMed (
  • Sangyo 怒涛の辞書(翻訳例辞書)(
  • ライフサイエンス辞書オンラインサービス (
  • CDISC Clinical Research Glossary (EN/JA) (

Nov 20, 2017

ATA 58 Session Summary - J-7: Achieving Equivalent Meaning and Equivalent Impact in Japanese>English Translation

Achieving Equivalent Meaning and Equivalent Impact in Japanese>English Translation
Presented by Professor James Davis, CT

Professor and Director, Technical Japanese Program
Dept. of Engineering Professional Development
University of Wisconsin-Madison
ATA 58th Annual Conference Session J-7

Thursday, October 26, 2:00pm-3:00pm

Summary (Contributed by _____):
Professor James L. Davis (University of Wisconsin-Madison) discussed the tension between the competing demands of equivalent meaning—conveying a comparable understanding of information to the source text—and equivalent impact—producing a comparable effect in the reader to the source text—in translation.
Professor Davis presented a series of short excerpts from Japanese business and political news articles, highlighting specific phrases, including idiomatic expressions and specialized terminology, and discussing the merits and demerits of multiple possible renderings of these words or phrases in English. Tone, audience, and established English-language usages were presented as major considerations in weighing different possible translations. Professor Davis concluded by emphasizing the importance of considering multiple options and always bearing context in mind to crafting a successful translation.

Oct 12, 2017

14 Years of JLD Sessions

Nadine Edwards
JLD Administrator

For a few years, the leadership of the Japanese Language Division has been trying to find ways to encourage feedback regarding topics and type of sessions members want at the annual conference. 

Earlier this year, JLD Member Y. Usui volunteered to help tabulate and classify 14 years of data (139 sessions, from 2002 to 2016). 

In anticipation of our brainstorming discussion during the JLD Annual Meeting on Friday, October 27th, below is an informal summary of the data tabulated.

We look forward to your questions, comments, and discussion on this data on the Yahoo mailing list, and especially when we brainstorm topics for next years' sessions at the Annual Meeting.

Oct 5, 2017

JLD Times Summer / Fall 2017

JLD Times Summer/Fall 2017
JLD Times Summer/Fall 2017

On behalf of the Editorial Committee, I welcome you to the first “paper” edition of the JLD Times Newsletter published in several years.

Our aim is for this revived biannual publication to serve as a useful source of information and interaction for our diverse and far-flung membership. We hope you enjoy the newsletter, and we look forward to your opinion pieces, comments, and reviews to add to subsequent publications.

As you enjoy the new JLD Times Newsletter, you will notice that we ask you to Take a Survey; this survey will give us a better idea of the makeup of our membership. Results will be reported in the next newsletter.

Finally, don’t forget to check our various social media for updates on events by the JLD at ATA58. See you there!

Aug 23, 2017

E>J Certification Workshop @ATA58

An update...

ATA 英>日認定試験ワークショップのお知らせ
English into Japanese Workshop only

1028日土曜日の午後1230分~130分まで、ランチの時間を利用してホテル内またはその近くで開催を予定しています。ご興味のある方はEventbrite による登録を受け付けていますので1024日火曜日迄にそちらから登録してください。

参加されたい方は、以下のパッセージ(258ワード)を事前に訳して[updated 2017.10.15] miyako [at] maojapanese [dot] comまで送信していただくか、間に合わない方は当日お持ちください。このワークショップは翻訳教室ではなく、皆さんが訳された答案を発表しあい、現役グレーダーが実際に使うツール(フローチャートとエラーカテゴリーのフレームワーク)を使ってコメントするものです。プロの翻訳者の方であっても、どのように答案が採点されるのかを知ることは試験対策として大変有益です。認定試験にご興味のある方はぜひご参加ください。

[Updated: October 15, 2017; Email passage to: miyako [at] maojapanese [dot] com]

Aug 17, 2017

JLD Events @ ATA58

You heard it here first folks...

JLD Newcomers Lunch

Thursday, October 26, 2017, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM 
An informal bring-your-own lunch for conference first timers, newcomers to the profession, veterans at conference hotel breakfast area.

DC Interpreters Panel at Embassy of Japan

Friday, October 27, 2017, 1:45 PM – 3:45 PM
Join us before the JLD Annual Meeting for an informal discussion with a diverse cadre of DC based Japanese-English conference interpreters. Must RSVP and bring an ID to check-in at the event.

JLD Annual Meeting

Friday, October 27, 2017, 4:45 PM – 5:45 PM
Come to discuss the state of our profession. Learn what has been happening in the JLD, brainstorm ideas for networking events and conference sessions, affirm the new JLD Leadership.

JLD Annual Networking Dinner at Bistro Bistro

Friday, October 27, 2017, 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Enjoy conversation with colleagues over a family-style dinner. Must RSVP with payment by October 14, 11:30PM EDT; no refunds after October 26.  

E>J Certification Lunchtime Workshop

Saturday, October 28, 2017, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM 
[Updated 2017.08.28] Details available here.

Unless otherwise indicated, events are onsite at the conference hotel.

You can find a list of Japanese language sessions here.

JLD Leadership Council

Jul 26, 2017

For Project Managers and Translators

Japanese Orthographic Variants in CAT Tool Based Translation
and What You Can Do About It -- Part 1 of 2

by JLD Member Noriko Nevins,
ATA-Certified (E>J) Translator

This writing is for Project Managers unfamiliar with the intricacies of Japanese orthographic rules and Japanese translators who use CAT tools, especially SDL Trados Studio. In this article I identify the problems Japanese orthographic rules can pose in CAT-tool-based translation, and what can project managers and translators can do to ensure spelling consistency in the TM. I also describe some of the different tools available and highlight those I found the easiest and simplest to implement in terms of cost and steps involved.
Part Two of "For Project Managers and Translators: Japanese Orthographic Variants in CAT Tools Based Translation and What You Can Do About It" will be posted later this year. However, look out for the full version of this article in the PDF version of the JLD Times coming soon!

Jul 19, 2017

Down But Not Out - Strategies to Remain Active While Work is Slow

By: JLD Member Paul Koehler

Those of us who have been working as freelancers for any length of time know that one of the most difficult things to deal with can be the uneven nature of the work. Whenever people ask me about my schedule, I always use the stock phrase "feast or famine" to describe what my work can be like. It's one thing to explain it to other people, but quite another thing to practice dealing with the ups and downs of the work on your own. What exactly can be done to deal with slow times even when you have a solid client base?

Jun 5, 2017

Session J-10: Readability Matters, Insist on Human Touch to Stay Competitive Presented by Naoko Uchida

Summarized by Rika Mitrik


Feb 14, 2017

IJET-28 Columbus, April 8 - 9, Early Bird ends today Feb. 14

IJET-28 in Columbus, Ohio, USA (April 8-9, 2017) 

Did you know? 

This year’s International Japanese-English Translation Conference (IJET) 
has been approved for seven (7) ATA continuing education points. IJET-28 Columbus will feature over 30 sessions on translation/interpreting, a Saturday evening banquet, Friday afternoon SIG meetings, and Friday evening Zenyasai

Be sure to register by the February 14 early-bird deadline today to save on admission. 

You can register and find out more here:


on behalf of the IJET-28 Organizing Committee

Jan 31, 2017

Words and 言葉 by Jim Davis

“Two Roads Diverged ...”:Making Good Choices in Japanese-into-English Translation(Part 4)

This is part four of a paper based on the standing-room-only presentation Jim gave at the 2015 ATA Conference in Miami entitled "Two Roads Diverged ...": Making Good Choices in Japanese-into-English Translation. 

You can find all blog posts in the Words and 言葉 series here.

Jan 19, 2017

Proposals for ATA58

The American Translators Association is now accepting presentation proposals for ATA's 58th Annual Conference in Washington, DC (October 25-28, 2017). Proposals must be received by March 3, 2017.

Is there a session you would like to present at ATA58? Is there a workshop or issue you think would be of interest to members? The JLD Planning Committee is meeting to discuss the slate. Send your ideas to

You can see the Proposal for Conference Presentation on the ATA website.

Jan 18, 2017


Our sincerest thanks to members (and former members) who helped make 2016 a fantastic year. We could not have done any of this without you! 

·    JLD Website: Yoshiko Guy
·    Planning Committee: Hiroki Fukuyama, Jim Patrick, Andrew Fernando, Michiyo Weinstock, Terumi McAdams, Kazu Aoyama, Phil Soldini, Hiro Tsuchiya, Yoshiro Mochizuki
·    Editorial Committee: Connie Prener, Rika Mitrik, Hiroki Fukuyama, Jon Johanning, Paul Koehler, Jim Patrick
·    JLD Times Blog (ATA56 Summaries): Sarah Lindholm, Noriko Nevins, Paul Koehler, Tyler Miller, Patricia Pringle, Miyako Okamoto, Andrew Fernando; (ATA55 Summaries, not already mentioned) Yoko Usui, Rika Mitrik, Kazu Aoyama, Hiroaki Maeda, Kazumi Ohira
·    JLD Times Blog, Series Contributor: Prof. Jim Davis, Words and 言葉
·    Annual Dinner Venue Scout: Nicholas Sturtevant
·    ATA57 Member Presenters: Marceline Therrien; Akiko Sasaki-Summers; Connie Prener; David Newby; Izumi Suzuki; Miyako Okamoto; Miyo M. Tat; Satoko Nielsen; Sarah Lindholm; Philip Soldini; Naoko Uchida; Tonya Pound.

2017 is also an election year for the JLD -- look out for a communication from the Nominating Committee in the next few months. 


Nadine Edwards:
Division Administrator,
Editorial Committee Chairperson

Yoshihiro Mochizuki:
Assistant Administrator,
Planning Committee Chairperson

2017 Core Members:
Secretary:      Celine Browning
Website:         Yoshiko Guy
JLD Times:     Katrina Leonoudakis, (Assistant Editor)

**In the Works: Assistant Web Admin/Social Media Person