Translation time: 60 things experienced in a business hotel

Hello! And welcome to another translation post. I feel I must apologise, first of all, for having not posted in a little while. I recently returned to study this semester and getting used to the work load and back into some sort of pattern has taken a little longer than first imagined.

In any case, I return with another translation post! But first, a little background may be needed.

 

In Japan, you will find no shortage of places to stay ranging from the traditional style ryokans to youth hostels to 5-start luxury chain hotels. One of the most common types, however, is the business hotel. Business hotels are most common in the larger cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, where businessmen often travel for work. The concept of most business hotels is to provide a no-frills accommodation service for a cheap price. Business hotels in the past were very much basic but these days they are becoming a little more upmarket. A pretty well known chain of Business Hotels is the APA Hotel brand. I have stayed at a few APA Hotels throughout Japan in the past and am always impressed by the comfort, service, and price.

A while back I came across an article on RocketNews24 containing a list of the 60 most common experiences you’ll have in a business hotel. Some of these were pretty common; on the contrary, though, some of them just left me feeling rather curious. In any case, let’s get on to the translation!

Original article:

【あるある】ビジネスホテルに泊まったらよくあること60選

Translation:

[Oh yeah!] 60 things you’ll often experience if you’ve stayed in a business hotel

Working fathers will often use a business hotel. A business hotel is indispensable when working, almost like your “business partner”, and when away on business it’s your place to relax.

I’m sure there are people who have not stayed in one before. But it’s actually profound when you stay in one! That’s why today, we bring you the most common things you’ll experience in a business hotel. Out of the following 60, how many can you relate to?

[The 60 most common experiences in a business hotel]
1.
Before you check-in, you buy up big at the nearest convenience store.
2. You don’t look at it but you take the hotel’s pamphlet to your room.
3. You were sure you’d only booked a single room. But then, you get upgraded to a twin.
4. The first thing you do when you get into your room is take your shoes off.
5. The air in the room is insanely dry!
6. You check if there is any money stuck to the back of the picture on the wall.1
7. You check the location of the power points.
8. If they’re close to the bed, that’s even better!
9. You look out the window to check out the view.
10. You check the Wi-Fi.2
11. You look for the bible.3
12. You see if the fridge smells.
13. You look through the peephole in the door out to the corridor.
14. You feel anxious about what might be under the bed.
15. You check to see if there are any pay channels on TV.4
16. You look for where the vending machine that sells alcohol is.5
17. However, it’s on a different floor! 5
18. Even though you think it’s expensive, you still buy it.
19. You turn on the lights in your room.
20. You want to go to the convenience store a little too much.
21. Larger pet bottles won’t fit in the fridge in the room.
22. If you’re staying for multiple nights, you stock up on beers.
23. You buy nicer beer than usual.6
24. You start to lose your sense of time.
25. You get lonely so you turn the TV on.
26. You get confused because the channels are different to back home.
27. There’s no real meaning to it but you jump on to the bed.
28. Setting the water temperature in the shower is difficult.
29. Even though it’s a shower you save the hot water.7
30. You bring your own bathing powder.
31. You check out the supplies of the shampoo and other stuff.8
32. You use more shampoo and conditioner than usual.
33. You have a bath in the morning.9
34. It feels even more spacious after a bath than it does at home.
35. You really don’t need the obi of the yukata.10
36. The slippers are flimsy.
37. You still buy pet bottles of tea even though there are tea bags.
38. Using a razor you’re not used to ends tragically for your poor face.
39. You check if the pillows are good.
40. You go to sleep but you’re feeling to excited so you can’t.
41. You move the TV as best you can so that it’s easy to watch from bed.
42. Before you go to sleep, you pull out the sheets that have been tucked in nicely.
43. You make it easy for you to stick your feet out the end.
44. You get worried whether or not the alarm clock will actually ring.
45. You wish the hands on the alarm clock wouldn’t make so much noise.
46. You end up waking up before the alarm clock is set to ring.
47. You can hear foreign languages being spoken in the corridor. You’re not sure what language it is, though.
48. You accidentally leave the card key in your room so you have to go to the front desk.
49. You pump your fists in the air if the toilet has a washlet.
50. If you run into somebody in the corridor, you feel awkward.
51. You’d be happier if checkout was later than 11am.
52. You feel you’ve hit the jackpot if the hotel has a coin laundry in it.
53. Although washing powder costs extra….
54. You do a high pose in front of the full-length mirror.11
55.
The room rates go up on the weekends.
56. If you stay multiple nights, you gain weight.
57. You return home more beautiful.
58. You get sad before you have to checkout.
59. You check many times before checking out that you haven’t forgotten anything.
60. But without fail, you’ve definitely forgotten something.

 

This completes the list of 60 common experiences you’ll have in a business hotel. We hope this list is of some reference to you the next time you stay at one.

 

Reflection/Notes:

1. This one, upon first reading the article, took me by surprise a little. I wasn’t sure what it meant at first so I consulted my good friend Mr Google! From what I can tell, there are some people that believe it’s a sign that there had been a suicide in that room. Others, however, say that that is merely an urban legend. I was unable to find a definitive answer. Maybe next time I’m staying in a business hotel, I’ll be sure to check behind paintings. Additionally, there are some more legends and cultural issues related to suicide in Japan that could definitely become the topic of a future blog post.

2. The best thing about Japanese hotels is the Wi-Fi is given for free!! I’m not sure about other countries but in most Australian hotels I’ve stayed in, Wi-Fi always carried an additional charge.

3. The bible in the drawer of the hotel room is a common thing in western countries, for sure. However, I have looked in most of the hotels I’ve stayed at in Japan and never came across one.

4. This has only been the case at one or two of the business hotel I’ve stayed at; however, the pay channels in business hotels are generally adult movie channels. Some also offer other movie-on-demand services of a non-adult nature.

5. Japan, being the country of vending machines, has vending machines on each floor of its business hotels. There is generally only one machine per floor and generally the one with the alcohol will always be on a different floor to what you’re staying on. At least this has been the case for me.

6. I wasn’t sure quite how to handle this sentence from the original text. The original sentence reads: 「ビールのランクを上げる」(biiru no ranku wo ageru; you raise the rank of the beer.) My only interpretation of this is that because you’re away on business, is that you treat yourself to a slightly more expensive beer. I could be wrong about this but it made sense.

7. I really wasn’t quite sure what was meant by this. The original sentence reads: 「普段はシャワーなのにお湯をためる」(fudan wa shawaa nanoni oyu wo tameru) and my sentence is pretty much a literal translation of this.

8. In Japanese business hotels, much like most hotels, they provide the shampoo, conditioner, and body soap for you to use. Unlike in western hotels, however, they generally provide a big bottle—as opposed to the small bottles in western hotels—of it so you can use heaps. The downside to this, I guess, is that it makes it hard to stuff them in your bag and take them home.

9. In Japanese culture, it’s common to have a bath only at night. In the morning, you would just have a shower. When on business and staying in a business hotel, however, why not treat yourself to a bath in the morning too, right? Additionally, some business hotels have a more traditional Japanese public bath facility. I have stayed at some with this before and it’s great!

10. The obi (帯; meaning “sash”) is just the sash you would use to tie the yukata up.Obviously, when alone in a business hotel, who needs one of them, right?

11. I was not sure what ハイポーズ (haipōzu) meant and so therefore I left it as a literal translation.

 

This brings this post to a close. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Remember, if you have any ideas about future posts, (either translation related, language learning related, or perhaps Japanese culture related) please do leave a comment or contact me on Facebook!

 

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Translation time: Left-handed problems!

Today I bring you a very short translation of a piece I came across a little while ago which I found quite entertaining.

 

Original text: 【10人に1人】「左利き」にしかわからないこと14選

Translation:

[1 in 10] 14 things only left-handed people will understand

Across all age groups and regions, the ratio of left-handed people is around 1 in 10. (8-15%)
Today we bring you some common things only left-handed people will understand.

1. You’re bad with penmanship.
2. In narrow restaurants, your arm bumps into the person next to you.
3. The sense of closeness you feel to another left-handed person you see is staggering!
4. The ticket gates at train stations are inefficient as they’re designed for right-handed people.
5. Vending machines are also designed for right-handed people, making them hard to use.
6. You feel all the outrage in the world at all the utensils designed for right-handed people—including scissors, can openers, and soup ladles at soup bars.
7. It’s actually more of a nuisance that someone brings you reverse scissors as you’ve spent time correcting the way you hold your scissors.
8. For some reason, you’re happy when someone points out that you’re left-handed.
9. You get told that you write well with your left hand.
10. You’re not suited for arm wrestling.
11. You’re sensitive to the word “left”
12. You’re not good with button mashing on game controllers.
13. When playing sports, people admire you just for being left-handed.
14. You feel proud when you see someone famous that is left-handed.

 

Speaking as someone who is right-handed, I can’t say I could relate to any of these points. Furthermore, it did make translating some of it slightly difficult because I wasn’t quite sure what some things meant. One prime example of this was #7 which was talking about scissors. I’ve tried my best to translate what I thought was the meaning but I could be very far off the mark here.

Another point that caused some deliberating was in #14. The original text uses the word 偉人 (ijin, which means “a great man” when you look it up in the dictionary) but I figured it was referring more to a famous person when taken in context.

 

That about wraps up this post. I’ll be on the lookout for more things to translate over the coming weeks. I’d also like to post more on language learning soon, too.

 

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Cups and glass

Today’s post is not purely focussed on translation; that is not to say however, that there will be no translation included in the post.

As anybody reading this who speaks Japanese would know, there are many words in the Japanese language that are borrowed from other languages. These are known as 外来語. (gairaigo; loan words) Loan words are written in the Katakana script. While many loan words are borrowed from the English language (such as テレビ terebi meaning television), there are some loan words that come from other languages. (such as アルバイト arubaito meaning “part time job” which comes from the German word arbeit which means “work” or “labor”) While most of these words only ever have one way to write it in Katakana, there is the odd word where two or more different ways of writing the word are used.

The other day I had a question from a friend who just began studying Japanese last year and has made some excellent progress already. In his study for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, he was looking at vocabulary—some of which were 外来語. He first asked me why the word “glass” was sometimes written as ガラス (garasu) and other times as グラス (gurasu). Although i’ve studied Japanese for a long time, and I was well aware of both  transcription methods, I had never considered if there was any difference between the two until my friend asked this question. Therefore, I decided to Google the topic; I did so in Japanese in hopes that I would get some responses from Japanese native speakers and this was what I found:

The post reads:

The difference between グラス and ガラス.

ステンドグラス (sutendo gurasu; stained glass) and ステンドガラス (sutendo garasu; stained glass) is likely said to merely be a difference of Katakana transcription; however, you can drink wine from a
グラス (gurasu) but you can’t drink wine from a ガラス (garasu). I looked in to the difference between the two.

Several opinions:
・A グラス is a cup made out of ガラス
・That cup is fundamentally a cylindrical object used to drink things such as water.
・If it’s a cup with legs, it’s ゴブレット. (goburetto; goblet)
・A cup with a flat bottom is a タンブラー (tanburaa; tumbler)
・グラス and ガラス are both Japanese transcriptions of the English word, “glass”.
・A cup (コップ;koppu) is a cup (カップ; kappu) <As you can see, another word with two different transcriptions but more on this later)

The below is my (the writer of the above Japanese text) opinion:
I believe that ガラス (garasu) refers to the material element of “glass” while グラス (gurasu) refers to a type of manufactured product made from glass.
However, I think it’s also the case that for a long period of time, the two different transcriptions have been misused and thus they are no longer differentiated.
An example of that is “stained glass.” The グラス (gurasu) in this case actually refers to ガラス (garasu).
But, like everyone says, a グラス (gurasu) is no doubt a cup made out of the material ガラス (garasu).

So, to sum up here:
・Both ガラス and グラス are used to refer to the English word “glass”
・The supposed difference is, however, that while ガラス refers to just the raw material, a グラス is a cup made out of ガラス where as in English we just refer to them both as glass.

 

My friend then asked about cup which is written as both コップ (koppu) and  カップ (kappu). Interested in the difference here too, I looked into it and found this.

It reads:

A コップ (koppu) is the general term to refer to a container/vessel used for drinks.
A カップ (kappu) is a コップ (kappu) with a handle used specifically for warm/hot drinks.
A グラス (gurasu) is a コップ (koppu) made from ガラス (garasu) referring to a cup without a handle used only for cold drinks.

コップ (koppu) comes from the English “cup” and is the general term for containers/vessels used for drinks. The presence of a handle or the material it’s made of is irrelevant. They’re all cups.

カップ comes from the Danish word “kop” (meaning, a container/vessel with a handle that is used for drinks).

In Japan, the Danish word “kop” and the English word “cup” have been mixed together, resulting in this complexness.

To sum this up:
・コップ (koppu): the general term for a cup no matter whether it has a handle or not, and caters for both hot and cold drinks.
・カップ (kappu): A cup with a handle only for hot drinks.

 

So that’s what I learned. Even this far into my language study, I had never really known this before and so I’m glad my friend asked as it spurred me to look into the differences in greater detail. Any Japanese speaking readers, what do you think? Would you agree with this? Let me know! Looking forward to comments or opinions.

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Translation time: SIM Unlocking in Japan

As I browsed the many Japanese news sites I frequent these past few days, I came across an interesting article on SIM Unlocking in Japan. To give some background, there are three main phone carriers in Japan: Softbank (formerly Vodafone Japan), NTT DoCoMo, and AU by KDDI. NTT DoCoMo is the mobile phone brand of the NTT Communications company—sort of like the Telstra of Japan. All three companies provide relatively similar mobile phone services at similar prices. Another thing all three carriers have in common is that they lock the devices to their network and will not provide unlocking of the device even if you ask them to. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications have recently revealed plans that they want to make SIM Unlocking compulsory in Japan and this article discusses the issue a little more. Having just spent time in Japan, I was amazed that unlocking just was not something that was done.

In any case, here is my translation of the article with some of my own comments about it following on.

Original article:  総務省がSIMロック解除を義務化へ ── 各種割引制度はどうなる?

Translation:

Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to make SIM unlocking compulsory —— What will happen to the various current discounts?

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) has revealed plans to make it compulsory for mobile carriers to provide SIM Unlocking by 2015. But what is SIM Unlocking? And, if it were to be made compulsory, what exactly would change?

Compulsory SIM Unlocking will curb enclosure of customers1 and generate a more active mobile phone market

The majority of mobile phones and smartphones sold in Japan are carrier-restricted using something called “SIM Locking.” To use the device, you are required to insert a SIM card with a unique ID number attached to it. SIM Locking, then, means that if you try and insert this SIM card into the device of another carrier, you won’t be able to use it.

In Japan, phone carriers purchase mobile devices from the manufacturer and then sell them on to their customers. At times, incentives are paid to agencies in order to lower the cost of these devices. However, to prevent customers from purchasing phones at a cheap price from one carrier and then taking it across to a different carrier, SIM Locking is utilised.

On June 30, at the “7th Working Group for Sustainability and Revision of Consumer Protection Rules” held by the MIC’s “Research Committee on Consumer Issues with ICT Services”, mobile phone carriers were drawn attention to their obligation to provide SIM Unlocking. There are three causes—related to the current state of the mobile phone communications market—attributed to this, outlined in the draft Interim Report: the current market only has three major players; the only fierce competition is the squabble over and enclosure of existing users; and there are strong hints of a coordinated oligopoly.

Meanwhile, it was also pointed out that the usefulness of these devices is markedly limited after the contract has ended, customers’ free choice is prohibited as they are unable to use a local SIM card when travelling overseas, and this compromises convenience. As it is necessary to purchase a new mobile device when switching to a different carrier, this pushes switching costs up. This is considered a primary factor that inhibits competition, as well as one of the causes of cash back campaigns that are used when attracting new customers.

And, while carriers do provide users with discounts to monthly call charges proportionate to the monthly handset instalments, as well as large cash back deals, not only does this put a strain on competition between carriers, it also impedes the ability of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) 2    —that would struggle to provide cash backs in order to attract new customers—to obtain new customers and grow.

SIM Unlocking would make it possible to change carriers without purchasing a new phone

In fact, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications had drawn up the “Guidelines for SIM Unlocking” back in June 2010 and had hoped that carriers would be proactive in providing SIM Unlocking; however, the effort made by carriers to do this was limited and as such, the bold move was made to make SIM Unlocking compulsory. Now, if a carrier refuses to provide SIM Unlocking, it is currently under consideration, that a business improvement order be able to be issued to a non-complying company, under the Telecommunications Business Act. This is merely a stage of the Interim Report; however, upon enactment of a concrete plan, it is expected to be carried out in 2015, also.

So, what benefits are there for the average user if SIM Unlocking is to be made compulsory? Firstly, at present, if a person wants to switch carriers, they also have to purchase a new phone to do so. With SIM Unlocking, consumers will be able to change carriers without having to purchase a new phone. Presently, there aren’t any significantly noticeable differences in plan prices or network quality between carriers; however, if the MIC’s aim of pure market competition—including MVNOs—goes accordingly, prices will decrease, and we should start to see benefits from changing carriers, alone. Also, users travelling overseas on business or for holidays will also be able to use local SIM cards in their SIM-unlocked phones.

 A chance that various discounts will disappear; circumstances where you may not be so pleased about SIM Unlocking

However, you won’t necessarily be completely pleased with compulsory SIM Unlocking. For instance, discount systems like cheaper monthly call charges proportionate to the monthly handset instalments or large cash back deals are actually due to the fact that SIM Locking is in place. It should be no surprise that countries where unlocked handsets are the norm are the same countries that don’t have such discount systems in place; therefore, users in these countries must either pay for phones upfront or in monthly instalments. We also can’t deny the possibility that, in some instances, the total cost of purchasing the latest handset will become more expensive.

Given the various different plans Japanese mobile phone carriers have brought out to date, it is likely that even after SIM Unlocking is made compulsory, Japanese mobile phone carriers will develop different ways in order to enclose their customers. Just what exactly they will develop will depend on the carrier. One option may be to use this opportunity to move to an MVNO; however, we should first observe what each of the mobile carriers is going to do next.

Translator notes:
1.  This is a somewhat literal translation of the original article’s phrase 囲い込みの抑制 (kakoikomi no yokusei) where kakoikomi means “enclosure”. I considered other more natural sounding English phrases but considered this interesting. The connotations of the phrase make sense; however, in English we use the word “enclosure” in a more literal sense so you might be picturing these phone carriers herding their customers into cages to prevent them from changing carriers.

2. An MVNO is a mobile phone carrier that does not own any network infrastructure and instead pays money to a carrier that does own infrastructure to theirs to provide mobile phone services. In Japan, these are starting to gain popularity. One such example is B-Mobile—which uses the DoCoMo network. These MVNOs are generally cheaper than the main carriers but they are a no-frills service that purely provide data and calls and no extra media content that the main carriers are known to provide. An example in Australia would be something like Vaya Mobile who utilise the Optus Network to provide services to customers.

Discussion:
While by no means an overly technical piece, this definitely presented more challenges than my first post. The writing style of this article was more sophisticated and contained many expressions that did not have English equivalents. Given this, it was necessary to get my creative juices flowing to re-word these sentences whilst maintaining the author’s intended meaning. This is a problem I imagine I will frequently face when translating from Japanese to English so the more I practise, the better I’ll get.

Another difficulty was coming up with translations for the names of the working group and committee. I consulted the English version of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications website; however, this site contained very limited information in general and certainly no information about this particular issue.

Similar to this, translating the name of the Act cited in the article, 電気通信事業法 (denki tsūshin jigyō hō) was something I was at first unsure how to go about. After some Google searching, I came across this site that contains English translations of many different Japanese Law Titles so this was a great help and may come in handy in the future should I do any Legal translation.

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Translation Time: Dating at Disneyland!

Hello and welcome to my first translation post on this blog.

A website I frequently visit is called RocketNews24. The site—available in both Japanese and English—contains many entertaining articles covering the lesser covered news stories happening in the world right now. While the site is available in both Japanese and English, I frequently find that there are more articles available in Japanese that aren’t available on the English version and today I would like to share one of these. But first, a little background….

 

Tokyo Disneyland (sometimes referred to as TDL) is a common dating location for young couples in Tokyo. The article I have translated concerns women who say they would go on a date with a guy they don’t even consider to be their type—provided he invites her to Disneyland. So, without further ado, I present to you my translation. Some translator notes and some discussion points will follow the translation.

Original article: 【ハハッ】20代女子の3割以上が「タイプじゃない男でもディズニーランドに誘われたら行く」ことが判明

Translation:

[HAHA!] Over 30% of women in their 20s would go on a date to Disneyland with a man who isn’t even her type!

When you think of a dreamland filled with couples passionately in love, and close families, it has to be Disneyland!

Speaking honestly, as a writer who is not popular with women, Disneyland is a place I have no connection with—or so I thought! It has been revealed that over 30% of women in their 20s would go on a date to Disneyland if they were asked by a man who is not even their type!

According to a survey on questionnaire tool Mind Sonar, there is a 25% chance that a woman would go on a date to Disneyland if a guy who was not even her type asked them. However, if we look just at the responses of women in their 20s, there is a slightly higher chance (33%) that she will say yes.

When it comes to women in their 30s, this figure drops to just 15% but rises back up to 27% for women in their 40s. Surprisingly, 40% of women in their 50s would go on a date to Disneyland if asked by a man that’s not even their type. To think that this many women would go to Disneyland with a guy that they don’t even like! This has got to be good news for men, right?

When I spoke to Mikio Maihama(30s・alias), a person who says they love Disneyland and goes there once every three years, they had this to say:

 

“It’s because Disneyland is a magical place. No matter how repulsive a man, they can take a woman to Disneyland and cast a spell on the woman with the Disneyland Magic.

However, the effects only last within the grounds of Disneyland. Once you leave—much like the spell Cinderella was under when the clock struck midnight—the spell the woman is under will be broken. The only way to get it back is to buy another ticket and come to Disneyland again. *Laughter*”

 

But, even if at first you’re not their type, if you can show your attractive side at Disneyland, maybe you can change the woman’s mind!?

So, to any men wanting to get a girlfriend this summer, why not ask a girl to Disneyland? You may be surprised when she says yes! And for any guys chasing an older woman, your chances are even higher!

 

Translator Notes:
1. I can only assume this alias name was based on Mikio being close to Mickey Mouse, and Maihama being the name of the nearest train station to Disneyland.

Discussion:
Overall, this wasn’t too difficult a piece to translate but it did have its challenges—mainly stemming from some of the indirect expression choices from the writer of the original. These types of indirect expressions, if translated literally into English, would cause the translation to read quite awkwardly. Therefore, some thought is required to re-word the text.

Another challenge you may face when translating Japanese internet content is the inclusion of slang terms. One example from this article was キモメン (kimomen meaning “repulsive man”). As is the case in this instance, sometimes you can guess the meaning from knowledge of other Japanese words. In the case of kimomen, the adjective きもい (kimoi, meaning “disgusting”) has been fused together with メン (men in this case meaning man) to create this term. This particular word also appeared in the dictionary but some of the less-common slang terms probably wouldn’t. If the word isn’t quite so easy to work out its meaning, googling the phrase may return its meaning or at least bring up some further examples of its use and from there you would likely be able to deduce the meaning of the word. Slang terms are an issue for translators of all languages, I am sure; however, in Japanese, new slang terms are created all the time—with some only being used by certain social groups/circles—and so constant reading of content such as the articles published on RocketNews24 can certainly help you to keep up with the latest ones.

 

So that brings this post to a close. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any comments about the translation—such as suggestions for how you may have gone about translating it—please do leave a comment below.

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Welcome! / My Story

Hello! Welcome to my new blog, 訳に立てる (yaku ni tateru). As some of you may remember, my previous attempt at a blog—the one documenting my experiences on exchange in Japan—quickly fizzled out and the already infrequent updates ceased completely just a couple of months in. However, I am back with a new topic, and a new blog!

This is a blog on two things I am very passionate about: translation and language learning. I feel as though there is a bit to explain in starting this type of blog and like most things, it only makes sense to start at the beginning.

My story: how it all started
It would be quite correct in saying that language learning for me, was fairly serendipitous. While many decide to study a language because they want to, I initially never had any intentions to study a foreign language.

It all started in early 2004. From birth until that time, I had been raised in, and attended primary school in Sydney, Australia. The family decided that we would be making the move to Queensland. Understandably, I had many reservations about this and was not exactly for the idea. Leaving the friends I had made and grown up with, to move over 1000km away. At the young age of 11, it’s a lot to take on. Nevertheless, I joined my family in this move. I had been in my final year of primary school in Sydney and so, transferred to a school in Queensland and picked up where I had left off. Being primary school, much of what I experienced in Sydney was the same as primary school in Queensland—with one difference…. at primary school in Queensland, students studied a foreign language! Having never studied a language before, I was understandably intrigued at the notion but this was short-lived.

The language you studied depended on the school you attended and in my case, it was Japanese. Going into my first lesson, I felt quite intimidated as the other students in the class had already been learning for a couple of years and I knew nothing more than how to say “hello” and “goodbye”… The teacher was nice enough to give me some extra help; however, a short time later, he had to leave for his own personal reasons. His replacement was less than helpful and expected that we all knew a fair amount of the language. Her teaching methods did not at all seem catered to the primary school audience she was meant to be teaching, either. As you can probably imagine, this did not create the greatest first impression to studying Japanese and as such, I was not overly motivated to continue this for much longer.

In 2005, having graduated primary school, I moved across to high school. I entered the closest school to where I lived—it was literally down the road. Not surprisingly, the foreign language education requirement was also in effect for the first year of high school, as well. At high school, however, you had a choice! The languages offered by my high school were Japanese and Italian—the two most commonly taught languages at the primary schools in the catchment area. I liked the idea of studying Italian more so than Japanese—given the poor experiences I had in primary school—and pleaded so much to change. The school, however, told me that because I had attended a primary school that taught Japanese, that I should continue with it. Frustrated, but no longer wanting to fight a losing battle, I decided to solider on with it knowing that it was only for the year and I could drop it at the end of the year never to look back, again.

I guess my worries were that the language would pick up from where primary school left off and I would continue to be behind everybody else in the class. BUT! I was wrong! At high school, everything started from the beginning again. I was slowly able to gain the foundations of the language that are required to learn the harder stuff. In addition, my teacher in high school was lovely and offered a lot of support if you needed it! Just a few weeks into high school, I had gone from loathing the study of Japanese to not being able to get enough of it. I got into the habit of studying Japanese every day. Additionally, I started researching into the culture, the country, and its customs. I got into the pop cultural side of things, too—listening to music and watching Japanese television programs whenever I could. And it was these television programs that gave me the motivation to keep going. Obviously, when starting out, I couldn’t possibly watch these shows without the assistance of English subtitles; however, I knew that with enough study, I would one day be able to watch them without subtitles, and so I set myself that very goal. (And I was going to change to Italian!!)

And so, each year during high school, I made sure Japanese was the first subject to go on my subject choice forms. I had developed such an infatuation with the language, the culture, and the country. I had not yet been to Japan but could not wait to get the opportunity to go. In 2008, my school organised a two-week trip to Japan which I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in. We visited Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. In addition, we spent a week at our sister school in Saitama Prefecture and were fortunate enough to live with host families for that week. Living with the host family gave me the opportunity to experience daily life in Japan first-hand, and I loved every minute of it.

I completed Japanese as part of my senior schooling, and graduated with a very high mark—top of the class. And to think, just a few years prior to that, I had loathed studying the language entirely.

Having graduated high school at the end of 2009, I moved onto university in 2010. I chose The University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane, Australia, as it has a good reputation amongst the Australian universities. I initially enrolled in an Arts/Business dual degree and made the easy decision to complete an Extended Major in Japanese Language as part of the Arts component. A year in, I decided I did not enjoy the Business side of my studies and made the decision to drop to a single Arts degree. This took some serious thought, as I knew that purely majoring in Japanese would make things extremely difficult as far as careers were concerned. However, this was what I enjoyed and I knew that with hard work, I could make it work.

So I continued my university studies and in 2013, I took part in the UQ Abroad exchange program and studied in Japan for a year. UQ had many exchange partnerships with universities in Japan; however, on recommendation from my lecturer, I chose to go to Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo. This is one of Japan’s leading national universities and is well-known for its Law, Commerce, and Economics faculties. I studied Japanese language subjects designed for exchange students, as well as Global Studies classes in topics including Sociology, Japanese culture, and Management. Living in Japan at such a young age gave me a lot of unique experiences and challenges and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time there.

In March this year, I returned from Japan after being there for roughly one full year. I was fortunate enough to obtain all my remaining credits in Japan—and these transferred across to my degree at UQ—and will be officially graduating with a Bachelor of Arts with an Extended Major in Japanese on July 25, 2014.

So… what’s next?
As I mentioned earlier, there’s a lot to consider when choosing to study a language. The career options can be very limited and these limitations can be even more severe depending on how proficient you become in the language.

Over the past few months, I’d considered a number of different options for what I would do next—each with their own pros and cons. My first plan was to travel back to Japan on a Working Holiday Visa, do some beach and snow resort work and other odd jobs and see what life had in store for me. I had been accepted for a beach resort position starting in early June; however, due to some initial credit transfer issues that had me thinking I would need to complete an extra subject next semester in order to graduate, I had to turn down their offer for the time being. At the same time, I had been taking part in the official Japanese job-hunting process. (就職活動 shūshoku katsudō) This epic phenomenon is worthy of its own post so I will leave that for a later time. In any case, recently I had received an offer (内定 naitei) to a fairly well-known company in Japan. At first, I was somewhat excited and was thinking of accepting their offer. After giving it some more thought, I knew that something about it just wasn’t quite for me (again, look out for the post on job-hunting and Japanese work culture) and decided not to take it.

Feeling more and more lost, I wasn’t sure where I would go next. However, one thing that I have always enjoyed was translating. I do the occasional job on a translation website—translating basic documents from Japanese into English—and really enjoy myself when doing so. With knowledge of two languages, and enjoying translation as much as I do, I knew that translation and interpreting is where I should head next and so, have made the decision to pursue further study and do my masters!

At my university, UQ, there is a rather unique masters program called the Masters of Arts in Japanese Interpreting and Translation, or, MAJIT for short. This program is specifically catered for bilingual speakers of Japanese and English and provides intensive, technical training in both translation and interpreting. The program is one of only two of its kind in the world and is highly regarded; as such, this is where I have set my sights. Of course, the work is going to be tough and entry is not guaranteed—I will have to sit an aptitude test later on this year—but it is something I want to work hard on and will be doing my best.

So, what about this blog?
This all leads to the creation of this blog. As I stated at the beginning, translation and language learning are two things that I have a very keen interest in. I have dabbled in other languages in the past and love how languages work. Additionally, I enjoy the difficult task of translating things so that they can reach a much wider readership than if they were only available in the one language.

And so, I have created this blog. The name of this blog, 訳に立てる is a play on words and is explained further on the About Me & FAQ page, so please check that out. Please also check out that page for a little bit more about me. I must also give thanks to a good friend of mine, Manori, for suggesting that title in the first place.

What will I be doing on this blog? Well, a few things, really. First and foremost, it is an environment where I can freely practise translating. If I come across any interesting things written in Japanese, I will translate these into English and post my translations, here. Additionally, I would like to discuss any issues I had in the translation process. Secondly, for any readers interested, I would like to educate you a little more on the translating and interpreting professions—discussing issues, news, and how to get accredited as an interpreter or a translator. Lastly, also as a blog on language learning, I would like to provide tips on learning a language. Obviously with Japanese being my background, some tips may be specific to Japanese; however, I hope that I can provide more general tips for people learning other languages, also.

As yet, I have not developed any sort of schedule as to when, and what, I will post. But I hope to update as regularly as possible. I already have a few ideas for posts so look out for those soon. Additionally, if you have any questions or ideas for posts, please do leave a comment.

I would like to thank anybody who has read this far down and I hope to make future posts not quite so long.

Bye for now!

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