Bilingual Japanese Jobs

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Knowing how to speak two different languages is highly valuable, not only in social situations, but also professionally. Becoming educated in a second language other than one's native tongue will be highly beneficial in a career. To put it simply, knowing more than one language makes a person more valuable to a company, making them less expendable.

One of the more uncommon second languages people take the time to learn is Japanese. Many English-speaking individuals may learn Spanish, Italian, French, German, and Russian more frequently than they would Japanese. There are many factors why, one being geography. The United States is right above Mexico, a Spanish-speaking country. Other factors may include students who travel to popular countries such as Italy, Germany, and Russia may have to learn the languages to speak with other students.

There are two types of bilingual Japanese jobs: translators and interpreters. Translators, simply put, translate the written word. Interpreters work with the spoken word. There are two types of interpretation: consecutive and simultaneous. In short, simultaneous interpreters speak while the other speaker is talking at the same time. Consecutive interpreters wait until the speaker has said a few sentences and then interpret it afterwards. Depending how refined one’s skills are will determine which type of work is best suited for an individual.



There are various occupations for people interested in bilingual Japanese jobs, such as tour guides, medical interpreters, judiciary interpreters, localization translators, conference interpreters, and literary translators. It really comes down to a person’s individual interests. There is no standard or guideline for learning a second language, because there are various ways to do so, such as spending time abroad, taking online courses, or attending traditional universities. Installing software enabling your computer to handle Japanese text is a must if you decide to take up this language.

Translators and interpreters may work a standard 40-hour week, 5 days a week. In many cases translators’ and interpreters’ schedules are not solid. Sometimes they are self-employed. Typically those who work in the translating field will deal with business letters, contracts, dot-coms, and patents.

Overall, translators and interpreters are expected to grow over the next decade because of numerous factors. Many companies may want to expand in other foreign markets, countries may be developing relations with other countries not of their own language, and homeland security translators and interpreters will increase in demand. Technology does play a role in eliminating translation jobs, but the technology isn’t as accurate as real-life human translators.

The Japanese Learning Proficiency Test, or JLPT, can be taken in Japan or outside of Japan, and will allow an individual to demonstrate their Japanese language skills. It consists of four parts. There are various organizations that help interpreters and translators advance their skills to the highest level which includes the American Translators Association, National Council on Interpreting Healthcare, and the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators. Nihongo-Bashi is a Japanese education and training service that helps businesses with the necessary language proficiency and etiquette and the Institute of Interpreters and Translators (ITI).

Earnings will obviously depend on factors such as experience, location, language translated or interpreted, skills, and certification. Hourly wages can range from $12–$30. Freelance translators typically earn not by the hour, but by the word.

Not to overwhelm anyone thinking of taking Japanese as a second language, but there are over 10,000 characters and three different alphabets, compared to the English alphabet of twenty-six letters.
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