Categories
General Topic

Japanese greetings

日本語RomajiEnglish meaning
ありがとうございますArigatou gozaimasuThank you
どういたしましてDou itashimashiteMention not
おめでとうございますOmedeto gozaimasuCongratulations
おはようございますOhayo gozaimasuGood morning
こんにちはKonnichiwaHello / Good afternoon
こんばんはKonbanwaGood evening
おやすみなさいOyasuminasaiGood night
もしもしMoshi moshiHello (on phone)
お名前は何ですかO namaewa nan desukaWhat is your name?
私は__ですWatashiwa ___ desuI am ____
お元気ですかOgenki desukaHow are you?
元気ですGenki desuI am fine
只今TadaimaI am just back home
いらっしゃいませIrasshaimaseWelcome (home, shop, hotel etc.)
行ってきますItte kimasuI will go and come back
いってらっしゃいItterasshaiYes please / bon voyage
ようこそYoukosoWelcome
いただきますItadakimasuI will have it
乾杯KanpaiCheers 🍻
ごちそうさまでしたGochisou sama deshitaThank you for treating me
失礼しますShitsurei shimasuWhile entering senior’s cabin / Excuse me
お大事にOdaijiniGet well soon
よいお年をお迎えくださいYoi otoshi o omukae kudasaiHappy new year (till 31st Dec)
明けましておめでとうございますAkemashite omedetou gozaimasuHappy new year (from 1st Jan)
では又Dewa mataSee you soon
さようならSayounaraBye

Come closer to Japanese people by greeting them in their language 😃

Categories
General Topic

Know more about Japan

Till now we learned about working with Japanese, Japanese translation and interpretation techniques. Now the time has come to know about their country, the land where sun rises first.

When we speak a word JAPAN, our imagination restricts to short height, hardworking people, sumo wrestlers and one of the developed country, for seniors it might be movie “Love in Tokyo” … but it is not only that. NIPPON日本 known to world as “JAPAN” is land of rising sun. A beautiful country with warm people having a very high standard of living, highly developed country with all advanced technologies, everything which today’s gen is looking for.

Glimpses of Japan:

1)      Japanese language is written in 3 basic scripts; Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji. Native Japanese script Hiragana and Katakana are 46 characters each, while 2000 kanji simplified from Chinese characters are also in common use in Japan. Kanji can be read in two ways: The Chinese way, onyomi (音読み), and the Japanese way, kunyomi (訓読み).

Generally, in Japan newspaper, magazines, comics are written vertically from right to left.

2)      Yen is the currency of Japan. Our finance guys might be aware it is 3rd strongest currency in foreign exchange trade followed by Dollar and Euro.

3)      Earlier TOKYO TOWER (333m height) was tallest tower in Japan, but now it’s SKYTREE (634m height) tallest tower in world (I visited TOKYO TOWER in 2009 and SKYTREE in 2013 😃).

4)      Did you ever hear a highway passing from building? Yes, it’s in Osaka. 5th, 6th, 7th floor of 16F building are blocked as highway is passing from that building. Gate Tower Building, is the first building to have a highway pass through it (I once got chance to pass through this highway. Structure is out of imagination 😃).

5)      Kobe bridge is the longest bridge (it has the longest central span of any suspension bridge in the world…source Wikipedia)

6)      Sakura(桜) national flower of Japan blossom from March end till April end, period varies by region and weather. The blossom is only for 2-3 days and generally Japanese celebrate those 2-3 days as cherry blossom viewing party (hanami 花見). Japanese are especially fond of this flower. Hence, the Sakura tree is planted nationwide. Sakura flower is stamped on 100-yen coin. Also, Sakura is printed on traditional Japanese textile. Not only that but “Sakura-sakura” is the well-known Japanese song taught in elementary school.

7)      Mount Fuji 3,776m tall. Japanese believe that if you are lucky you climb mount Fuji at least once in your life. (I have been to Japan for several times; visited various places and monuments but still not got chance to climb mount FUJI 😞).

8)      Where can you see 7 wonders of the world at one place? It’s in Tobu World Square, Tochigi. Replica of 7 wonders and famous sculptures are displayed in this theme park. (I once visited Tobu World Square, but due to time constraint I could see only few of them).

9)      Premium Friday concept: As Japanese people are hard workers and due to tremendous work pressure suicide percentage is also high in Japan, so recently the Japanese Government has introduced a concept called “Premium Friday”, which is last Friday of every month. In this, companies encourage employees to end work by 3:00pm and start weekend early for enjoying with family and friends.

10)   National sport: Sumo, national flower: Cherry blossom (Sakura), national fruit: Kaki, two top-ranking universities in Japan: University of Tokyo and Kyoto University, famous Japanese food: sushi, tempura, ramen, udon, soba, miso soup, yakitori, okonomiyaki, kare raisu (curry with rice), onigiri, gyudon, katsudon, green tea.

Actually there is lot more to say 😃…

Categories
General Topic

Working with Japanese people – Part 2

11)   When going for a meeting, strictly adhere to timelines. You are expected to have taken a prior appointment. An agenda of meeting should be decided mutually beforehand. Required documents should have been shared. Concerned people should have been informed beforehand. There should be no room for surprises, chaos or mismanagement.

Statistical data if any should be kept handy. Wherever possible, create/share data in visual format (diagrams, graphs, pictures) which is easier to understand.

Mention the contents in emails or document in Bullet-points rather than writing an essay-like text.

12)   Always remember HouRenSou (Houkoku: Reporting, Renraku: Communicating, Soudan: Consulting)

13)   As mentioned in my earlier blog, the Japanese people do not like going ‘paperless’. You can see them carrying bunch of printouts for meeting. If you are hosting the meeting, you may be expected to carry important documents printed out in number enough for all participants.

14)   Anticipate the things in advance. If you see any problems/issues, bring them to notice of your Japanese counterpart. The Japanese don’t like surprises in work.

15)   The Japanese appreciate innovations. However, they may be slow in implementing changes.

16)   Check your understanding by asking questions. Many a times, the Japanese do not clearly state “Yes” or “No”. But, you may ask questions/ ask to repeat certain point and confirm that your understanding is correct. Politely apologize for asking repeatedly.

17)   Environment at work places or offices is formal. Informal talks / personal talks or chit-chatting / talking personal matters on phone is not done in offices.

For informal talks with colleagues/customers, there is a custom of after-work socialization (Nomikai飲み会-drinking party). This is not just for relaxing or entertainment, but important from business point of view as one can actually get to know the counterpart through such informal meetings. Even if you don’t drink, it is important that you participate in such meets.

18)   Directly coming to point of business right at the beginning of the informal meeting, or pin-pointing might sound stern. Initial warm-up talk like casual conversation should always be there. It helps in building relationship.

Don’t be surprised if you are asked personal questions (about your family, spouse, your age etc.) especially by older Japanese people.

19)   If you are invited for a lunch or dinner meeting or a get-together, be prepared to pay your contribution of bill, in most of the situations.

20)   Clean and neat appearance is important. Many Japanese people tend to judge a person by his/her appearance and dressing. Dressing formally is a part of Japanese Work Culture. Especially when meeting customers, wearing business suit is a must.

21)   Avoid sharp eye contact.

22)   If you speak English, speak slowly and without any specific accent. Slow and clear talk always enhances understanding of the Japanese counterpart.

Thus, this ‘Land of Rising Sun’ is definitely a likable place to work at, with warm people having a very high standard of living, highly developed country with all advanced technologies … everything one might want!

So, let’s go EAST 😃…

Categories
General Topic

Working with Japanese people

In last few years, I got many opportunities to interact with the Japanese people, in Japan as well as in India. Working with the Japanese people never gave me “cultural shock”, but rather gave a feeling of “familiarity” as compared to westerners, may be because the Japanese and the Indians are all part of the same “Asian” or “Eastern” culture. Definitely, there are some things to be understood, experienced and kept in mind, which will make you more comfortable while working with the Japanese.

1)      Developing and nurturing good and long relationships is always like having a ‘good credit history’. It can open many doors for you. Building trust may take time. Once you build trust, you can expect and enjoy long-term healthy relationships with the Japanese. However, one should not breach the trust.

2)      Working as a group/team is expected rather than showing your individuality.

3)      Generally, the Japanese do not take decision alone-even the persons on managerial posts. Several people are involved in decision-making, hence such process might be slow.

4)      Learning/showing desire to learn from seniors is expected/appreciated.

5)      The Japanese people follow hierarchy at work. Seniors are highly respected by juniors.

Hierarchy is taken into consideration while allotting seats in meeting room. Person with higher ranks sit on the side of screen/projector/board, and those with lower ranks generally sit on side closer to door.

6)      There is an exchange of business cards in first meeting. Treating others’ business cards with respect is important. Cards should be handled with both hands and gently. Avoid writing on cards or throwing them casually in your bag etc. as this shows disrespect.

7)      You should show enthusiasm on your face towards work. Showing unwillingness/tiredness towards work or any kind of negative emotions on your face or even in your voice is not accepted.

8)      Many Japanese are introvert by nature. So, if you are new and need help, go and ask for it. Once asked, many a times they go out-of-the-way to help you.

9)      Be ready to do various kinds of tasks – not only whatever is instructed to you, but the related tasks too. General Indian tendency is doing only whatever is told. But this approach may not work in Japan. You need to take interest in overall work, apart from your own task.

A person with multi-dimensional skills is more appreciated. In business meetings, a Japanese counterpart may ask your opinion about something that is not related to your work. If he gets some insight or really good opinion from you, he will be happy and start looking to you as a useful person. Hence, being versatile and equipped with latest knowledge is an advantage.

10) At the same time, do not show-off your skills/knowledge unnecessarily. Be modest (don’t be overconfident) when expressing your opinion. Self-praise or self-promotion should be avoided…. Continue

Categories
General Topic

Interpretation

In language career Interpretation (通訳) is always more challenging than translation (翻訳). Interpretation is verbal and translation is in writing. In my earlier blog, I explained about translation techniques, challenges etc. Now let’s understand what Interpretation mean and qualities required?

Interpretation is more challenging than translation because in case of translation you have source language document in writing and you can refer dictionary, have time to think on the document etc.; whereas in case of interpretation it is face to face on table. There is no time to refer dictionary and think on much. Interpretation is an act of explaining to a person who doesn’t understand source language.

Following qualities are required for interpretation:

1)      Be a good listener

Simultaneous interpretation is one type of interpretation. It means interpret what is said in real time while the speaker is still speaking. Interpreter needs to listen with full concentration. I have experienced English à Japanese simultaneous interpretation many times in my previous organization. It’s quite stressful type of interpretation. It is generally preferred in large scale meetings and important thing is pause in conversation is not allowed. Though it is stressful I have gained amazing experiences in this type.

Consecutive interpretation is another type which is comparatively easier.

2)      Vast vocabulary of source language and target language as well as domain knowledge;

Generally knowing meaning of words in other language does not suffice. One should be aware of the mechanism, function etc.; it really helps while interpreting in other language.

Due to environmental norms getting stringent product A of my previous organization was in verge of getting change to product B. We interpreters had knowledge of product A as it was manufactured for few years, but while changing to product B, that knowledge was not with us. I remember one incident, once R&D engineers from Japan had visited us for training our Engineers on product B. But the technology was new for all of us, we interpreters also had limited vocabulary (frankly speaking Japanese to English dictionary words we had by hearted which did not fully work). That was a hurdle in interpretation and I was not able to convey exact mechanism of product explained by Japanese to Indian Engineers. Seniors were aware about this and end result, management decided to send 1 interpreter along with Engineers to Japan for getting trained on product B. I traveled to Japan for 2 weeks, had hard training and after returning had to percolate information gained to other interpreters on new product.

3)      Cope with stress and self-control;

Example of stress and self-control, in my previous organization once a meeting started at 4:45pm (being manufacturing company our office hours were 8:00am to 5:00pm fix). As I was heading interpreter department I was immediately called in meeting room. I was aware about the seriousness of the topic for which meeting was called. Quickly I called my mom and told her “आई आज 7:30च्या शीफ्टच्या बसनी येते, कारण आता एक मिटींग सुरू होती आहे L”. The supposedly short meeting lasted till 10:15pm. As an Interpreter you have to be continuously on toes in such type of meetings, have patience, and be attentive… no snacks in between, no natural call break … havoc

After meeting my Director said, “so Amruta, looking tired…”

I just asked him “सर मी घरी फोन करून आई -बाबांशी मराठीत बोलू का?”. He laughed loud and permitted me…. Husssh. But end result, I got to travel to Sri Lanka for 10 days along with technical team (Japanese and Indian). In Sri Lanka we had hired Sri Lankan language (Sinhala) interpreter. He was interpreting Sinhala  à English and I was interpreting English à Japanese and vice versa. Though the meetings were lasting for hours for single topic, it was good learning experience for me too. The same experience I gained in Italy (Italian à English à Japanese).

In my previous organization I have experienced such meeting many times.

4)      Cultural awareness

<<I will give example of this in blog “My Experiences”>>

An Interpreter bridges the gap between two people speaking different language. The role of Interpreter is to convey information accurately from one language to another. While doing so, he/she should be as a neutral party, not add his/her personal or emotional feelings, not omit key words or summarize the message, should be aware of professional and ethical responsibilities. The role of the interpreter is to not only convey the words between the participants in the communication process, but also need to make sure that the goal of the topic is clear and that all-important aspects are properly conveyed and understood. Hence, Interpreters play a very vital role. Due to globalization, interpreters and translators are in high demand now 😃.

Categories
General Topic

Translation

For last few years, I am working as a Japanese translator. Frankly speaking, word to word translation is an imperfect concept, because a given word in a given language often carries more than one meaning; and because a similar given meaning may often be represented in a given language by more than one word. With Globalization, demand of business documentation is increasing, due to which generally documents are maintained in multiple languages such as English language and national language. Hence translation plays a vital role.

The literal meaning of Translation means, communication from the source language text converting with effective meaning into target language text. It is the process of translating words or text from one language into another language.

Though translation is an art, it is not easy at all. For a translation to be true or to convey appropriate meaning the translator must know both languages. And knowledge related to the documents domain is always an additional advantage. The translator’s role is as a bridge for “carrying across” values between cultures and by no means is an inactive and mechanical one. The features of competent translators are as follows;

1)    A very good knowledge of the source language, written and spoken.

2)    An excellent command on the language into which he / she is expected to translate (target language)

3)    Familiarity with the subject matter of the text being translated.

4)    Sense of when to “translate literally” and when to “paraphrase”, so as to assure true translation between the source and target language.

5)    A competent translator must not only be bilingual but also bicultural.

Challenges faced while translating Japanese to English or vice versa;

The script of Asian languages such as Japanese, Chinese etc. is different from the Western languages. Japanese is written in combination of three scripts: Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji (originated from Chinese characters). The Japanese Ministry of Education designated 1,945 characters as “Jooyou Kanji” (常用漢字), which is the most frequently, used characters. Similar phonetic words indicate different meaning with different kanji’s. While translating from source language to target language which is Japanese or vice versa, translator should know the appropriate usage and meaning of kanji.

Though Japanese are much a head in technology, they do not prefer going ‘paperless’J. You can see them carrying bunch of printouts for meeting. These printouts are often in two languages: Japanese (for Japanese counterpart) as well as English (for non-Japanese counterpart). Hence there is need to match meaning in whichever language.

There is a concept called as “back translation or retranslate”. A “back-translation” is a translation of a translated text back into the language of the original text, made without reference to the original text. Comparison of a back-translation with the original text is sometimes used to validate the accuracy of the translation. Generally in the context of machine translation, a back-translation is also called a “round-trip translation.”

Normally a Japanese person even though he can speak and understand English prefers all documents to be in Japanese. Hence there is great demand for Japanese bilingual translators 😄……