水曜日, 9月 08, 2004

Probably Not Recontracting

    I want to get a job using Japanese, not English. This job isn't challenging me. When I think of my aspirations and goals in life, how many of them would I get closer to by spending a third year on the JET program? I'm almost ready to move on, already, and I still have almost a year left in my current contract. Therefore, despite my love for Japan, I'm seriously considering NOT recontracting next year.

    In a way I'm shocked that I'm even considering this path, since I love Japan so much. But job satisfaction is important to me, too. I've always liked to be busy, and to feel needed at work.

Two job search possiblities after JET appeal to me right now:

Hong Kong - when I was in Hong Kong I pored through the job listings. I found a few that were recruiting people with Japanese ablity to work for Japanese companies, or companies that did business with Japan. That sounds exciting to me, and I'd like to try it. I'd love to have more time to explore Hong Kong.

Seattle/Redmond - Microsoft, Amazon, and Nintendo - and the smaller companies that contract with these three giants - often recruit for employees with Japanese ability. I'm interested in software, e-commerce, and video games, so jobs in these fields are attractive. An obvious plus is being close to my family and friends in that area. I'm also interested in the UW Extension course in Software Localization. When I last looked into it, it started in September, and was a year-long certificate program with classes in the evening. If I decide to return to my home country (scary thought!) I could start it as soon as next year. Then look for a job as Project Manager localizing Japanese software, which would be sweet.

In a way it scares me that I'm considering leaving Japan as soon as a year from now. But if I'm bored by my job now, at the beginning of my second year, the boredom will only get worse as I teach the same lessons again and again for another fall, winter and spring. And 3 years on JET is not going to look any better to a future employer than 2 years on JET. Better to move on, and collect some of the job skills I'll need in other areas. I need more than Japanese ability to get my dream job - I need to know about something else, too. I can always come back to Japan, and I will.


  • At 9:30 午前, Blogger Matt said…

    I'm a little worried about how future employees will look on three years in JET, myself. I think getting out after two years and looking for something else would probably make a more dynamic impression than riding it out as long as possible. But I still like my job at least 3/4 of the time, and the money and free time aspect are just too useful, from a "preparing to live in Japan" perspective. I'm addicted.

  • At 10:21 午前, Blogger butterflyblue said…

    I anticipate being asked on interviews how I used my time in Japan. It somehow seems a lot easier to account for 2 years than 3.
    I have looked for software localization courses in Japan and I just couldn't find anything. There are game design schools, but I'm afraid I just don't have any ability at programming. I'm drawn to tech work but I can't do the hard stuff - I want to be mildly technical and concentrate on cool cultural and linguistic things instead. I like QA, proofreading and game testing jobs better than English teaching - I like taking a flawed product and making it perfect. I don't want to teach English anymore, and the translation job market here seems fairly saturated. I also don't want to be an ordinary 社員 who works a billion hours of overtime. Home - that is, Seattle - is starting to look more attractive, as long as I can promise myself I'll return to Japan at some point in the future.
    What kind of job to you hope to get after JET?

  • At 6:10 午後, Blogger Matt said…

    I'm hoping I'll end up a translator, saturated though the market is as you say.. ideally translating interesting things like novels and video games, but probably just contracts and gas company pamphlets, at least for the first few years. Decades. Rebirths.

    So hopefully answering "why, the Japanese you're listening to me speak right now!" to the what-did-you-learn-after-3-years-on-JET question will be enough. It all depends on how much I learn, I suppose, which is why I have to push! push! push!

  • At 5:56 午前, Blogger Evelyn said…

    Thanks for your suggestions on JLPT - saw this posting - translation market is saturated? in what areas? I am asking because I like to read Japanese novels, but I am not quite literate yet. There are many titles that I can find a Chinese translation for but not an English translation... How does the market work ... Usually only well known authors get their work translated and published? Thanks, Evelyn

  • At 6:39 午前, Blogger Matt said…

    The translation market for novels into English from any other language is just small, period.. I'm hoping that'll change, and/or I can get a piece of the pie anyway (maybe electronic distribution will help, since it greatly reduces the costs of taking a chance for publishers), but there it is. The reason you can't find that many Japanese books in translation in any given year is just because not many are published, not because there aren't enough people willing to translate them.

    (By contrast, I don't know about China but Korea gets all the major Japanese novels within a few months of their release here, and I think Russia gets the Murakamis at least much faster.)

    Translation of comics and games is a much more lively industry, but there are a million people out there doing it for -free-.. talk about saturation.

    The vast majority of translators make their money doing stuff like pamphlets for the gas company and websites for the government -- not that exciting, but it pays the bills. But this is not a new industry and Japan's economy is not doing so well, so there aren't exactly a huge glut of great positions like this.

  • At 2:35 午後, Blogger butterflyblue said…

    All we need to do is learn Korean, then we can have a field day translating Japanese novels.

  • At 2:10 午前, Blogger Evelyn said…

    Taiwan translates a lot of Japanese novels soon after release, especially best sellers, like "Sekai no chuusin de, ai wo sakebu". I read it in Chinese, it was okay, but I don't know why it sold so well, just teenage love story. For more well-known authors' works, there would be many versions by different publishers, like Kawabata Yasunari. The quality of translation in some of the Chinese books I read doesn't seem so good because I can notice the sentence and idea doesn't flow well. English translation ones I've read are all pretty good - probably because they are very selective on which novels to translate to begin with and it is not geared towards mass production?
    Thanks, Evelyn

  • At 2:43 午前, Blogger Evelyn said…

    Article on small company in NYC trying to promote/translate Japanese works

  • At 8:59 午前, Blogger butterflyblue said…

    Great article, Evelyn! Thanks! I'm glad to hear American readers are becoming more interested in translated Japanese lit. Hopefully it will create more work for translators.

    I saw the movie of Sekai no Chuushin de Ai wo Sakebu and I agree it wasn't great - too melodramatic, and it probably wouldn't go over well in the U.S. The script and the acting were nice, but it was just a formula tearjerker without any kind of deeper meaning or relevance.

    I agree with your theory about why English translations are smoother. It's certainly not because of any similarity between English and Japanese...

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