The Japanese Language Interest Group
Back by Popular Demand: 2nd Annual Translation / Interpreting Workshop
by Agnes Li
After several months of planning, the Japanese Language Interest Group of STIBC held the 2nd Annual J-E • E-J Translation / Interpreting Workshop, co-sponsored by the Society of Translators and Interpreters of British Columbia (STIBC) and the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association (JCCA), Japanese Language Committee, on April 25, 2009 at Nikkei Heritage Centre in Burnaby.
The format of this year’s workshop changed from last year’s seminar style to a more hands-on approach where the participants were asked to choose and translate two of the four given topics and bring their translation to the workshop. Twenty-four participants arrived promptly and the workshop got off to an energetic start.
The workshop opened with a warm-up exercise led by Kumi Hardin in which participants were asked to identify the English equivalents of the “Japanized” foreign loan words written in katakana. As the enthusiastic participants shouted out their answers, Ms. Hardin added interesting trivia behind some of the loan words. By the end of the warm up, the participants were eager and raring to move on to the hands-on translation portion of the workshop.
The translation portion of the workshop began with English to Japanese translation. The participants separated into two groups as determined by which topic they chose to translate. The cultural topic for this workshop was an article on Kodo, taiko performers in Japan. This group was facilitated by Tatsuo Kage. The technical topic was an article on Toyota as a domestic automaker in Canada. This group was facilitated by Yasuko Garlick. The participants in each group gathered close to their respective facilitators and shared their translations. For the next forty minutes, the participants were encouraged to ask questions and share whatever difficulties they may have had in completing the translation.
After a short break, the participants regrouped for the Japanese to English translation workshop. The cultural topic for this workshop was an article on the movie Ramen Girl. This group was facilitated by Yuko Ikegami Lee and Agnes Li. The technical topic was an article on ultrasound imaging of unborn babies. This group was facilitated by Stan Fukawa. Again, the participants shared their translations. An interesting exchange of ideas ensued for the next forty minutes.
This was followed by a fifteen-minute break and networking session. The participants took advantage of this time to enjoy some pineapple buns generously donated by Suzuya and to chat with their peers. There was an excited buzz around the room as participants circulated to catch up with old friends and make new ones.
The pleasant mood of the break and networking session spilled over to the sight translation workshop presented by Masaru Nagashima. Mr. Nagashima peppered his workshop with the right amount of humour to keep the workshop both entertaining and informative. Before launching into the hands-on part of the workshop, Mr. Nagashima declared that his goal was to not only be bilingual, but to be “bow-lingual” as well. The participants roared into laughter as they realized that the next slide of his PowerPoint presentation was that of his pet dog. After grabbing the attention of the participants with this joke, Mr. Nagashima began the sight translation exercise on the timely topic of Tax Free Savings Account.
The final workshop of the day was a special presentation by Masako Sharpe. Ms. Sharpe introduced participants to a voice recognition software that she has incorporated into her workflow to great effect. She demonstrated the use of the software and discussed the software’s pros and cons. The participants listened attentively as they considered the possibility of incorporating the software into their own workflow.
All in all, the J-E • E-J Translation / Interpreting Workshop was a big success. Once again, the Japanese Language Interest Group was able to provide a continuing education opportunity for STIBC members and non-members alike to learn from each other. An initial review of the evaluation form revealed a positive response from all the participants. The workshop met the expectations of almost all the participants. In addition, an overwhelming number of participants expressed a desire to attend similar workshops in the future. Suggested topics for future workshops included a thorough discussion of the grammatical differences between English and Japanese and a seminar on what it takes to make a living as a translator or interpreter. For the hands-on translation workshops, participants suggested such diverse topics as the translation of court documents and hospital brochures.
The evaluation form reflects a healthy interest in and a substantial need for these kinds of workshops in the Japanese language community. The Japanese Language Interest Group feels fortunate to be able to provide such a venue for people to learn, grow and network. Stay tuned for more workshops in the near future.
Agnes Li is a certified translator from Japanese to English and has been a member of STIBC since 2005. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Asian Studies from the University of British Columbia. While she loves her day job as a graphic designer, she finds intrigue in crafting the perfect translation for her freelance work.