Project Tokyo

Of the professional organizations related to translation in Japan, the Japan Association of Translators is my favorite. JAT has regular monthly meetings and less frequent and larger special meetings. Until recently, the special meetings were annual International Japanese English Translation conferences, which last two or three days and are held in Japan in alternate years. The next IJET is 14-15 February 2009 in Sydney, Australia. IJETs are very good, but on 22 November JAT organized a new kind of meeting, a one-day  intensive in Tokyo: Project Tokyo
People attended from all over Japan and many other countries as well. The sessions were mostly panels with several speakers and a moderator who welcomed questions and comments from the audience. Among the participants were many new and aspiring translators looking to learn from the many experienced pros in attendance. Attendance was initially capped at 200, but when that number was reached, the organizers opened up another 50 places.

I had already reserved my spot when the head organizer Ben Davis asked if I would join the final panel, a rapid-fire format giving each of the 11 participants only 5 minutes to present their suggestions for translators to enhance their bottom lines. Keeping a talk to only 5 minutes is challenging; I failed. I had to take an extra 10 or 15 seconds to squeeze in my last 2 slides. Although there was no time for discussion after the rapid fire session, the comments and questions at other sessions throughout the day were lively and informative.

I heard nothing but positive comments about the meeting from both new translators and experienced pros. The nijikai at the Pink Cow was just as good; an excellent opportunity to network and I met many translators I hope to work with. This expat friendly restaurant/bar served up a very tasty buffet to go along with the open bar (nomihodai). I would have stayed longer, but didn't want to miss the late buses from Tokyo back to Tsukuba.