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Interview with the mysterious translators of transeuro – Issue 6  

In the 6th edition of the mysterious translators of transeuro, we now introduce to you the head of the translation department, Mr. Shunsuke Iizuka.

He studied German language and literature but wanted to work in the fashion industry. However, his professor advised him to apply with us. His humor was so well received that he decided to become a patent translator after all.

His hair is always styled and sometimes he dyes it himself. He looks like someone who is active in the nightlife. Nevertheless, his knowledge of the German language is at a very high level. He remembers new vocabulary without writing it down and researches unknown technical terms down to the smallest detail.

Read what a translator with a high level of enthusiasm, tenacity, and willpower has to say.

Which languages do you translate and what is your special field?

From German to Japanese, mainly patents in the engineering field.

Please tell us more about your career before and since you joined transeuro.

While I was studying German at university I was active in the nightlife business. I wanted to work in a glamorous job and aimed for a position in the fashion industry. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out and I ended up in a translation company (the predecessor of the predecessor of transeuro). I later worked at a law and patent firm (the predecessor of transeuro) and have been working as a patent translator for almost 20 years now.

It has been three years since transeuro, that originally was the translation department of a law and patent firm became a separate firm. Did your attitude and thoughts about translation change?

When I was working at the patent firm I had no contact with the outside and the translation work was quite robotic. When I was satisfied with my translation I handed it in. After transeuro became a separate translation company I have more chances to get in contact with clients. So when I translate I have a certain client in mind that the translation is for and make sure to adjust it to their preferences.

What has changed since the time when you learned to be a translator?

When I was still learning the internet was not freely accessible for everyone. The process of researching special terms was quite analog. You had to go through a lot of reference documents and look for the corresponding technical concept.

Now it is pretty easy to look up and research. However, because of that current translators totally lack enthusiasm, tenacity, and willpower when it comes to researching technology.

As a translator you mainly work in the field of engineering, what do you think are the difficulties and the charm of this special field?

I think that everyone who translates German patent specification shares this problem. Namely, the most difficult aspect is finding a corresponding term for technical concepts that do not exist in Japan*. However, researching these concepts thoroughly is also the charm of my profession.

*There are several German technical terms that appear in patent specifications in the engineering field that cover a broader scope than corresponding Japanese technology.

What are you especially careful about in the position of manager of the translation department?

Consideration and appreciation.

What do you think will be expected of translators in the future?

Setting aside translators of other languages I think for Japanese translators the ability to write correct Japanese will become important.

What are the strengths of transeuro?

I think it is the mindset of every translator that wants to keep improving their knowledge and skills they have been cultivating since the time when transeuro was still part of a patent firm.

Frankly spoken, if you weren’t a translator what job would you do?

Well, actually I wanted to get busy in the nightlife business. By the way, now my dream for the future is cultivating watermelons in Hawaii.

The CEO is talking about a “rocking!” translation company. What do you think this means?

When the CEO is ordering his drinks “on the rocks” I at least want to order a high ball. Jokes aside, no matter what kind of a translation company we are, I want to aim for a company that is appreciated by its clients.

A message to the readers

The job of translator contributes to society through words. The major premise, therefore, is that you like words. There is no day when we are not in contact with words, therefore you have to be very delicate about words. (On the other hand, translators also tend to over-interpret words.)

Everyone that aims to become a translator should keep such a mindset. At transeuro, there are many people that love words.  The moment you fall in love with words you are already one of us. I am looking forward to working with you.

Previous issues of “Interview with the mysterious translators of transeuro “

Issue 1 – O. M.
Issue 2 – Mayuko Saito
Issue 3 – H. N.
Issue 4 – Hiroyuki Omata
Issue 5 – Satoshi Furuya

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