A pair of interesting videos on translation and interpretation (Japanese/English)

By | November 24, 2019

Watching videos in Japanese on YouTube is one great way to practice your listening skills, as well as a pick up a lot of new words and expressions, although it’s best that you have strong fundamentals of Japanese grammar and core vocabulary before getting too deep into this.

Sometimes I like to search in Japanese for keywords of things I am interested in on Youtube. The other day when I did this for 文学 (bungaku, “literature”) I came across an interesting lecture that I posted about here.

In the last week I searched for 翻訳 (honyaku, “translation”) and eventually stumbled upon a pair of really interesting videos about translation and interpretation.

In the first one Mario Nagai (長井鞠子), an experienced conference interpreter who has worked at several Olympics events, speaks on a variety of topics. While she focuses mostly on interpretation (not having that much translation experience herself) some of the content applies to both fields.

The second video is a discussion between Peter Durfee, an JP/EN translator and editor who also teaches courses in those areas, and Tatsuya Komatsu (小松達也), a translator and professor. This video talks more about translation than the first one.

While the first video is in Japanese only, the second one is actually in both Japanese and English, with each language on a different speaker channel (left/right). Komatsu san speaks in Japanese and Mr. Durfee in English (in the same conversation), and in both cases the other language is provided via interpretation, with a portion of it done by Nagai san from the first video. When watching the second video I wanted to focus on Japanese, which meant I had to use headphones and periodically switch between one ear and the other (:

Although I am not too interested in interpretation at this time, it was impressive to see Nagai san’s interpretation in the second video. I found both videos full of interesting information about both the interpretation and translation industries, and it was really good listening practice. Tor those with only rudimentary Japanese skill, I would recommend listening to the second video in Japanese, then listen to it again in English to check your understanding.

This series was produced by Simul Academy (サイマル・アカデミ), a company dedicated to providing education in translation and interpretation. For those interested in becoming translators/interpreters, or upping your skills, I would take a look. It seems they have classes in Tokyo and Osaka for various levels. (Note: I am not affiliated with Simul Academy in any way)

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