Hall of fame: Yoko
A language lover at heart, Yoko’s bilingual background has significantly influenced her career after pursuing different industries after graduation. Eventually, she returned to her first passion, translation, and advises newer translators to start small and choose jobs that suit their level and goals.
What languages do you speak and what are your experiences with learning them?
Japanese is my mother tongue, but I speak English, too. Ever since I was little, I always wanted to go abroad and learn another language. I started taking private English lessons long before English classes at school started. At 16, I visited the U.S. for the first time, which reconfirmed my passion to study abroad. I moved to Philadelphia right after high school to study art at college while improving my English skills.
My career in the language industry started as a conversational Japanese instructor and interpreter in Philadelphia after college. After working in the language and graphic design industries for a few years, I worked as a bilingual communication specialist and market research analyst for corporate research and development (R&D). Here, I helped to bridge the language barrier as a translator, interpreter, and market research analyst in international collaboration projects. After leaving corporate R&D and working as a graphic designer, I missed doing translation. I was so excited when I discovered Gengo, which makes it easy for freelancers to find the right level and volume of jobs that match their goals.
What are your favorite translation tools?
For regular translation jobs, I use online dictionaries and resources such as Linguee, Merriam-Webster, ProZ, Wikipedia, and Google among others. If I’m working on projects that involve Japanese addresses, I find Memorva and Kotobank extremely helpful. Even as a native Japanese speaker, some addresses are difficult to figure out. Google Maps is also a great resource for that purpose.
What are your tips to become a Wordsmith?
I didn’t know I had translated 500,000 words until I got an email from Gengo. What a wonderful surprise! I appreciate the opportunities Gengo has given me and I’ve always enjoyed learning about a wide range of subject areas.
If you’re relatively new to translation, I suggest starting small and working your way up to larger projects. Gengo offers jobs of various volumes and difficulty levels to suit your goals and expertise, so it’s a great place for translators of all levels.
Want to become a Gengo translator?