[JITF2020] Interpreting at LINE

Yuta Ishii

In-house interpreter and translator (English). Graduated from Department of Law, Faculty of Law of Keio University.  Master’s degree in Japanese interpreting and translation, Queensland University. NAATI-certified conference interpreter (E to J, J to E).  He worked in the legal department of a Japanese advertising firm and experienced overseas projects, etc.  During a long business trip to Thailand, he felt strong inspiration to fulfill his dream of becoming an interpreter so he applied to graduate school in Australia.  He was accepted and had a fulfilling life studying overseas, but when looking for a job in Japan he found that he was often rejected at the resume screening phase due to his lack of practical experience as an interpreter.  Under such circumstances, he eventually joined LINE Corporation in 2018 as a “potential hire.”  His boss at the advertising agency once told him that “interpreters are 50% capability and 50% likability.”  With this as his motto, he has been trying daily to improve his skills and build up his network.

Shiori Kato

In-house interpreter and translator (English).  Graduated from the Department of English of Tsuda University, majoring in English Literature.  Completed the simultaneous interpreting course at Simul Academy.  In order to fulfill her childhood dream of becoming an interpreter, she joined Tsuda University, which had an interpreting course.  Though she took the interpreting course for one year, she felt it was too difficult for her, so she let go of her dream of becoming an interpreter and started working at an ordinary company after graduation.  Unable to give up her dream, she made a firm resolution to become an interpreter while working at an international consulting firm.  While regularly attending classes at Simul Academy, she began working as an in-house interpreter for an international retail company.  After working in the financial industry for some time, she joined LINE Corporation in 2019. She is doing her very best day after day, remaining keenly aware of her lack of knowledge each time she joins a new industry.

Interpreting at LINE

LINE is a communication app boasting some 83 million monthly active users in Japan. Since its launch in 2011, LINE Corporation, which operates the app, has continued to grow, having now become a tech company with about 8200 employees from more than 30 countries and regions.

In Japan, the three main languages used are Japanese, English and Korean.  The Shinjuku office alone has more than 25 interpreters (J-E, J-K) always on site to support communications.  Relay interpreting between Japanese, English and Korean often is necessary.  Interpretation that is easy for anyone to understand is required at such a workplace where employees of various nationalities have come together.  Furthermore, as the company provides a wide range of services such as stock trading, mobile settlement and other financial services as well as virtual currencies, games and travel, the topics of meetings requiring interpreting are also diverse.

What kinds of difficulties are experienced by the interpreters working at LINE, where diverse human resources come together to provide such a variety of services?  What makes this work fulfilling?  What do they learn from day to day?  The speakers will tell what it is really like to work as English interpreters at LINE.