[JIF2018] AMA: How to Build an Ideal Work Portfolio

Seth Reames

After being largely raised in Japan, Seth A. Reames started translating professionally at the age of 19 when he interrupted his U.S. college education and spent a year learning the craft at a translation company in Japan. Reames managed to obtain an undergraduate degree in chemistry, which laid the bedrock to his technical knowledge base of material science, chemical engineering, semiconductors, and nuclear energy, as well as computers and telecommunications. He has over 30 years of experience as a J>E and E>J translator; a simultaneous, consecutive, and deposition E<>J interpreter; and a business owner offering translation and interpreting services. The corporate commercial domain comprises his principal work, which usually addresses marketing and sales, but also spans legal, technical, and financial areas of private enterprise. The industries served include future automotive, mobile communications, fast-moving consumer goods, steel manufacturing, luxury goods, retail and wholesale distribution, and fintech.

Tom Eskildsen

Tom Eskildsen was born to and raised in a protestant missionary family in Japan. After obtaining a BA in linguistics from a Japanese university and teaching English for a year, he hit the backpacker trail, drifting through India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Seeing poverty first hand motivated him to get involved in Japanese NGOs working on rural development and environmental issues, entailing some interpretation and translation assignments. Trying to re-connect with his home country, he next spent three years in Los Angeles as a free-lance J to E translator, mostly of chemical patents. He returned to Japan to continue his involvement with NGOs while scraping by as an aspiring interpreter. Lucky breaks and introductions to agencies led to interpreting work for software and internet-related companies during the dotcom bubble and for mobile communication companies engaged in 3G standardization. The scope of work expanded to such topics as cyber security, virtualization, programming and medical devices. In recent years he has also been involved in interpreting for inter-faith dialogue, socially-engaged Buddhism and related topics.  Tom is a co-president of Jumma Net, a Japanese NGO working on the issues of ethnic minorities in Bangladesh.

AMA: How to Build an Ideal Work Portfolio

The two major topics in this session are the following: 1) Should you get work through agencies, or should you go after direct clients? And 2) What is the behavior expected of an interpreter in a business setting? While an overwhelming majority of interpreters in Japan work solely through agencies, this session aims to explore the various issues and strategic benefits associated with doing business directly with end-clients, and provide tips on how you should construct your work portfolio depending on your career stage. At the same time, this session will also challenge the textbook definition of how interpreters should behave in a real world business setting, and consider the attributes the interpreter should have to build a long and successful career.

This is an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session. The speakers will answer whatever questions you may have, as much as they can.

Sign up from here (Japanese only)