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Frequently Asked Questions

Translation | Interpreting | General

Translation-Related Questions

Can you certify a translation for us?
Yes, we can provide this service. Read More | Top

Can you translate at a deposition for us?
You appear to be confusing translation (of the written word) with interpreting (of the spoken word). We have a wealth of deposition interpreting experience over almost three decades, and regularly provide interpreting services for depositions. Read More

We are a world-class provider of language solutions. Can you help us with the translation of the attached file?
I am afraid not. We do not work with translation agencies, brokers, or other resellers of language services, regardless of whether they attempt to position themselves as localization companies, "providers of sustainable and globally empowering language solutions," or any other silly buzzword character string designed to disguise their true nature as translation brokers. Our clients are almost exclusively world-class manufacturers and law firms.

Can you provide a translation from Japanese into French?
Probably not. Unlike the translation services that claim the ability to translate any language into any language (highly unlikely), we prefer to provide high-quality translations between Japanese and English. Read More

What is your turnaround time for translation?
To answer that question in a meaningful way, we need to see the document(s) you need translated and offer a proper quotation. Ask for Quotation

How many translators do you have?
Many (most?) translation brokers in Japan and elsewhere claim to have hundreds and some claim to have thousands of translators "registered" with them. To the unwary client, this sounds like they can and do call on a good many of these translators on a regular basis. Nothing could be further from the truth, as we have discussed elsewhere. "Registered" or "we have N translators" generally just means that the broker knows the contact information for that many translators, and might not even imply that any significant portion of those translators have ever gotten any work from the particular broker. We are an intellectual property translation boutique, and we pride ourselves on using only translators we know and whose qualifications and capabilities we know. This is extremely rare among translation companies, most of which regularly purchase translations from people they have never met and cannot judge as translators. It would be a better world if more translation providers could be as honest about their "stock" of translators. Read More

We have a translation here that was poorly done. Can you edit it to bring it to the point at which you could certify it?
The answer is highly dependent upon the quality of the original translation. You should keep in mind that the task of editing and/or rewriting a poorly done translation almost always requires the efforts of someone who could have translated the document in question properly from the start. This means that the editing effort might cost as much as we would charge to translate the original document.

Do you use any tools such as translation memory in performing translation?
The short answer is no. The type of patent and technical translation we specialize in is not amenable to the use of translation memories, and would in fact slow us down in providing patent translation because of the added burden of dealing with the quirks of the TM software. Translation memory software is to a qualified professional translator what a wheelchair would be to a healthy and accomplished basketball player. Yes, you can play in the wheelchair, but why unduly restrict yourself when you already can play without one? TM software has lowered the bar to getting into the translation field to the point at which people who cannot translate your documents are fooling you and themselves into thinking that they can. It provides a comforting aide to translators who cannot recall those nasty Japanese characters, but the result often just masks the lack of basic translation skills.

What languages do you handle?
We specialize in translation of patents and other IP-related documents between Japanese and English only (either direction). This enables us to put in our best effort and excel over translation providers claiming to translate in dozens or even hundreds of languages.

Can you translate my wife's family register into English and certify the translation?
Yes, we can. Please be aware, however, that almost all of our business is with well-known corporations and law firms. Before we even start to do a translation for an individual, we need to know the potential client's physical address and telephone number, and also need to determine whether a bank-to-bank transfer for the payment is going to be possible. We also reserve our right to ask for full payment in advance. But before anything work can proceed, you need to contact us to get a quotation for the translation you require. Contact Us

Interpreting Questions

Can you provide a court sworn interpreter?
There is nothing equivalent to a sworn interpreter in Japan. That said, at depositions, both parties have presumably agreed to use the lead or check interpreter beforehand, and the interpreter takes an oath to provide accurate and unbiased interpreting before the deposition begins.

We are deposing a Japanese witness. Can you interpreter for us?
Because we are based in Japan and have many local Japanese clients, we might not be able to help you depose a witness from a Japanese firm. Since there are exceptions, you should contact us.

Why do we need to pay you a deposit to reserve interpreting services?
Because it is our policy when dealing with interpreting clients outside of Japan. However, this can be avoided very simply, by having us deal directly with your Japanese client. This is no problem for us at all, and will remove any payment burden and responsibility from your firm.

General Questions

What is the best way to make contact with you?
Because of the time difference between Japan and the US, the best method to contact us is usually by e-mail. I or a colleague will receive your note to us and respond in a timely manner.

We need to reach you by telephone. What is the best time to reach you?
If you are calling from outside Japan, please note the time difference. When the US is on standard time, the US West Coast is 17 hours behind Japan Standard Time and the US East Coast 14 hours behind JST. For example, the current time and date in Japan is:

For this reason, calls often come in outside of our normal business hours. We will, however, attempt to get back to you as quickly as possible if you leave us a message at such times.

Can you accept payment by check?
Because checks are not the normal payment instrument in B2B (and almost all other) transactions in Japan, and because foreign checks often require a month to clear here, our policy is to accept only electronic (wire) bank-to-bank cash transfers as payment. This method has worked successfully in receiving payments from dozens of US law firms over the years, and payment method details are clearly explained in both our interpreting retention agreement and our invoices.

Can I pay by credit card?
Since we are a company that does almost exclusively business-to-business transactions, we do not accept credit card payments. The payment method is the standard bank transfer to our corporate account here in Japan.

Can you provide a quotation in US dollars?
Since all our invoicing is in Japanese Yen, a US dollar quote would only risk having the payment fall short of (or exceed) the billed yen amount due to currency fluctuations. Since the invoice is usually issued only after an assignment is completed and there is a significant time that passes before we receive payment, you will need to calculate the JPY amount to be sent at the time of payment, rather than to calculate a USD amount at the time of quotation and send the equivalent amount of yen at the time of payment. Currency exchange rates are readily available on the Web (e.g., at the Yahoo! website).

For what fields can you provide translation and interpreting?
We have a broad range of experience in translating Japanese IP-related documents and in providing other translations of Japanese technical and scientific texts. Please contact us with specifics. Contact Us