No. 18 — August 10, 1984

This is, probably, the only newsletter published anywhere in the world by and for our far-flung and obscure community of Japanese technical translators. It is a completely grassroots endeavor with no subsidies or support except that given by its readers. It is now going into its second year and has more than 150 readers on three continents. I hope that the newsletter will evolve into a trailblazing publication which will contribute to winfling greater public recognition for the important role which we Japanese technical translators have to play in the area of Japanese scientific and technical information, which is becoming increasingly important in the world today.


Your subscriptions are now for a 6-month period from June (no. 16) to November, 1984 (no. 20). The 6-months' subscription is $20. Overseas readers should contact the overseas distributor for their area.

A complete set of the first year's issues (no. 1 through no. 15) is available from the editor for $20 (U.S.) or $25 (Japan and Europe).


Readers' letters and contributions are very welcome. Readers who wish to help out can volunteer to be associate editors. They will be asked to write one or two articles a month. The editor will supply them with the raw material (Japanese-language press clippings, reference materials, etc.). Volunteers should write me giving details of when they will be available.

Associate editors for this issue are Derek P. Freyberg and Frederik L. Schodt.


The following readers are reproducing the newsletter and distributing it to others in their countries:

Mr. John M. Shields, BEC Service, C.P.O. 42, Nagoya 450, Japan

Ms. Rosemary 3. Yates, Japan Business Services Unit, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, England

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According to a front-page article in the July 9 issue of the Nihon keizai shimbun, the Japan Information Center of Science and Technology (JICST) has decided to participate in the international network for scientific and technical information which is being planned by Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) of Columbus, Ohio. JICST will send a negotiating team to the CAS headquarters in September to finalize the concrete details. (For an earlier article on this subject, see our issue no. 17, p. 6–9.)

The international network in which the JICST will participate will be called STN International and will link American, West German and Japanese databases for on-line service using international private telecommunication lines. CAS has already begun a network with FIZ-4 of Karlsruhe which will soon go on-line and had been urging JICST to participate in it.

JICST says that it decided to participate because of the greater convenience which this will give to Japanese users. In the past Japanese researchers wishing to access foreign databases had to go through different agencies. For instance, those wishing to obtain American scientific and technical information went through the Japan Association for International Chemical Information (JAICI), and those seeking West German scientific and technical information went through Kinokuniya. When the international network is set up, these users will be able to access both European and American databases through one agency, JICST. Another reason for JICST to participate is that "supplying Japanese databases overseas is the most important task imposed on Japan."

Kinokuniya Shoten is strongly opposed to formation of the international network, saying that it is a move antagonistic to private business (JICST is a government agency).

The JICST negotiating team will discuss the following points with CAS and will try to realize the most favorable possible conditions:

  1. Will the software for accessing the databases be unified?
  2. Will it be possible to use the Japanese language in accessing?
  3. To what extent will it be necessary to translate the Japanese databases into English?

When the international network is realized, a system of uniform rates will be adopted under which users in any of the three countries will pay the same rates when accessing a database in any of the countries.

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The Ministry of International Trade and Industry stated on July 9 that it is studying the construction of an international high-technology information network which will link Japan, the U.S. and the European Community. The network, to be operated by the governments, will embrace information on subjects such as electronics, fine ceramics and new materials. MITI will propose this at a summit meeting of Japan, the U.S., Canada and the EC to be held in Tokyo this autumn.

The only governmentally-operated international systems concerning high-tech information are those related to patents. Other types of information are collected and supplied by private businesses. However, collection of overseas technical information by private industry is becoming more and more difficult, and industrial circles have been calling for the establishment of an international information network which will collect and supply high-tech information from the advanced industrial countries. (Nikkan kōgyō shimbun, July 10, 1984)

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As mentioned elsewhere in this issue, the number of applications for Japanese patents and utility models has been increasing remarkably. The numbers have been 420,000 (1981), 440,000 (1982) and 460,000 (1983). This amounts to close to half the entire number of patents filed in the world. The amount of scientific and technical information needed to examine such an immense number of applications is also increasing. Currently such information is estimated to be about 28 million items, but ten years from now the necessary information will increase to 50 million items, including overseas items.

The current period required to examine a patent application is approximately 2 years 3 months. However, if this situation is allowed to continue, the period of examination will inevitably run on to about seven years. Inability to obtain timely information inevitably leads to insufficiently researched patent applications, and delays in granting rights mean that many important inventions are left unpatented. In view of the looming crisis, the Japanese Patent Office has decided to computerize its operations. It calls its plan the "paperless project" (peepaaresu keikaku). The aim is to liberate the work of patent examination and controls from the flood of paper.

The plan aims at dividing the reorganization work into three periods: a trial period (1984–86), a transition period (1987–90), and a maturing period (1991–93). Electronic applications will begin to be accepted around the end of 1988, but only about 30% of the applications will be paperless at that time. By the end of 1993, 90% of the applications will be electronic. Paper applications will still be filed by some individual inventors and small businesses. (Nikkan kōgyō shimbun, July 2, 1984)

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An article by Andrew Pollack in the New York Times of July 5, 1984 describes the Japanese Patent Office as slow-moving and "mired in antiquity." The article says that it takes an average of six years to get a patent in Japan, three times the length of time required in the U.S. Patent procedures have become a source of trade friction between Japan and the U.S.

The article cites a case in which an American company, Allied Corporation, applied for a patent in Japan in 1973 but did not receive its patent until last March, after more than 10 years. In the meantime, several Japanese companies began selling their own similar products, and Allied had to file a complaint with the International Trade Commission. The I.T.C. rule in Allied's favor.

Since patent protection last 20 years, dated from the date of application, a patent granted after a delay of 10 years has already lost half of its useful life. Moreover, since patent applications are made public after 18 months, the system allows other companies to copy the technologies contained in patent applications.

Robert F. Connelly, president of International Technical Trading Inc., a trading company in Tokyo, is quoted as saying that the system is "very inadequate," and the Japanese "are not anxious to improve it."

In 1983, about 255,000 applications for patents and 205,000 applications for utility models were filed in Japan. More than 90 percent of them came from Japanese companies. In the U.S., the number of applications filed has remained more or less steady. The total in 1983 was 105,704 in 1983. About 40 percent of the U.S. applications came from foreigners, and of these 15,743 were from Japan. The growth of the Japanese filing rate is said to be significant. The Japanese file more patent applications in the U.S. than American companies file in Japan.

A major problem in the Japanese system is the understaffing of the Patent Office. In 1983 there were about the same number of patent examiners as in 1973, even though annual applications had increased more than 60 percent. The number of examiners has even decreased slightly since 1979 because of budgetary limitations. Most processing is done manually, without the aid of computers or other technology. The Patent Office has embarked on an ambitious computerization plan, but for at least five more years the problem is sure to become worse.

Translation problems are also a headache. A survey made last year by the Japanese Patent Office found that 52% of its examiners said that foreign applications were more likely to experience remarkable delays, largely because of failure to follow specifications or because of translation problems. A slight spelling or translation error is enough to cause the patent application to be rejected, said one American lawyer.

Thanks to Betsy Kuga and Thomas Wilds for sending me the New York Times article. Thomas Wilds adds the following comments about the article: "I question the criticisms, and doubt that the Japanese Patent Office is more inadequate than its counterparts in other countries."

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by Derek P. Freyberg

Despite the optimistic words of JPO Director-General Kazuo Wakasugi at the February visit of American patent attorneys (see my article "JPO Seeks International Contact" elsewhere in this issue), high technology patent disputes between Japanese and U.S. companies are on the increase, according to a Nihon keizai shimbun article of June 15.

American companies are filing an ever-increasing number of patent complaints against Japanese imports, mostly with the International Trade Commission (ITC). The number of Japanese companies sued and investigated by the ITC for patent violations totaled 24 last year, up from 14 in 1982, and may reach 50 this year (8 cases were filed in January-March alone).

Unlike a conventional patent infringement suit brought under the Patent Act in a U.S. District Court, which can spend many years in preparation (the author is aware of one that took 6 years before trial, and settled after one day of testimony), complaints in the ITC are brought under Section 337 of the Tariff Act by a U.S. company faced with imports produced by unfair methods (which can include patent, trademark, or copyright infringement, unfair bidding, etc.) which tend to damage U.S. industry. The ITC investigation is very quick: a preliminary decision on whether to investigate is given within 30 days of the complaint, and the investigation must generally conclude within one year of the date of notice of the investigation.

Complaints filed last year include those against (1) amorphous metal alloys (TDK, Nippon Steel, Hitachi, and Hitachi Metals), (2) rotary printers (NEC, Fujitsu, and Ricoh), (3) printer systems (Matsushita Electric and Sharp), and (4) microprocessors (NEC). Although some patent disputes are still brought in District Courts, the ITC offers speed and a shift in the burden of proof - both factors of advantage tothe U.S. plaintiff.

From July 9th to 22nd, a team from Japan was scheduled to visit New York and Washington, the ITC, Patent Office, etc., in an attempt to understand the trade problems. Japanese industries hope that the JPO will act as a conduit for the flow of information to and from the ITC, especially about ITC investigations, and will aid them with their problems.

[Derek Freyberg, an associate editor for this issue, is a patent attorney who has worked as a J-E translator in the past. He lives in Menlo Park, California. — Ed.]

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The Japan Patent Information Center (JAPATIC), an auxiliary organization of the Japanese Patent Office, announced on June 26 that it has reached an agreement with the International Patent Documentation Centre (INPADOC) in Vienna by which kanji terminals will be established at INPADOC and on-line retrieval services of JAPATIC's databases of Japanese patents will be started before the end of this year. This will be the first time that information on Japanese patents is supplied to an overseas organization by means of an online telecommunications network.

JAPATIC says that it has also decided to provide information in the form of magnetic tapes as soon as possible to the patent offices of the U.S., West Germany and France. JAPATIC is now translating the patent abstracts into English, and its database of translated patent abstracts currently contains 560,000 items. It will input the translations into magnetic tapes and send the tapes by airmail to the American, German and French patent offices. Translation was begun in 1977 and is proceeding at the pace of 150,000 items a year.

The Japanese patent information which JAPATIC will supply on-line or on magnetic tape comes from a database containing abstracts of some 16 million Japanese patent "early disclosures" (tokkyo kookai). INPADOC will receive the database services in the Japanese language. JAPATIC at first asked INPADOC to wait until the English translation of the database was completed, but INPADOC asked to receive the service as quickly as possible, and it was decided to supply the service in Japanese. Therefore, INPADOC will use the kanji terminals and an international telecommunications circuit to access the same patent database that is provided within Japan. INPADOC will then make its own translations of the contents arid distribute them on request to European governments and enterprises.

The International Patent Documentation Centre (INPADOC) is a non-profit agency established in Vienna in 1972 by an agreement between the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Austrian government. Its members are 49 governments and two agencies. Its main task is providing bibliographic information on patents on magnetic tape.

The Japan Patent Information Center (JAPATIC) operates an on-line retrieval service for Japanese patent information called PATOLIS. The Patent Agency is currently trying to amalgamate JAPATIC with the Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation (JIII), hopefully by March 1985, but the reorganizing efforts have hit numerous snags and little progress has been made.

(Nihon keizai shimbun, June 26, 1984, evening edition; Japan Economic Journal, July 3, 1984; Nikkan kōgyō shimbun, March 13, 1984.)

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by Derek P. Freyberg

The JPO, after hosting a group of U.S. patent attorneys in February, is now preparing to receive a group of European patent practitioners in October. This push for international understanding stems from a study begun in 1982 in the U.S. That year, the American Ear Association's Patent, Trademark & Copyright Section's Foreign Practice Committee conducted a statistical analysis of JPO handling of foreign and domestic applications. The study, by Samson Helfgott of General Electric, was published in the April 1983 issue of Patents & Licensing, a bimonthly English-language magazine dealing with intellectual property law in Japan (published by Japan Engineering News, Inc.).

While filing in the U.S. by Japanese residents has almost tripled in the past 12 years (Japan now contributes the second largest number of foreign-originating applications in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office some 19% of the total filings), U.S. filing in Japan has actually declined since 1970, even as the total number of patent applications filed in Japan has increased by 65%. The study concluded that the JPO did not discriminate against foreign applicants, though it recognized the existence of problems for U.S. applicants in Japan.

Despite the generally favorable results of the study, the JPO was concerned enough about foreign opinion to invite a group of U.S. patent attorneys to visit for a week this February. The group of about 25 senior corporate patent attorneys from companies such as IBM, AT&T, DuPoint, 3M, Polaroid, and other companies with major Japanese patent filings, heard lectures from senior JPO officials by interpreter, and were given English-language materials on the Japanese patent system. More than 40 JPO patent officials participated, and the major patent associations hosted functions for the visitor.

JPO Director-General Kazuo Wakasugi (recently promoted to become vice minister for international affairs in MITI) announced several measures the JPO will take which should heap foreign applicants, including computerization of English-language abstracts of Japanese-originating Patent Kokai (now published as "Patent Abstracts of Japan").

Now the May 4 issue of Japan Industrial Daily reports that a similar group from Europe will be invited to visit the JPO in October or thereabouts. Europeans, like Americans, have been complaining about the long examination period and difficulty of obtaining patents in Japan, and this new invitation is an attempt to reassure the third major industrial area of the Western world that the JPO is sensitive to its views.

JPO Director-General Wakasugi commented on the U.S. visit that "'Patent friction' with the companies visiting Japan has completely disappeared." Although it seems unlikely that this comment will be borne out, it can be hoped that the U.S. and European visits will do something to lessen the problems that have arisen over the past few years.

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by Derek P. Freyberg

According to the Nihon keizai shimbun of June 12, the JPO has begun studies regarding patent term extension for drugs and similar products. The studies, made at the request of the pharmaceutical industry, are being made in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Presently, patent rights in Japan are limited to the shorter of 20 years from the date of filing or 15 years from the date of publication for opposition (kokoku). Because drugs are subject to extensive and time-consuming examination, by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, pharmaceutical manufacturers claim that they lose a significant portion of their proprietary protection. In fiscal 1982, they say, the average life of a new drug patent was only 7 years and 5 months after the drug was approved. In some cases, patent rights have expired before commercial production began.

Furthermore, with fierce marketing competition from generic drug companies, unpatented drugs will generally be copied soon after expiry of the patents. The pharmaceutical manufacturers, along with producers of agricultural chemicals, are seeking extensions of the patent term for regulated chemicals where a part of the commercial lifetime is lost due to bureaucratic requirements.

A similar situation obtains in the U.S., where the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and allied trade groups have been pushing for patent term extension for products subject to FDA and similar regulation. Though generic drug manufacturers oppose the bills that have been introduced over the past two years, and Senator Kennedy's Health Care Committee has been critical of the proposals, it seems likely that some law will pass in the U.S. In the meantime, riders attaching patent term extensions to bills concerning the patent system have been introduced by Senator Strom Thurmond, among others. The Japanese situation is even more stringent than that in the U.S.; for, though a U.S. patent lasts for only 17 years, its life is measured from its date of issue, and there is no opposition available. With the delays in pfocessing of Japanese applications, and a steadily increasing backlog, no Japanese patents are likely to last as long as a U.S. one.

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What is hailed as Japan's first full-scale microcomputer operating system has been developed by a group headed by Ken Sakamura, an assistant at the Information Sciences Department of Tokyo University, and will be commercialized before the end of this year. The OS is based on a dictionary of 50,000 kanji and will speed up kanji processing. The development is regarded as important because it may give Japanese manufacturers an opportunity to make inroads into the OS market, which is currently dominated by American systems such as Microsoft's MS-DOS and Digital Research's CP/M, which have been modified to handle kanji.

The new OS, which will be called I-TRON, resulted from the TRON project being carried forward at Tokyo University at the request of the Japan Electronic Industry Development Association, which aims at developing microprocessors and OS matching Japanese conditions, i.e. kanji processing. TRON is said (rather implausibly) to stand for "The Realtime Operating-System Nucleus." The project has obtained financial support from Nippon Electric Co., Ltd. (NEC), Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and other Japanese electronic companies.

Existing operating systems were originally designed around 8-bit microprocessors, and many of them cannot utilize fully the capabilities of 16-bit machines. None of them were designed with kanji processing in mind. The existing systems have been modified to handle kanji for the Japanese market, but according to Sakamura they do not work well with kanji. The TRON system, on the other hand, is designed specifically to process kanji. It will be able to handle a dictionary of more than 50,000 kanji and will include a grammar analysis function. Sakamura predicts that TRON will become the most popular operating system in Japan and will be adopted by foreign computer manufacturers for marketing their products in Japan. Systems adopting TRON could also be widely used in China and other nations utilizing kanji or other complex writing systems.

After I-TRON is introduced this year, another system called B-TRON will be developed during the spring of 1985. B-TRON will have expanded functions for office computers.

Although these new systems are designed around 32-bit microprocessors, current plans are to connect them for the present to American microprocessors such as the Intel 8086 and the Motorola 68000. Two or three years later, a "TRON chip," a dedicated 32-bit microprocessor, will be developed exclusively for TRON and will make it possible to process kanji with a much faster speed than in any preyious systems. The OS will be made available before the microprocessor in order to allow application software for TRON to be written.

The aim of the TRON project is to establish TRON as the "standard OS" for Japan. In line with this policy, the results of the TRON project are will all be made public, and the software will be made available free of charge. As a result, when the TRON project is completed, the domination by the major American companies over the OS and microprocessor market in Japan may collapse to a large extent. "If makers in the rest of the world choose to ignore our project now, that may be the end of them in the Japanese market," says Sakamura. (Nihon keizai shimbun, June 14, 1984, evening ed.; Asian Wall Street Journal Weekly June 16, 1984)

In another related development, Nippon Electric Co., Ltd. announced in June that it has developed an operating system for controlling the V20 and V30 general-purpose microprocessors designed independently by NEC. The OS will be marketed during the latter part of this year. This move is seen as another attempt to challenge the market domination by American manufacturers of microprocessors and OS. According to NEC, the V20 (8-bit) and V30 (16-bit) microprocessors, which incorporate the 2-micron CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) technology, have a processing speed 1.5 times faster than that of the Intel 8086 and 8088 microprocessors. NEC is planning to develop these microprocessors of its V-series into world standards. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, June 28, 1984; Nikkan kōgyō shimbun, May 14, 1984)

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The research group headed by Professor Makoto Nagao and Assistant Professor Jun'ichi Tsujii at the Faculty of Engineering, Kyoto University, has recently developed an advanced system for machine translation from Japanese to English, according to the Nikkei sangyō shimbun (July 2, 1984). The research is being carried out as part of a government-financed J-E machine translation project and aims at perfecting a highly sophisticated system capable of semantic analysis. After the final details have been worked out, the system will be put into operation at the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology's Information and Computing Center (Jōhō Keisan Center) at Tsukuba, possibly as early as this summer.

The Kyoto University group aims at perfecting a J-E translation system which incorporates advanced semantic analysis and which can produce natural-sounding English translations. This is possible thanks to the adoption of the "rule system," in which the system software is written in terms of a number of rules. If this system is adopted instead of the program system of the past, it is possible to create large-scale software encompassing advanded semantic processing, and it is easy to revise the software and to add new rules.

A drawback of the rule system is that it tends to produce a large number of alternative translations. To deal with this, Assistant Professor Tsujii and his colleagues have introduced a concept of "rules of selection" which make it possible to narrow down the possible choices to a single one while performing the semantic analysis. This system, however, imposes an immense burden on the hardware. In fact, the burden is some ten times greater than in the program system. In spite of this, Tsujii is optimistic about the prospects and says that future advances in hardware will make it possible to solve this problem.

The J-E machine translation project in which Kyoto University is participating is a four-year project financed by the Science and Technology Agency and has been under way since FY 1982. It is expected to cost more than ¥700,000,000 (nearly $3 million at a current exchange rate) by the time the project is finished at the end of FY 1985. Other participants in the project are the Information and Computing Center (Jōhō Keisan Center) of the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, Electrotechnical Laboratory of the same Agency, and the Japan Information Center for Science and Technology (JICST). The JICST is in charge of compiling the dictionary of terminology, while the other participants are developing the grammatical processing systems.

The first translation test of the system was completed in March, 1984, and it is planned to continue testing it with 250 abstracts (about 1,000 sentences) from the field of electrical engineering. The JICST wants to begin using the system to provide machine-translated English abstracts to foreign countries in FY 1987. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, June 27, 1984)

The article in the July 2 issue of the Nikkei sangyō shimbun printed a sample translation made by the system. The sample showed that the system does indeed have the ability to recognize certain syntactical patterns which are commonly used in Japanese technical writing and to convert them into appropriate English patterns. However, it does not now have the ability to assign English definite and indefinite articles correctly to the nouns or to give English nouns their proper plural forms when this is appropriate. Will these functions be added in the future?

This system is evidently the most sophisticated of all the J-E machine translation systems being developed in Japan (see TJT, no. 17, p. 3–4). Even in spite of its present deficiencies, its software is already so complex and memory-hungry that this overburdens the hardware to an excessive extent. The hardware problem apparently can be solved only after new generations of microchip technologies have been perfected. This is quite convenient for the MT developers, who are absolved from all blame and can say that they have done all that is possible with the current technology. Now the ball is in the court of the microchip wizards in charge of developing new generations of semiconductors. If only they will now produce the right kind of hardware...

At any rate, Professor Nagao is refreshingly realistic about the prospects for machine translation. He says: "It is impossible to predict when a 100% satisfactory translating machine will be perfected" (hyaku paasento manzoku na honyakuki wa itsu dekiru no ka yosoku wa tsukimasen). (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, July 5, 1984)

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Keisuke Fujioka, the editor of Kōgyō eigo, wrote an evaluation of machine translation in the August 1984 issue of the magazine. Here is an abridged translation of what he said.

It is difficult to evaluate the (Bravice) machine translation system which was announced late in May because similar machines by competing companies have not yet been made public and there is nothing to compare it with. The statements about "80% accuracy" or "90% accuracy" made by the manufacturer are one-sided evaluations made by the manufacturer, and the user has no way of corrobbrating these claims scientifically. Nevertheless, the examples of machine output which have been made public do allow us to make a certain general evaluation. Perhaps the figure of 80% or 90% is right.

Our impression is that if one were to aim at obtaining an output of a higher quality than this, far more problems would be encountered in erasing the remaining 10% or 20% than have been encountered in all the research and development thus far. Perfecting the machine would be much more difficult than merely creating the basic system. If it took 10 years to develop a product to the point where it could be marketed, it would take another 10 years or more to bring it to a point where it would be nearly 100% perfect.

In computer work, one tends to lose sight of the time and labor involved in the preprocessing and postprocessing by humans. The time and labor of inputting the Japanese text may be shortened by using optical character readers. But what about the postprocessing? Even if it were possible to translate in a few hours texts which required one week to be input, it would still be necessary to post-edit the output to turn it into proper English. The post-editing would require even more time and labor than the inputting. For this reason, we can say that this machine does not yet meet the needs of the market.

Machine-Generated Translations Should Be Labeled

However, this does not mean that a machine must necessarily be expected to be able to turn out a perfect English translation equivalent to that which a human translator is required to make. Among the many manuscripts awaiting translation, there are some which do not need to be translated perfectly. It would be preferable to use a machine to make these translations which do not need to be perfect, but such machine-generated translations must be labeled clearly "translated by machine." If this is done, there are even today many jobs which are suitable for machine translation.

For example, there are immense amounts of reference materials accumulated inside a company. A translating machine could be used to index such documents in both Japanese and English. Figures could be translated by machine without bothering translators, who detest doing such work anyway. The tiresome and tedious translations could be done in-house by a machine, and only those jobs which are suitable for humans to do could be sent out to the translators.

Today the only jobs which companies send out to translators are the minimum jobs which the company believes are absolutely necessary to translate. If more translations could be done more quickly, even with the sacrifice of some quality, immense amounts of jobs which cannot now be translated because of restrictions of budget, quantity and time would become candidates for translation. Machine translation with an automated means of inputting would be ideal for these less-than-urgent translation jobs.

Will the Translator Survive?

Will the advent of machine translation deprive translators of their jobs? This argument involves emotion more than scientific judgment. There is a mood among translators similar to that of the Luddites who rebelled against laborsaving spinning machines in their days. There is no need for translators to be disturbed about machine translation because there is a type of work which can be done by machines, just as there is a type of work which cannot be done by anything but a human translator. The needs and the market are completely different in both cases. The only translators who will be put out of work by the machine are those whose translations are inferior to those turned out by the machine. Translators ought to adopt a more dynamic outlook and try to apply the machine to their own work. The machine recently made public is expensive, but if it could be leased inexpensively it could be used by translation agencies. If it can be used efficiently for making preliminary translations, it ought to be used, of course on the condition that high-quality translations can be turned out efficiently by this means. Rather than being frightened by the machine, translators ought to think about ways in which they can make it serve their own purposes.

For the time being, a translating machine cannot be used by a non-professional, and this will be true either until both voice input and voice output become possible or until the English output is 100% perfect. Until such a time, it will be necessary for professionals to operate the translating machine and to post-edit its output painstakingly. A translating machine is for use by translators and will not in any way deprive translators of their jobs. The present situation resembles the relationship between the electronic typewriter and the word processor. The word processor is far more expensive than a typewriter, but if used skillfully it will raise the efficiency.

Various types of translating machines will be made public in the future. Translators ought to approach them positively and unhurriedly and find ways of feeding back their own translating knowhow into the machine systems. (Kōgyō eigo August 1984, p. 72–74. I am responsible for abridging and translating the article. - DLP)

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Preston Maxwell of Tokyo writes that he is "quite enthusiastic about hi-tech linguistics." This is what he says:

My personal hunch is that the most efficient way to use automation in Japanese-English translation will be a split-screen setup displaying four lines at a time of the original text along with word-for-word interlinear translation of about 80% of the Japanese, with the remaining 20% of particles, conjunctions and verb/adjective endings displayed in roomaji. The para-translator would then compose the final output on the lower third of the screen, with the option of referring to Wa-Ei taiyaku indexed to specific vocabulary items or grammatical forms. Refinements could include left-right split-screen display of original and translation for comparison and editing, optional display of kanji readings, full-dictionary entries of items, and sentence-bysentence display of the Japanese text to be translated.

This solution dispenses with advanced theoretical models and requires:

This type of system could be available within five years, creating a demand for people who can use it, and entailing redefinition of what we mean by a reading knowledge of foreign languages.

So I'm quite enthusiastic about hi-tech linguistics, but the real stuff, not the quick-fix hype. With all the psychological blocks Japanese have about language, it may take some time before clients realize what Bravice's system can do, and what it can't do. Of course the emphasis is on English output.

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According to an article in The Washington Post of July 8, 1984, Justin Bloom, a retired Foreign Service officer who served as science counselor at the American Embassy in Tokyo for six years, recently testified to a congressional committee to the effect that the U.S. is ignoring available Japanese technical information. The article, by Hobart Rowen, was also reprinted in the Japan Times of July 12.

Bloom was arguing against the "xenophobic" viewpoint which has been expressed by persons like William C. Norris, chairman of Control Data Corp. Norris argues that the Japanese "are taking advantage of us...They're living off our technology... Their access [here] is far better than our access over there." Bloom testified that he is "deeply disturbed" by the contradictions inherent in this viewpoint: "How can the Japanese be considered parrots and copiers on the one hand, and the most awesome challengers to our technological lead on the other?"

Bloom admits that American access to Japanese data is not as good as Japanese access to ours. The best and most complete source of information is, naturally, in Japanese: the technical literature itself published in some 10,000 science and engineering journals, trade papers and government reports. But, Bloom adds, American companies for the most part haven't acquired the language ability to profit from this source of information.

The Japanese are not stopping the Americans from obtaining access to Japanese information. "Rather, it's a choice most American companies have made: We're our own worst enemies."

"Self-Imposed Barrier"

"A few commercial abstracting and indexing services recently have come into being," continues the article, but "the failure of the Western economies to stress widespread education in the Japanese language - to say nothing of educating scientists and engineers in technical Japanese - is a self-imposed barrier."

In the Tokyo Embassy, only four staff officers speak Japanese, according to Bloom's testimony. Bloom knows of "no language officer at the State Department who has received instruction in technical Japanese." Bloom also concedes that Japan has not made it easy for foreigners to work or study in Japan. "Many Japanese doubt whether foreigners, including Americans, are willing to take up residence in Japan and work hard enough to become proficient in the language."

Nevertheless, Bloom says that there does exist an "extensive system for bilateral U.S.-Japanese exchange of information at the governmental level through 13 major agreements." This system has, he asserts, "resulted in an extensive flow of information from Japan here. As Japan's achievements have multiplied, as much information is obtained by the U.S. from Japan as goes in the opposite direction."

However, the problem is that "the American public is largely unaware of this activity... and the information obtained... is not further disseminated to industry and academic as well it might be."

English-Language Information Ignored

According to Bloom, the most shocking part of the situation is that American companies by and large ignore the "huge amounts" of scientific and technological information that the Japanese make available in English, frequently because of a "general underestimation of the Japanese ability to conduct original research."

Bloom says that the Japanese do provide a wealth of information in their English-language periodicals. The Japanese provide it for several reasons. For one thing, the Japanese government is sensitive to criticisms that Japan is a closed society. It wants to demonstrate that it doesn't shut itself off from the rest of the world.

In addition, the Japanese recognize that their language will never be an international one, like English. The Japanese go to the trouble of translating large amounts of their own data because their scientists wish to communicate with the outside world, and also because there is a commercial incentive to sell publications.

Bloom's guess is that "it has gone largely untapped." When he was working at the Embassy in Tokyo, Bloom began publishing lists of information sources available in English. The lists were obtainable from the American Embassy and the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, but Bloom thinks that the practice has been discontinued.

Bloom's conclusion is that "Japan is not an enemy, but a friend and our most important ally in the Pacific. It is also a tough competitor which is good for both countries." He hopes that the competitive challenge offered by Japan will be looked at in this light.

[Thanks to Tamiyo S. Togasaki, Librarian of The International House of Japan, and others for sending us the article from The Washington Post. Writers in the U.S. press frequently have mentioned the tendency of American companies to "ignore" Japanese scientific and technical information and to fail to acquire the language ability to profit from this information. The following letter from James J. Hubbert suggests some strategies and tactics which Japanese area specialists might employ in overcoming this situation. - Ed.]

* * * * *


James J. Hubbert

I read with some interest the pieces in issues 16 and 17 regarding the hiring of Japan area specialists by business and government, or rather the lack of it. My recent experience has given me some insights into this problem. I lived in Tokyo for 6 years, am co-author of four texts of advanced Japanese for the Japan Foundation, and have been working for JPRS since the beginning of this year. I will begin work on an MBA this fall.

A year ago, my background and training would have disposed me to wholehearted agreement with the comments of Mr. Reston (no. 16) and Mr. Schuchat (no. 17). Now I am not so sure. It seems to me that language specialists often have a somewhat distorted view of the role they have to play in business and government. Part of this, I think, may be due to the deceptive "practicality" of foreign language skills. The problem is that while these skills are of enormous significance in terms of opening doors to meaningful personal experiences, it does not follow that the area specialist will be able to effectively convey what he has experienced to the uninitiated, nor does it follow that the information he or she might have to offer will be needed on a regular, continuing basis. Instead, a solid background in the field the area specialist wishes to enter will always be necessary. A bilingual executive acting in a cross-cultural business environment will still be 95% business technician and 5% cultural expert. It appears to me that it is common for persons with language backgrounds who want to enter business or government to overestimate the proportion of their work which will involve their language skills as such. In addition, it often strikes me that a very great deal of what has been termed "Millerism" in TJT (i.e., the resentment of non-Japanese who are "too proficient" in Japanese or know "too much" about Japan) is really paranoia on the part of individuals who feel their skills are not receiving the proper reception from others. It is all too easy (and comforting) to rationalize one's failure to, say, land a job at a company that does business with Japan by assuming "Millerism" on the part of the company, rather than to admit that what one had to offer to that company in that context may have been less than that offered by the monolingual applicant with a solid background in the company's operations.

In TJT no. 13, an article by Jack Seward as cited in which Seward writes of American businessmen in Japan who are "afraid and suspicious" of persons having a Japan area background. Though I am sure there really are elements of "job insecurity" involved, I cannot help feeling that there is a certain amount of emotionalism in Mr. Seward's outlook. An individual with a background on Japan who wishes to push him or herself in a business context would do well to consider the impression which is being put across. I picture a person with a language and culture background, and little or no business experience, telling someone who has spent his or her life in the business world something which basically adds up to "You obviously need me, because you do business with Japan, and I speak their language and understand the way they think [i.e., while you do not]." Now, the company is probably already making profits from their business with Japan (otherwise they wouldn't be doing it) and it may not be obvious to this executive that now, a Japan area specialist is needed. This is a particular problem because any hiring this executive does will have to be justified on the basis of quantifiably measurable results. In "International Jobs" (Addison, Wesley; 1984), Eric Kocher writes:

How... can business not be aware of the importance to their operations of international know-how? Don't casually dismiss this attitude as idiocy. After all, if business believed that an international background in itself could increase profits, it would be foolish not to hire internationally oriented people .... The probability is that many of these organizations have analyzed the effect on company profits of hiring one or more... experts and have concluded that the benefits do not justify the costs." (p. 239)

One problem here may be the fact that potential applicants for jobs in business (government is another matter) who have an area background may never have had to work in a context where inability to produce quantitatively verifiable results can literally cost you your job. Therefore, they may not appreciate the extent to which the company (business school, agency, etc.) may be thinking "What will this person produce? How will it be measured?"

I would advise anyone planning to cite an area background in a job or professional school application to be very cautious about the way that background is presented. The practical (i.e., profit/loss, bottom line) aspects of that background should be emphasized (e.g., "There are many small Japanese firms which would be eager to invest in your company if only they had access to the information") rather than some vague-sounding "familiarity" with the country and its society, since that sort of expertise is only intermittently required by most companies, if at all. Also, one should not be blinded to this state of affairs by the positive feedback of well-meaning, but uninformed, individuals who will tell you "Corporations [the Government, business/law schools, etc.] would love to have someone who speaks Japanese," because usually it ain't so. At the dire risk of belaboring the point, one shouldn't assume that a lack of interest in one's area background indicates chauvinism, if for no other reason than that such an outlook will not help you design a strategy for reaching your goal. Yes, an area background will be useful, and will prove its value once you start working, but the professional with an area background will always be judged ultimately on the basis of those professional skills, not on her or his area background.

[Editor's P.S.: I think Mr. Hubbert is speaking here about a knowledge of colloquial Japanese, which obviously would be of limited value in a business environment. The problem which we should be addressing here is: How can technical translators utilize their skills in helping American (and other) companies to profit from Japanese scientific and technical information, which is generally perceived as being underutilized or "untapped," much to the detriment of American business interests. - Ed.]

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According to the July 1984 issue of Language Monthly, Shigeo Minowa addressed a major international conference on translation held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in March of this year. Speaking about the development of professional translation in Japan, he said that "Japan has succeeded in its modernisation by plundering modern European science and technology." He went on to explain that the era of modernisation was an era of translation. "Translation and learning are synonymous in Japan," Mr. Minowa declared. "In western countries, on the contrary, translation is only the transfer of words without any creativity, and cannot be considered to have scholarly merit. In Japan, however, translation is not merely the substitution of words, but is considered as a highly intellectual, scholarly work which interprets and introduces the original context from a completely different ideological background." Since 1200, study in Japan meant to learn from the outside.

The areas in big demand in Japan at present are technology translation and conference translation. One estimate of the market for the former has been two billion dollars, but Mr. Minowa did not know how reliable this figure is. However, the number of people whose work is in some way related to translation runs into tens of thousands, and the existence of a huge market is confirmed by the number of translation companies and translation schools, springing up "like mushrooms after a rainfall." One translation school called the Japan Translation Academy has 600 day students and 2,000 correspondence students, he said. (Language Monthly, July 1984, p. 15)

* * * * *


Peter Lim
5220 N.E. 51st St.
Vancouver, WA 98661

July 23,1984

Japanese patents are very valuable sources of technical information for American scientists and engineers. Having dealt with the Japanese patents for many years, I must admit that they are relatively short and succinct compared with the U.S. patents, for instance. There is one issue, however, that should be resolved in the Japanese patent format.

Correct pronunciation of people's names has been a problem which has been well known and accepted as a fact of life in Japan. There simply is no standard way of knowing exactly how a person's name is to be pronounced. Of course, I grant that in most cases the names follow standard pronunciation. But the fact that pronunciation of a person's name is determined by the person himself presents a fundamental problem in computerizing technical documents; such as in building up the data base for patent abstracts. A couple of classical examples are: 山本五十六 Yamamoto Isoroku, the Supreme Commander of the Pacific Fleet during World War II, and 長谷川一夫, Hasegawa Kazuo, an old-time movie star.

The Japanese Patent Office must have recognized this difficulty because the authors' names used to be written in Chinese characters accompanied by "kanatsuke" to show correct pronunciation.

However, around 1976–7 the Japanese Patent Office discontinued this practice and now only the Chinese characters are printed without "kanatsuke." This presents a problem for accurately documenting patents according to correct pronunciation of the authors' names. Let alone establishing "correct" spelling (the way the author chooses to) of the names in English alphabets. The Japanese Patent Office dropped "kanatsuke" perhaps to reduce the typesetting cost. If it is, indeed, the case, it was a shortsighted policy decision. If not, I would be very curious to see what other reasons there may be.

So much so that I tried to find a way of reinstating the "kanatsuke." First, I visited the Japanese Section of the U.S. Patent Office in Washington. A distinguished looking Japanese gentleman, who was in charge of the section, was kind enough to discuss the matter with me and agreed with a sympathetic smile. He essentially told me that he relies heavily on good dictionaries such as Kan-Wa Daijiten 漢和大辞典.

Then I had an occasion to be in San Francisco. So I visited the Japanese Consulate in the Japan Center. I presented the situation to the Consul General and asked him "Please convey this message to the Japanese government so that the situation is recognized as an important issue and resolved accordingly." The Consul General was surprised that I made such a request. He felt that it was not the responsibility of the Japanese Consulate in San Francisco and I was wasting my time and his.

Inasmuch as Japanese patents are becoming more important for the U.S. technical data base, this issue of the authors' names should be resolved. If the Japanese government realizes the importance of this issue, I am sure that they will do something about it. I feel strongly that it is a matter of getting the attention of the proper government authority.

Therefore, I appeal to the faithful readers of Technical Japanese Translation to look into this situation and chip in for the action. I can think of several possible action plans:

  1. Contact the Japanese Embassy in Washington and convince them that the authors' names can be the source of confusion and inaccuracy in computerizing patent search. From the standpoint of promoting technical and industrial cooperation between the U.S. and Japan, this is a critical issue to be noted by the policy makers. Send this message to the homebase.
  2. Contact the Japan Patent Office and ask them if "kanatsuke" can be reinstated.
  3. Contact Hatsumei Kyokai and ask their help. Because of their advisory capacity and seniority in the patent business, it may be possible for them to talk to the younger bureaucrats in the Patent Office and convince them that this is a critical issue.
  4. Draft a resolution and an article for the reinstatement of "kanatsuke" and send it to recognized news media in Japan such as the Nikkei Sangyo and the Asahi Shimbun.

* * * * *


ASCII Microsoft, a Tokyo company engaged in publishing and software development and sales, reports that it is receiving increasing number of requests for the creation of English-language manuals for personal computers, according to the Nikkei sangyō shimbun (July 23, 1984). The company has in the past been receiving contracts from large Japanese computer manufacturers for writing computer manuals in both English and Japanese, but in the past most of the contracts have been for manuals in Japanese. Now there is a rapidly increasing demand for creation of English-language manuals. This reflects the moves by Japanese computer manufacturers to making full-scale inroads into overseas markets, chiefly in the U.S.

Another company, Atras Japan Corp. (see TJT no. 16, p.35–36), says that it too will begin contracting for the writing of personal computer and word-processor manuals in both Japanese and English. Currently Atras has fewer than 10 technical writers but plans to increase the number to 30 before the end of this year. It intends to use foreigners exclusively to write the English manuals and will try to recruit staff from overseas. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, July 26, 1984)

According to ASCII, in the past usually one English-language manual a year was created under contract, but since the end of 1983 the demand for English manuals has been increasing until now ASCII is always writing manuals for a number of different companies. ASCII has an inhouse staff of 20 manual writers as well as some external personnel. In writing its Englishlanguage manuals, it has requested help from Microsoft, with which ASCII collaborates in sales work. Microsoft has helped out by introducing native Americans in the U.S.

A problem in computer manuals thus far has been the fact that the specialists who developed the hardware have also been writing the manuals themselves. Even though they were familiar with the specialized technologies, they have often been poor writers. Manuals written by such specialists have been unpopular among overseas users, and this was one of the reasons why sales of Japanese personal computers overseas have been so sluggish. And also the reason why computer manufacturers have been awarding increasing numbers of contracts to companies like ASCII which have full staffs of specialists in manual writing. The increase of such contracts is regarded as an indication that Japanese manufacturers will expand their exports of personal computers to English-speaking countries, according to the Nikkei sangyō shimbun.

The article about ASCII was interesting to me because it did not contain the word "translation." The article about Atras also refers to manual "writing," not to translation of Japanese manuals into English. Evidently the computer manuals written by ASCII and Atras are not translations from Japanese but are original manuals written in English by technical writers employed by these companies, no doubt referring to reference materials in Japanese. Both companies indicate that they intend to use native speakers of English in some capacity in their manual writing. I wonder how successful this method might be. I would like to know what Arnold Rusoff thinks of this approach to creating computer documentation. (See TJT no. 17, p. 25–27 for his comments concerning translation of Japanese computer documentation.)

Incidentally, the documentation problem is mentioned by Brian Williams in an article he wrote about the market prospects of the MSX computers in the U.S. Williams says that, even if these computers are marketed in this country, "users will not know how to use them. The translated Japanese manuals, if they follow the usual tradition, will be incomprehensible. We can't expect much from Microsoft either; just look at the rotten job they have done in producing a manual for MS Basic. Moreover, MSX was produced by ASCII Microsoft, a Japanese company, so we certainly can't expect anything from them." (Creative Computing, August 1984, p. 198)

* * * * *


The monthly magazine Kōgyō eigo devotes considerable space to patent translation. The August, 1984 issue, for example, has an article called "Monograph on Styles in Patent Specification" by Mr. Takuro Kohitsu of the Zonderhoff Agency. His article discusses the translation of patent claims, and gives as an example the following Japanese claim about a hair curler. I am reproducing the Japanese claim and the author's English translation:




Hair setting apparatus comprising a grip 1 containing a liquified gas tank, a tubular curling iron member 2 of desired length mounted on said grip 1. a combustion valve 4 disposed in the lower portion of said curling iron member 2, a catalyst combustion member 19 inserted inside said curling iron member 2, a nozzle member 8 for said combustion valve 4 positioned below said catalyst combustion member 19 in such manner as to be freely movable vertically, and a hair clasping plate 3 resiliently mounted on the side of said curling iron member 2 in such a manner that it can be freely opened and closed.

* * * * *


According to the dictionary, ima hitotsu in Japanese means "one more" or "another",and is synonymous with moo hitotsu. But that explanation is insufficient to cover a number of examples seen in recent newspaper and magazine articles. For example, an article in the Nikkei sangyō shimbun (April 13, 1984) discusses the fact that five months have already gone by since the MSX home computers have been introduced to the market but no boom has yet occurred, even though it is believed that there is a good possibility that the MSX computers might rapidly expand the market for personal computers. The headline of this article reads:


The Nikkei sangyō shimbun (July 26, 1984) has an article about video tape recorders made by audio manufacturers 'and says that sales of products by these manufactui'ers have not yet quite picked up. One of the headlines of the article says this:


An article in the Nihon keizai shimbun (May 3, 1984) discusses the stock market. After the correction, many have become bullish and now expect a resumption of the bull market. (They were wrong, but never mind.) Then the article continues:


This means, I take it, that it is not yet quite clear what the foreign investors will do on the Tokyo stock market.

A book review in the may 1984 issue of Common sense is discussing a novel called Short Timers which was made into a movie by Stanley Kubrick. As soon as the movie was released, Bantam reissued the novel in a paperback edition, and 225,000 copies have already been printed. The book review continues:


means, evidently, that many books which did not quite make it commercially although they were a critical success have been revived when they were made into movies.

An article in the Nikkan kōgyō shimbun (May 1, 1984) is discussing problems in welding of a melting tank for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. The article continues:


That is, the Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation says that it is fully self-confident in its welding techniques, but its statements are not quite convincing.

The evening edition of the Nihon keizai shimbun of June 29, 1984 has a review of a television drama about a love affair. It points out some of the shortcomings of the drama:


That means, I suppose, that the television drama's fundamental insights into the human aspects of the characters are not quite sharp enough to be convincing.

In all of these quotations, the expression ima hitotsu is used to point out an insufficiency, something which has not yet cuite occurred. The MSX computer has not yet become quite as popular as was expected. Sales of certain brands of VTR's have not yet quite built up. it is not yet quite clear what the foreign investors will do. Some books did not quite make it commercially. The statements of the Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation are not quite convincing. The television drama's insights are not quite sharp enough for the reviewer.

There is another variant of this expression: ima ichi. I encountered it only once in a newspaper article which had the headline:


The general meaning was that the gadflies attending the Hitachi stockholders' meeting asked questions about the IBM incident, but they were not quite able to get their spirits up, largely because of the recent Isetan incident, in which an Isetan executive was questioned by the police because of alleged negotiations with sokaiya. The same expression occurred also in the body of the article, which I reproduce below:

[Scanned Image]

I imagine that we could try rephrasing some of these statements in order to make the rhetoric of the expressions more understandable. That is, we might say: gaijin no dookoo wa ima hitotsu hakkiri shite hoshii, or ima hitotsu hakuryoku ga atte hoshii. That is, one step more, and we would get what we want, but the situation as it is is not quite perfect. I don't recall ever seeing this expression before this year. Am I correct in assuming that it has this meaning and that it has surfaced recently in journalistic writing? Do any readers have incisive explanations of why ima hitotsu and its derivative ima ichi have this meaning of "not quite"? DLP

* * * * *


Kabuki and Takarazuka fans do not need to be reminded about Japanese gender bending, or rather female and male impersonators. But how about the confused genders in words borrowed from foreign languages? During the prehistoric period the Japanese once used the gairaigo "boy" (booi to refer to waiters. Waitresses were occasionally called "onna booi," with charming disregard for gender distinctions.

Female office workers were at one time called BG, which stood for "business girl." Someone raised the objection that "business girl" in English means a prostitute, and there was an immense furore. Finally a new abbreviation OL was coined. It stands for "office lady," as we all know.

Now there is a new term for female management employees which involves an additional example of gender confusion. Eigyō-man is a common term for (male) management employees, and now a valve company (Kitazawa Valve) has hired two female university graduates for management positions. This is the headline announcing this in the Nikkan kōgyō shimbun, (July 26, 1984):

2人の女性営業マン誕生 北沢バルブが初採用

* * * * *


Frederik L. Schodt

When a European dignitary visited Japan a few years ago, he sorely wounded the nation's pride with a careless remark that Japanese live in "rabbit hutches." Fortunately, he never stayed in a kapuseru beddo or capsule bed.

As reported in issue no. 6 of this newsletter, capsule beds are enjoying a nationwide boom. These are mass-produced sleeping compartments, self-contained units with a bed, television, intercom, writing desk, and lighting control panel. They are currently manufactured in two formats: those with a door at the end of the capsule, and those with a side door. Both typically are 1.1 m wide x 2.2 m long x 1.2 m high. A stripped-down model retails for around 400,000 yen, or $1,600. According to the Nihon keizai shimbun, there are currently over 80 hotels and other operations using nearly 8,000 capsules, a onehundred percent increase over the previous year.

What is the appeal of a capsule bed? Since young generations are dramatically larger than their elders, it would sem that Japanese living quarters would be growing, certainly not shrinking.

For the public the price is a strong drawing point. If a man is out drinking with his fellow workers until late at night and misses the last train, he can snore until morning in a capsule for a mere 2,000–3,000 yen, whereas a room in a standard business hotel could easily cost several times that amount.

For the operators of capsule hotels, the space saved translates into profit. Japanese "business hotels" are notorious for their cramped space, but compare to sleeping capsules their rooms are like auditoriums: six rooms would normally occupy a floor space of sixty square meters. But thirty capsule beds will fit in the same area if they have end doors and are stacked two high.

Capsule beds first appeared in Japan in early 1979, in the Osaka area. It is said that an operator of a local sauna noticed how many of his customers were dozing on the premises, and being an enterprising sort, decided to convert his establishment into a "capsule hotel" of thirty beds.

There are currently two major manufacturers of capsule beds: Kotobuki, capitalized at 97 million yen, and Jaazetto, capitalized at 20 million yen. Both started around 1979, and now sell nation-wide, and both are promoting a variety of uses for their products. Kotobuki recommends its "Sleep Capsule" not only for hotels, but as rest facilities for hospitals and factories where late night work is common. Sales are reportedly high to taxi cab companies, research labs, and (not surprisingly) computer firms. Jazetto, while a smaller firm, has pulled off a coup of sorts: its capsules will be used in Japan's largest capsule hotel, to be built in Tsukuba for Expo '85. Since a chronic shortage of rooms is forecast for the area, the hotel will have 5,000 capsules, and between March and September of '85 it is expected to house over one million people. When the fair is over the capsules will be resold to ski lodges and other hotels.

As Japan roars into the twenty-first century, maximum utilization of limited space becomes a challenge of the first order. 120,000,000 people are crammed onto a tiny chain of islands; everyone has more money to acquire consumer goods and no place to put them. The general cultural consensus seems to be that everything must shrink, hence the culture that brought us bonsai, Walkmans, and Watchmnans now brings us capsule beds.

This is not to say that capsule beds are without their critics. All things considered, the Japanese are certainly more socially conditioned to confined quarters than many cultures, but there is some question about what effect "encapsulation" will have on even the most claustrophobia-resistant psyches.

There is also the safety factor. This April a small cigarette-induced fire broke out in a Tokyo capsule bed, and while it was quickly extinguished, it is not hard to imagine the disaster which would occur were a major blaze to strike a 5,000 capsule hotel such as that at Tsukuba. Shortly after, the Tokyo Fire Department issued a set of safety standards for the new industry. Capsules and the bedding inside them must be flame-resistant; smoking and any open flame is prohibited; minimum width is 1.2 meters; and there must be a space between capsules.

Coincidentally, the April fire occurred in the Kabukicho region of Tokyo's Shinjuku district, an area notorious for its nightlife, where romantic and not so romantic liaisons take place by the hundreds every day, in "coffee shops," "bars," and "love" hotels where rooms rent by the hour. It would seem to be a market tailor-made for capsule beds, were they not so small.

The 5/23/84 edition of the Nihon keizai shimbun reports that a company called Seiwa has begun manufacturing a multi-purpose "dream capsule" for two. "Coffee shops" have expressed particular interest. And, unlike other makers, Seiwa includes not only a television, but a video tape recorder.

[Information for the above article comes from articles in the Nihon keizai shimbun, August 1983 to July 1984.)

* * * * *


An article by David E. Sanger in the New York Times of July 5, 1984 describes an electronic edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, which today has grown to more than 500,000 entries. It has 13 volumes and three supplements, amounting to more than 20,000 pages of definitions. The bound edition now costs $1,225.

Now, the article says, Oxford University Press is preparing an electronic edition of the O.E.D. in a $10 million project.

If successful, continues the article, "the final product will include the ultimate thesaurus and a host of sub-dictionaries, custom-made to the users' interests. Medical historians will be able to retrieve the origins of terms limited to an arcane specialty; musicians, the first literary references to scores of instruments; or lawyers, the relationships between terms rooted in English common law." David Attwooll, executive editor of reference books for Oxford's New York office, says: "We are hoping for a dictionary that bridges centuries and bridges technologies."

The first stage of the task, started several months ago, is to enter all of the text of the original dictionary and the supplements. The inputting must be done by hand because of the variety of type fonts and symbols used in each country. Coding is used to identify the spelling, pronunciation, part of speed, definition and examples of how the word has been used in literature. Once the basic entry is complete, Oxford will merge the thousands of entries in its supplements with the main dictionary entries. Thousands of previously unused literary references for entries can then be added to the electronic version.

After the new edition is completed, the lexicographers will sift through each entry again, updating and preparing them for electronic data base searches. A team at the University of Waterloo in Ontario has already started on that task, trying to determine the most likely patterns in which users of the system would search for combinations of terms and references.

* * * * *


Science Technology & Society, the curriculum newsletter of the Lehigh University STS Program & Technology Studies Resource Center, has devoted its number 42 (June 1984) to "Science, Technology and Society Programs and East Asian Studies." Guest editors for this issue were Michael R. Notis and Raymond F. Wylie.

The lead article by Notis and Wylie points out that "East Asian Studies by and large have been ignored in university Science, Technology and Society Programs," which have predominantly emphasized the U.S. and Western Europe. The issue contains, among other things, four sample course syllabi which illustrate different approaches at four different universities to teaching in this area. They are:

"Science, technology and culture in East Asia." Spring semester 1984. Michael R. Notis. Dept. of Metallurgy & Materials Engr., Lehigh University.

"Science, technology and business in Japan." Spring quarter 1984. J.R. Bartholomew, Dept. of History, Ohio State University.

"Colloquium in Chinese science." History 352. Nathan Sivin, History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania.

"China and the West." Spring semester 1982. James Reardon-Anderson, Johns Hopkins University.

The issue also contains a brief overview of the East Asian Studies Program currently being developed at Lehigh University, showing the linkage between East Asian Studies (EAS) and Science, Technology and Society (STS) at the university and how the program has led to crossーfertilization between teaching, research and outreach. The program has been supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. A three-day symposium was given April 25–27 on "Science, Technology and Industrial Growth: Japan and the United States."

Additionally, the issue contains a list of media materials on Japan and STS, and book reviews. Technical Japanese Translation and the editor's name are also mentioned very favorably ("a remarkably frequent and copious newsletter"), and the table of contents of our issue no. 16 is reprinted in full on an entire page to convey "some idea of the wide range of interests which the newsletter addresses."

The East Asian Studies Program at Lehigh University is planning to issue two experimental EAS/STS newsletters, probably in January and September 1985, to serve as a regular source of information on developments in the field.

The address of the East Asian Studies Program is:

East Asian Studies Program
207 Maginnes Hall #9
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA 18015

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According to the July 1984 issue of Language Monthly, the first issue of a newsletter for specialists in Eastern languages is not going out. The newsletter is a result of the three-day conference on "Communication between European and Eastern languages" held in January at Chantilly (see no. 15, p. 24). The conference was held under the European Commission's multilingual action plan for over a hundred European specialists working with Japanese, Arabic, Chinese and Korean.

The newsletter will be sent to all conference participants and to others who have expressed an interest. The conference proceedings will also be published during the summer, according to Language Monthly. Language Monthly does not give an address for the newsletter's publishers.

* * * * *


During 1984, altogether eight books about IBM and IBM products have been written by Japanese and published in Japan. Four of them have bellicose-sounding titles containing the words senryaku (strategy) and sensoo (war). The others are devoted to the IBM 5550. Some bookstores in Tokyo are said to have sections which look like IBM corners, according to the Nikkei sangyō shimbun, (July 5, 1984).

The first contingent of IBM staff have arrived in Tokyo to open up the Asia/Pacific unit headquarters of IBM World Trade Americas/Far East Corp. By September or October, the headquarters will be fully staffed with about 350 persons, 200 of whom will be dispatched from the U.S. An additional 150 Japanese will be transferred to the headquarters from IBM Japan. One of the Americans arriving in Tokyo in July is E. Nanas, a veteran IBM "spokesman." (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, July 5, 1984)

IBM Japan, which is staffed overwhelmingly by Japanese nationals, has in the past been run largely according to Japanese customs, and the Japanese language has been used far more than English within the company. Now two American executives have joined IBM Japan, and IBM Japan has decided to change its language. Now English, rather than Japanese, is to be used in the executive meetings and in all the important company documents. This about-face, coming along with the decision to locate IBM's Asia/Pacific headquarters in Tokyo, right across the street from IBM Japan's own headquarters building, has set tongues wagging in Tokyo. It seems to indicate that the American mother company is moving to strengthen its control over the Japanese company. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, July 7, 1984) An article in the July 24 edition of the magazine Keizaikai, published on July 10, speaks in sensational terms about the consternation of president Takeo Shiina of IBM Japan at seeing his company taken over by an American "army of occupation" ("shinchuugun ni senkyo sareta Shiina Takeo no fukaku")

A Japanese-language edition of Newsweek will be published by TBS Britannica starting in January 1985. This will be the first magazine published by TBS Britannica and also the first non-English edition of Newsweek published anywhere. 85% of the contents will be translations selected from the English edition, and the remaining 15% will be articles unique to the Japanese edition. 100,000 copies will be issued at the start. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, July 7, 1984)

A Japan branch of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has been formed by some 15 Japanese subsidiaries of American semiconductor companies. The branch will be headed by James McGrath, president of MMI Japan, the Japanese subsidiary of Monolithic Memories.

A recent article in the Japan Times (July 2, 1984) quotes Mr. Takehiko Yamamoto, president of Bravice International, as saying that "Few people really like to do translation as their lifetime job." A reader in Tokyo writes: "I'm sure it will brighten your day to learn that most people have better things to do with their lives than become translators."

The same article quotes the opening passage of "The Snow Country," a novel by Nobel Prize-winning novelist Yasunari Kawabata, as translated by Edward G. Seidensticker. The passage goes as follows in Seidensticker's translation:

"The train came out of the long tunnel into the snow country. The earth lay white under the night sky. The train pulled up at a signal stop."

This is how the same passage was translated by the computerized translation system:

"It was a snow country when it goes through a long tunnel of a border. A bottom of a night became white. A train stopped in signal station."

The computer took three minutes to do this literary job, after asking for a few words it didn't know because they were not in its stock vocabulary. The computer-generated version, according to the Japan Times article, reads somewhat closer to the Japanese original, word for word, but is "remote in feeling."

Another reader writes from Tokyo to say that a well-known translation company in Tokyo recently paid some twenty million in delay penalties to a client as a result of English-Arabic work they had contracted in Egypt. The quality was so bad that the client couldn't use it. The reader doesn't say whether the job was done by a human translator or by a translating machine.

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by Derek P. Freyberg

"The Japanese-American High Technology Patent War" is the title of a book published in March 1983 by Masayoshi Miyazaki. Subtitled "The Strategy of Japan: Rebuilding the Country with Technology," the book describes the controversies in intellectual property (patents, trademarks, and copyrights) that have arisen between the U.S. and Japan in recent years.

The author, a 38-year old dropout from Waseda University's English Literature course, established a trading company and is now President of Tokyo Express K.K. He has written several other books, including "Elite Businessman - Robot," "The Military Robot War - The Aim of Japan's Latest Technology," and "A Mishima Yukio Retrospective," and has translated others from English.

Reviews of the book have appeared in the Nihon keizai shimbun (May 15, 1983) and the Nikkan kōgyō shimbun, (June 16, 1983).

The book's thesis is broader than its title. It examines many of the trade and technology frictions between the U.S. and Japan, including such items as proposed "local contents" legislation for automobiles, and lumps them conveniently under the heading of "patent wars." As the author said, "1981 was the year of defense friction, 1982 the year of trade friction, and (speaking especially of technology capable of military applications) 1983 will be the year of technology friction (patent wars)." 1983 was certainly such a year, but if Miyazaki had waited until 1984 he would have found even more to comment on.

Under such catchy subheadings as "Is Japan a Yellow Yankee?" and "Invention Was the Mother of Culture," and more descriptive ones such as "The Shadow of the IBM Scandal," "DuPont's Patent Battle Plan," and "Patents on Amorphous Alloys," the author explores the broad range of technology and trade issues that have arisen between the U.S. and Japan, including outright trade problems (e.g. automobiles), the optical fiber communications revolution, patent vs. copyright protection for computer software, and, of course, robots and large-scale integrated circuits.

The final chapter deals with three non-U.S. problems of substantial interest to Japan - first, the so-called "Fedeling law" which would control the activities of subsidiaries of foreign corporations in the European community; second, the ongoing battle over revision of the Paris Convention; and third, the proposed deep-sea bottom treaty as part of the U.N.'s proposed "Law of the Sea." Both these last two pit the developed nations against the undeveloped (the "Group of 77"). The first would modify the Paris Convention, which grants priority rights for foreign patent filings within one year of a first filing, to allow less developed countries to expropriate a patent by issuing compulsory exclusive licenses to local companies if the foreign owner were not making the patented product locally. The second proposes that the sea bottom beyond national limits (typically 12–200 miles) would "belong" to the U.N., and that any exploitation of seabed minerals would require both royalty payments and technology transfer to the U.N. and hence to the less developed countries. The U.S., it may be added, opposes both and was the main holdout over the "Law of the Sea" treaty as well as being a leader in resisting some of the proposed revisions of the Paris Convention.

For those who read more than just their local paper, there will not be too much that is completely new in this book, but it offers a broad-based view of trade and technology problems.

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Ichiro Takahashi of Tokyo sends us information about the following dictionaries.

Saishin denshi debaisu jiten. by Harutsune Baba. First edition 1976. Tokyo, Rajio Gijutsu Sha. 418 pp. Japanese-English with 14-page English index. Each word has lengthy definitions which include pictures and wiring diagrams. Patent information is mentioned. ¥4,300.

Maguroo Hiru kagaku gijutsu yoogo daijiten [McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms]. 1979. Tokyo, Nikkan kōgyō shimbun Sha. 1,551 pp. Japanese-English with 304-page English-Japanese index. ¥32,000.

Eiwa purasuchikku koogyoo jiten. by Shin Ogawa. 1973. Tokyo, Kogyo Chosakai. 1,136 pages. English-Japanese with 162-page Japanese-English index.

JIS koogyoo yoogo daijiten. compiled and published by Nihon Kikaku Kyookai (Japanese Standards Association). 1982. ¥22,000. (Described in May 1983 in issue no. 1 of this newsletter.)

Preston Maxwell of Tokyo writes the following to describe two Soviet publications:

S.F. Kim, Foneticheskii slovar kitaiskikh ieroglifov (Phonetic dictionary of Chinese characters). Moscow, Nauka, 1983. 375 pages.

Parallel table of 3300 kanji with romanized readings in Middle Chinese, Guoyu, Cantonese, Suzhou dialect, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese. Multiple indexes and conversion tables for conventional Vietnamese and Korean orthography. Text in Russian.

N.A. Syromiatnikov, The ancient Japanese language. Moscow, "Nauka" Publishing House, Central Department of Oriental Literature, 1981. (English translation)

Just as we have long suspected, it turns out that Japanese is really a hick dialect of Korean with a Tagalog accent. The author presents material from Soviet Ural-Altaic studies as well as etymological data from Malayo-Polynesian languages. Of interest to the casual reader as well as specialists, this volume belongs to the "Languages of Asia and Africa" series, comprising over 80 titles, many of which also appear in English.

Mr. Maxwell says that the two titles are available from Nisso Shoten, Inagaki Bldg., 1-9 Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (295-6485) for approximately ¥5,000 and ¥2,000. In the U.S. they can be ordered from Victor Kamkin Inc., 12224 Parklawn Dr., Rockville, MD 20852. Prices are $10.25 and $5.00.

Incidentally, I (DLP) have read Mr. Syromiatnikov's book, and he does not say anywhere that Japanese is a "hick dialect of Korean." Tut tut. Mr. Syromiatnikov would be horrified by such a grotesque distortion. In actual fact, Syromiatnikov points to features shared by Ancient Japanese with the Altaic languages. That is a theory commonly held in the scholarly community and hardly comes as a surprise to those familiar with Roy Andrew Miller's Japanese and the Other Altaic Languages. Syromiatnikov also says that the Malayo-Polynesian languages may have been a substratum. Also no big surprise.

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Kootsuu koogaku yoogo jiten, a dictionary of terms in traffic engineering, has been published by Gijutsu Shoin. The dictionary was compiled by the Express Highway Research Foundation of Japan (Koosoku Dooro Choosakai) and the Traffic Engineering Association (Kootsuu Koogaku Kenkyuukai) and supersedes two previous editions of the same name published in 1966 and 1972. The dictionary has 280 pages and contains about 1,500 words, for which English equivalents are given. There are Japanese and English indices. The dictionary costs ¥3,000.

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A Japanese-Indonesian dictionary of mining and manufacturing was recently published by the Japan Industrial Technology Association (Nihon Sangyo Gijutsu Shinko Kyokai), an organization connected with MITI. The dictionary has 1,100 pages and contains two parts: a "Japanese-English-Indonesian" part and an "Indonesian-EnglishJapanese" part. Each part contains 155,000 words. Subject fields include electricity, machinery, construction, civil engineering, chemistry, mining, and geological surveying. The dictionary costs ¥6,800. (Nikkan kōgyō shimbun, July 25, 1984)

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The address of the New York Kinokuniya is:

10 West 49th Street (at Rockefeller Plaza)
New York, NY 10020

(212) 765/1461/765-1462

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According to an article in the June 23, 1984 edition of the Japan Times, PressAid Center Co. of Tokyo has published an English-language directory of 4,500 offices and affiliates of Japanese companies in the U.S. and Canada. The book has 500 pages and sells in Japan for ¥14,000. It includes the telephone, telex, and telefax numbers, main product lines, annual sales and number of employees of the companies. The directory was compiled in co-operation with PressAid's U.S. affiliate, PressAid Center, 600 South Commonwealth Ave., Suite 1808, Los Angeles, CA 90005 (tel. (213) 739-9931).

Evidently this new directory supersedes the Directory: Affiliates & offices of Japanese firms in the U.S.A. published by JETRO and Press International, Ltd. in January 1982.

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OCS is offering new editions of the following reference books on chemicals:

Japan Chemical Directory 1984 (English edition)

Published May 1984. 830 pages. A directory of about 1,700 chemical companies in Japan and Southeast Asia. 28,750 in North America (airlifted).

JCW Chemicals Guide '84/'85 (English edition)

An English-language buyers' guide for companies dealing in chemical products. Published March 1984. 550 pages. Lists about 10,300 chemicals in alphabetical order and gives their Japanese manufacturers and CAS numbers. A separate directory lists the addresses and telephone numbers of about 1,550 manufactuers and vendors, including Japanese branches of American and European companies. ¥19,090 in North America (airlifted).

OCS also offers subscriptions to Japan Chemical Week, the English weekly published by the Kagaku kōgyō nippō since 1960. JCW has a minimum of 8 pages and is published every Thursday. Subscribers receive a gratis copy of Japan Chemical Annual. A three-month subscription to JCW costs ¥18,270 in North America (airlifted). (I'm not sure why these prices are quoted in yen.)

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Keith Wilkinson of Tokyo writes (July 1, 1984):

I feel that you should have the newsletter typed in proportional type, with Letraset headings and the like to make it look professional. Sending samples of a professionally-printed magazine to Universities with Japanese departments would probably assure you of enough subscribers to contract out all typesetting and distribution. An amateurlooking magazine which may fold up in 6 'months isn't going to get the necessary support — professional organizations succeed whereas amateur organizations fail when the volunteers leave.

Maybe there is no magazine for teachers of spoken and written Japanese — maybe you could fill that need too.

The first step is to get together a team — or contract with an existing magazine's team.

Thank you for the advice, but this is a grass-roots newsletter written by and for a small interest group of Japanese translators, who do not have their own organization, who lack access to larger media, and who need a means of communicating with each other. All of the production work is done at home by the editor himself. Probably Mr. Wilkinson has not seen many American newsletters, but I can assure him that many of them look even less "professional" than this one.

Since the aims of the newsletter are very limited, the editor has no intention of competing with professional-looking magazines. The readers also would not want to lose control over their newsletter by farming it out to a professional organization. Other professional groups, including the association of teachers of Japanese and the ATA, already have their own publications.

The present format is sufficient for a newsletter of this size and scope, and the editor will continue to publish it in its present form as long as he is able to do so. Nothing more is promised. DLP

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Russel Brand of Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, writes the following about this subject (July 14):

Haruko Smith's and Roey Munoz's comments about Shimomura's "Restructuring Japanese Sentences" (TJT, no. 17, p. 10) point to a question that concerns both technical translators and their clients. The question: "Is this stuff really worth translating?"

Engineers who write their native language badly are not rare; they are all over the place. Technical competence does not guarantee linguistic competence. The most famous word processor software in the world comes with some documentation that one frustrated user described as "impenetrable."

I share Roey Munoz's opinion that the job of a translator is to translate. If the client wants the translator to edit the document to improve the quality of the writing, the client should tell the translator this — and pay for the editing. The problem occurs continually in Japan. I would like to hear other opinions about this.

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My question about C programs (see TJT, no. 16, p. 49) was answered unexpectedly in the July 1984 issue of Byte, in which William Raike says that the C language is "an easy language to learn if you have some experience with at least one other programming language (even BASIC, to which it is not very similar." In his column "BYTE Japan" on pp. 361–364 of the July issue, Raike gives a program in the C language for counting the words in WordStar files. Raike recommends a C compiler called C/SO from The Software Toolworks ($50).

William Raike, who is beginning to write a regular Japan column in Byte magazine, is a reader of this newsletter. He holds a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Northwestern University, has taught operations research and computer science in Austin, Texas and Monterey, California. He holds a patent on a voice scrambler and was formerly an officer of Cryptext Corporation in the U.S. He has been working in Japan since 1980 as a technical translator and software developer.

Another program which counts sentences, words, and letters in order to determine the readability of a writing sample is described by George Stewart (The Program Factory, R.F.D. #1, Box 802, Hancock, NH 03449) in the July 1984 issue of Popular Computing (p. 199–204). The program, written in Microsoft BASIC, is called The Text Scanner. Stewart says (p. 204): "Of course when you count words exactly on a computer, you really count the spaces between words."

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Andrew Habberton

As agents, we are keenly aware of the difficulties of translating Japanese into English, and we also believe that the field of technical Japanese translation offers unique opportunities today.

However, I wish that translators in general — not merely translators of Japanese, but all translators — would make it their business to familiarize themselves more with English and its proper usage. How many translators own a copy of the "Chicago Book of Style," "Fowler's English Usage," and "The Careful Writer" by Bernstein? Poor English usage in any translation has the effect of good music poorly played by a mediocre orchestra.

Very many translators do not invest enough of their earnings in dictionaries. Do they lack faith in their capabilities? Just as a building contractor will not assign work to a subcontractor who doesn't have the necessary tools or wants to work with borrowed tools, we cannot assign work to people who do not own the necessary tools, i.e. dictionaries, for a given job.

In any school of journalism, students are told repeatedly to read their finished work aloud. Practically all translators could greatly improve the quality of their work if they would read their work aloud.

Many translators are excessively hamstrung by the wording of the foreign text and try to excuse awkward translations by telling us "That's what the foreign language text says." Our clients do not want to know what the foreign text "says." Our clients want to know what the foreign text MEANS.

I believe that by far the greatest opportunities for freelance translators are in the translation of technical Japanese. Any freelance translator of technical Japanese who earns less than $30,000 a year is either not very competent or doesn't want to work very hard.

At least for the time being, it seems that the best computer for translation from Japanese to English is the one above your eyeballs. Effective use of that computer combined with dependability cannot fail to make you successful and produce a good income.

[Mr. Habberton is a translator himself and has a translation agency in San Rafael, California. — Ed.]

* * * * *


Donald L. Philippi

Continuing the debate which has been going on since last year, Arnold F. Rusoff wrote in our last issue (no. 17, p. 25) in favor of a specialist approach to technical translation. He said that if the translator does not really understand the subject matter, he will find it difficult to understand the ambiguities in a poorly written original and turn out a coherent translation in English.

He specializes in translations of only one subject area. Other readers have written that they, too, tend to specialize in a narrowly defined range of special fields; computers, medicine, pharmaceuticals and chemistry are some of the fields frequently mentioned. In fact, some translators even take this argument to an extreme; they say that they cannot speak Japanese or read ordinary newspaper articles, and their expertise is confined solely to technical translations in a very narrowly defined field. If that is true, they probably cannot even read the names of the Japanese authors whose articles they are translating.

A generalist approach is more to my liking. I feel that, without a broad knowledge of the language and the culture, a translator will often miss nuances and shades of meaning. Even in highly technical writing I often come across colloquialisms and slang expressions. For instance, if I am called upon to translate speeches or minutes of discussions, the statements made by the participants will be noted down in colloquial Japanese, often elliptically. If I were "specialized" to an extreme, I would have to turn down these jobs.

I could give you lots of examples of technical Japanese words which are of strictly colloquial provenance; some of them even sound like classical Japanese. Consider, for instance, words like fure, toriai, hippari, hikkaki, katasa, furikire, kaneai, haridashi, yakiire, fukiage, fukioroshi, mentori, oogigata and yuaka. Certainly a person with a broad background in the language and culture would be better qualified to understand these terms in their correct context(s) than a person whose education was limited to the strictly technical side of things.

Certainly I agree that a Ph.D. in chemistry is no doubt much better qualified to translate an article about chemistry than a generalist who has taken only a few courses in the subject. However, in fields other than chemistry, the Ph.D. chemist probably labors under exactly the same handicaps as any other layman. That is, a generalist is in the same boat as a specialist outside of the latter's narrow area of specialization. Unless the chemistry Ph.D. can find a steady source of chemistry jobs, he will have to learn something about other fields, just like the rest of us.

There are ways by which novices can familiarize themselves with fields of learning which are new to them. Everyone, including Mr. Rusoff, was at one time a novice in every subject. The educational process has to start at some point. Obviously, the best way to get started is to take a few courses in the new subject or to read through one or two good textbooks in the field. Any translator can easily accumulate a collection of English-to-English dictionaries on a specialized subject. Why are all-English dictionaries necessary? In chemistry, for example, you can use The condensed chemical dictionary (Van Nostrand Reinhold) to track down, phonetically, many of the names of chemicals which you can't find in the Japanese-to-English chemistry dictionaries. The Japanese article which you are translating often gives you clues. In addition to the English abstracts and captions of figures, an article will often have a bibliography listing monographs in English. Obviously, the author of the article has consulted these English writings, and it would be logical to assume that the English equivalents of some of the Japanese terms will appear in them. A visit to a library may be a good investment of translating time. Many of the problems in terminology will be cleared up if the translator just takes time to find and read through some of the articles in English to which the Japanese author referred when writing his article.

The translator should begin to keep his own glossary. Terms which do not appear in the J-E dictionaries ought to be noted down by the translator and kept in files for future reference. The translator will never be a specialist in the field, but terms which appear again and again will be recognized, and after visiting the library the translator will know a little something about the current state of knowledge in the particular field - maybe something which the specialist does not know because the information is too specialized.

If the investment can be justified, the translator might like to explore the possibility of accessing bibliographic databases such as Dialog (which has more than 200 different databases including MEDLINE, EMBASE, CA SEARCH and SCISEARCH, to name just a few) to find references, spellings of non-Japanese names, spellings of names of chemicals and companies, and so forth. This could possibly be a shortcut, saving the time and gas needed to make frequent trips to the library. Have any readers starting to use databases in their work?

My opinion is this: Translators who are specialized to an extreme degree are working at a disadvantage in today's competitive environment. They can accept only a few of the available jobs and must turn down anything which they cannot handle. Agencies will approach them only occasionally, whenever they can find something in the specialized field. All other jobs will go to people who say that they can handle them. The only solutions for extreme specialists (solutions which are open to generalists as well, by the way) are to combine translation with some other type of work, as Betsy Kuga has done, or to find a steady supply of jobs, as Mr. Rusoff has done, and pray that the supply will continue. I believe that the latter course may be risky. Business conditions being uncertain, translators should try to diversify their sources of income, rather than counting on any single source of supply for translation jobs. Sources have a way of drying up, and if you limit yourself to only one source of work you are narrowing your options and are condemned to accept their rates rather than striking out for the best rates you can obtain on the competitive market.

* * * * *


Michael F. Durrant and his wife are full-time professional freelance translators and advertising copy writers living and working in Belgium. In a letter to the editors of Language Monthly published in the July 1984 issue, Michael protests about an article in a previous issue of the monthly which portrayed a translator working on a typewriter in cramped quarters. His protest "involves the overall image conveyed by the article, i.e. that the freelance translator of the 1980s is still someone who sits in a tiny, cramped office bashing out a few pages of text per day on a rickety old typewriter of indeterminate age. This is the eternal image against which we and many others are fighting in the constant battle for recognition of the fact that there are indeed professional translators who approach their work in a businesslike manner."

The letter continues with a description of Mr. and Mrs. Durrant's office:

"New customers are almost invariably amazed to learn that although our office is built into our home, we not only have an answering machine, two word processing units and a fax machine, we also have video equipment for TV subtitle work and a reference library which puts some translating agencies to shame. This equipment is not here for decoration, it is here because it is a profitable investment.

"There are undoubtedly many people who still fit the image portrayed in the article, regarding investment in the basic electronic and data tools of the trade as 'too expensive.' However, many customers are now beginning to appreciate the benefits in improved working speeds, flexibility and presentation which such equipment can enable us to produce, and they are willing to pay a handsome premium for this. Thus the equipment, although representing a large initial outlay, is not 'too expensive'; on the contrary, if viewed from a business viewpoint, it can pay for itself completely in just a few short months in increased turnover."

The letter concludes:

"We freelance full-time professional translators already work hard enough to bring customers' perception of our job up to date with reality without one of our own publications fostering the old image. Probably the impression conveyed is not the one you set out to convey. However, I should be surprised if it fails to incense a great number of professionals who have taken the trade into the twentieth century!"

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The northern California readers of this newsletter held another well-attended meeting on July 30 in San Francisco. (See report on the first meeting in TJT, no. 17, p. 32–33.) About 23 translators, interpreters, linguists and others attended and heard an interesting panel discussion on the subject: "Translators in Japan - Translators in the U.S." The four panelists, who all have worked in both Japan and the U.S. as technical translators, were Fred Schodt, Don Johnson, Stuart Matthews, and Don Philippi. The meeting was also attended by Bruce G. Talbot, who was visiting Northern California from Tokyo, Japan.

After describing their backgrounds in working as translators in both Japan and the U.S., the panelists had a far-ranging discussion in which they compared the life of a technical translator in Japan with that of a technical translator in the U.S. Most of the panelists had begun their translating careers in Japan and were surprised by some things they found in the translation business in the U.S. For instance, one panelist who had recently arrived here from Japan said that he thought the work was more poorly paid here than in Japan, although the living conditions are more pleasant here. A panelist who is not a U.S. citizen said that being an alien in Japan is psychologically more difficult than being one in the U.S. There are also better opportunities for beginners in Japan in spite of the visa problems.

We agreed that most of the translation work from Japanese to English which is available in the U.S. is technical in nature, having to do with scientific subjects. Many patents are also translated. Translators who are now in Japan and who wish to come to work in the U.S. should prepare themselves to do work in a wide variety of technical fields. We agreed that it is easier to be a "specialist" in Japan than in this country.

Post-editing of translations in both Japan and the U.S. was discussed in considerable detail. Some Japanese translation agencies have very elaborate editing procedures which slow down the work immensely. That is true also of a few agencies in the U.S., but in very many cases U.S. agencies do little editing and expect the translator to turn out "camera-ready" translations.

I (DLP) mentioned the "feast and famine" situation in the U.S. Translators recently arrived from Japan said that there were no "famines" in Japan and that it is far easier to make a lot of money in Japan, with the same expenditure of effort,.than here. Most of us agreed that at the start in the U.S. we felt that we were putting out too much work for too little pay, but that this situation changed radically for the better once we had established our reputation here. All of the panelists now use word processors and said that their productivity had increased as a result.

Some of the panelists said that there is more pressure on translators in Japan and that it is very difficult for a translator in Japan to say no. A common problem in Japan, they agreed, was that English translations made by native English speakers are corrected by Japanese editors based on an imperfect knowledge of the English language. One agency in Japan has a high turnover of its foreign translators because of this problem. Most panelists felt that good feedback from the agency or the client is very important, but opinions varied about whether there was better feedback in Japan or in the U.S.

I said that I resented the fact that some agencies in both countries treat translators as menial laborers and do not give them the respect they deserve as professionals. When a native English translator in Japan protests about the way his translation has been edited by Japanese, Japanese agencies or clients sometimes adopt the attitude that the translator's wishes are unimportant. On the other hand, some agencies in the U.S. are run by people who have the same mentality as used car salesmen.

We all agreed that it is necessary for a translator to adopt a longterm perspective and to build up his/her own personal business very patiently and methodically. In the U.S. the "feast and famine" syndrome is always a problem, and translators must expect to have slack periods when there is a business recession. It is easier to get started in Japan, and there are other things which foreigners can do in Japan besides translating, many of which might be even more lucrative. Some translators in the U.S. combine translating with other activities such as interpreting or consulting. (DLP)

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About what to do about agencies that don't pay translators, William Henry of Suginami-ku, Tokyo writes:

In issue 17 (page 33) you requested suggestions on how to cope with crooked agencies. My wife and I have been burnt several times until we discovered the common denominator. When a dishonest agency approaches the unwary translator (U.T.) for the first time the agency puts on an air of GREAT URGENCY. This is probably to impress the U.T. with:

(1) This is an opportunity to do a favor on the first job, therefore giving an impression that the agency will be "grateful" and give more work.

(2) The agency is "important" and is dealing with "important" clients, situations and materials.

(3) It doesn't allow a chance for the U.T. to check on the agency.

Therefore, if an agency gives you a rush job of great urgency for your first task - WATCH OUT.

Also there may be motive number four:

(4) Because you had to do the translation quickly, they may later calmly tell you that you did a "bad job," and therefore they won't pay you.

One thing that helped us collect from this sort of operator in the past was to suddenly appear in his office and embarrass him in front of his employees. The best thing is not to accept a big, urgent translation as the initial task from an agency.

[In the U.S., unfortunately, the crooked agency is probably in a different city or state from the translator, and the translator cannot conveniently "appear." Fly-by-night agencies also are known to have a rapid turn-over of employees, and even if the translator could visit the offending agency and embarrass the crook in front of his employees, that might be of questionable value. The crook can fire his employees as easily as he can fleece his translators. But I guess anything is worth trying. — DLP]

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The Fulbright program in Japan will expand in 1985 to include research awards for professionals in business, economics, government and law. Persons interested in developing closer ties with counterparts in Japan and exploring issues of contemporary concern are invited to submit proposals for research, study or observation on any of the following topics:

Japanese society and culture (business, economics, government, law, sociology) Problems of contemporary society (environmental pollution, urbanization, gerontology, human ecology, finite resources, population, labor relations, family, public law, criminology)

Political and economic relations in the Pacific (U.S.-Japan and one or more additional countries of the Pacific Basin)

Proposals should demonstrate the relationship of the project to the applicant's current responsibilities including any policy or program impact. Applicants must be U.S. citizens with a minimum of two years professional experience after training.

The grants will be for 3–9 months during the period July 1985 to July 1986. The stipend will be approximately $2,000 a month including allowances for settling-in, dependents and housing. Deadline for application is September 15, 1984.

Application forms are available from the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, 11 Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. 20036. Tel.: 202-833-4981. (Asian Wall Street Journal, July 9, 1984)

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Richard Cleary, Marketing Representative, Fujitsu America, Inc. has sent us (July 27 1984) the following information about the Fujitsu My OASYS Japanese-language word processor, which is now available in the U.S. (see our issue no. 16, pp. 42–44 for Terry Kleeman's detailed review of this machine):

Please note, for example, that the new version (designed to meet UL and FCC standards) has 24x24 dot matrix character display and printing, may be scrolled laterally up to 96 characters, can produce either hiragana or katakana (ルビ) for character glosses, and features a romaji→かな→漢字 entry mode. This last point means that you can type transliterated Japanese on the MY OASIS keyboard (standard QWERTY arrangement), have it appear on the display screen in kana, then, with one key stroke, convert the kana to kanji.

kisha → きしゃ → (+変換キー) → 貴社

(keyboard) → (screen) → (conversion key) → (screen)

Or, as explained in the pamphlet, you can enter the kana directly using the specially designed shift keys (親指シフトキーボード) and convert to kanji with a single stroke. (With practice, this way is quite a bit faster since kana entry is accomplished with one key — as opposed to the two required for romaji.

Because of customer support considerations — Fujitsu always provides prompt, reliable service — our initial plan was to limit My OASIS sales to the New York/New Jersey and California markets. However, in view of the fact that the OASIS service record in Japan has been excellent, we are now developing a "mail-in" service and repair system for other areas. At this point, we would suggest that an order from beyond our primary service areas be for two systems — one to serve as a back-up. Then, should any problem arise, the back-up system could be used while the module or unit requiring repair is shipped to our service center. Turn-around should be no longer than two weeks. Nevertheless, with customer acknowledgement of limited service and support conditions, we would be pleased to accept an order for a single system.

The main unit, including display screen and disk drive (5¼" floppy disks), keyboard, 24x24 dot matrix printer, and basic software sell for $3,999. (This fall we hope to offer an educational discount. The price for academic institutions is expected to be about $3,400: we will ask that an agreement be signed prohibiting resale for a period of one year.) with this package, printouts can be made on continuous forms with the built-in tractor feed or on single sheets — typewriter style. A cut sheet feeder which enables you to automatically feed single sheets for multi-page documents is available as an option. The price of the feeder is $700.

The Fujitsu My OASIS will have a ninety-day warranty; a separate agreement to cover repairs and service beyond that period will be offered on an annual basis. The charge for this extended warranty is $200.

Leasing, arranged by Fujitsu through Orient-U.S. Leasing Corp., is also possible. Information on terms and rates is included in our brochure.

If, after reviewing the enclosed information, you have any questions, please give me a call. Should you, or any of your readers, be interested in attending a My OASIS demonstration, we have facilities in San Jose, Los Angeles and New York. I would certainly welcome an opportunity to show you why the OASIS has become the best-selling word processing system in Japan.

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Those who wish to contact Mr. Cleary should write to him at the following address:

Richard Cleary
Fujitsu America, Inc.
10 East 53rd Street
New York, N.Y. 10022

Tel.: (212) 308-7920

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Frederik L. Schodt received a reply from Yasuhiro Tsubota, president of Epson America, Inc. to his inquiry about using Japanese-language word processing software on the Epson QX-1O personal computer in the U.S. (see no. 17, pp. 38–39). The reply, dated June 20, 1984, says:

At present the Japanese version is not available in the U.S. market; however, we are in the process of negotiating that issue and are working toward nationally marketing the Japanese version at some point in the future. In the meantime, the software does have to be obtained from Japan.

In regards to your question concerning the ability of the FX-80 or LQ-1500 to print kanji (they are not developed to print kanji at this time), I would suggest that you also obtain a compatible printer with your purchase of the kanji ROM boards and Japanese software from the Japan market.

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The July 1984 issue of Byte (p. 58) lists the following programs which can be used on an IBM PC for generating and/or printing foreign character sets. As far as I can tell, none of them have Japanese or Chinese capabilities.

Lenitext, from Duncan Atwell Computerized Technologies Inc., 1200 Salem Ave., Hillside, NJ 07205

Font Editor, from Versa Computing Inc., 3541 Old Conejo Rd., #104, Newbury Park, CA 91320

Graphic Character Editor, from C & C Software, 54 Sonoma Ave., Goleta, CA 93117

Fancy Font, from SoftCraft, 8726 Sepulveda #1641, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

Arabic-WP, Multilingual-WP, and Translator Aid System, from Economic Insights, 416 Center St., Washington Grove, MD 20880.

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Many useful contacts have been made through the directory, not only by persons who are looking for translators, but also by translators who want to contact each other. For your convenience, I am including in this issue again a composite directory which embraces all the names submitted so far.

Readers should let me know promptly when they move so that I can change their directory entries.

APPS, F.R.D. Owner, Ingatestone Translations, 57 High St., Ingatestone, Essex, CM4 OAT, England. Japanese to English Technical Translation. Specialties electronics, organic chemistry.

BRAND, Russell. Director, Seijo Language Center. 9-21-15 Seijo, Setagayaku, Tokyo 157, Japan. Tel. (03) 484-0257.

CHANDLER, Brian. 10, Sirnmondley Grove, Glossop, Derbyshire SK13 9NQ, England. Tel. Glossop (04574) 61906. Japanese to English Technical Translation. Specialties computers, electronics and patents.

DAVISON, Lucile S. 50 Tomlinson Rd., Woodbury, CT 06798. Tel. (203) 2634207. Japanese, Russian, German, and French to English. MS in Chemistry, Univ. Oklahoma 1940; technical librarian for U.S. Rubber Co. 1942–45; abstractor for Am. Petrol. Inst., Chemical Abstracts, Metals Abstracts; associate editor Rubber Chemistry and Technology 1967–80. Specializes in chemical literature and patents.

FIELD, Rikko. Director, JLS, 61 Renato Court, Suite 1, Redwood City, CA 94061. Tel.: (415) 321-9832. Technical translation and interpreting; IBM Displaywriter-processed copy; Japanese typesetting and typewriting. All technical fields including patents and legal documents.

FRASER, D.A., BA, MIL, 22 Gresley Road, London N19 3JZ, England. Japanese to English. Chemistry, medicine, life sciences. Freelance translator.

GLEASON, Alan. 1280 4th Ave., No. 3, San Francisco CA 94122. Tel. (415) 753-2702. Member NCTA. J-E translation and J-E/E-J consecutive interpreting. Fields: electronics, chemistry, computers, business, economics.

GORHAM, Don Cyril. 12900 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904. Tel. (301) 3849512. Jpn/Eng Eng/Jpn interpretation (consecutive) and translation. Liberal arts background; graduate of pre-WWII Jpn schools. Ten years experience as freelancer: economic, legal, political, and some technical (electronics, fishing, nuclear energy).

HAZELRIGG, Meredith. 468-1 Mizuno Sayama-shi, Saitama-ken, Japan 350-13. Tel. 0181-429-59-7959 (direct dial from U.S.), 0429-59-7959 (Japan). Freelance translation (general technical work with emphasis in three areas: medical, electronics, financial) and consultant in cross-cultural communication. Member, SWET. Listed, Contemporary Authors. Trustee, Allegan Education Foundation (Box 155, Allegan, Michigan 49010 USA).

HOWE, Josephine. 158 Wood Street, Doylestown, PA 18901, USA (Philadelphia Area). Tel.: (215) 348-7884. Japanese and French to English; pharmaceutical, medical, biochemical and industrial chemical research and patents. M.A. Japanese, Columbia U., New York, N.Y. B.A. English (French and Japanese minors, biosciences course work) Indiana U., Bloomington, IN.

HUNG, John Y. Owner, SANTRAN, 141 Zengel Dr., Centerville, OH 45459. Tel. (513) 434-9288. Chinese, Japanese and German into English, and English into Chinese. ES, MA, MS. College instructor 1960–69, computer systems engineers 1969–73, and avionics and flight systems digital controls since 1973. Freelance translator since 1980. Specialties include patents, nuclear sciences, avionics, computers, aeronautics, electronics, software and aerodynamics.

ISHIMOTO, Paul. Japan Patent Service, 2025 Eye Street, N.W. 4t307, Washington, D.C. 20006. Specializes in translation of Japanese patents. Worked as translator in U.S. Patent Office for more than 15 years.

JENSON, W.L. 1-24 Tashiro Hondori, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Japan 464. Tel.: (052)762-6532. Freelance Technical Translation (J-E), proofreading & rewriting. Field: Mechanical engineering specializing in automobiles. (Seven years' experience with Toyota Motor Corp. and affiliates.)

JONES, David G. 3013 Yellowpine Terrace, Austin, TX 78757. Tel.: (512) 451-4381. Japanese to English. Patents covering chemical synthesis, plastics, photography, electrophotography, magnetic recording media, etc.

KAY, Carl. Owner, Japanese Language Services, 45 Putnam Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139. Tel.: (617) 661-9784. Offers Japanese translation, typesetting, interpreting and research services.

KURODA, Keiko. 1655 ½A Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94133. Tel.: (415) 771-8409. Member ATA and NCTA. J-E interpreting and translation, abstracting and editing. Specialties: Legal translation and court interpreting. Technical translation in chemistry, electronics and engineering. Patents in all fields.

LAMB, John D. 5-32-10, Nagasaki, Toshima-ku, Tokyo 171, Japan. Tel.: (03) 957-7390. Japanese and German to English; general technical work, mainly computers and electronics. B.Sc. Computer Science, London. Research in Al, Sussex University ('72-'73) and London University ('73-'75).

LIM, Peter, Ph.D. Chemistry, Syracuse University. 5220 N.E. 51st St., Vancouver, WA 98661. Tel.: (206) 694-5353 (home); (206) 695-4477, Ext. 349 (business). Areas of experience: Electronics, semiconductors, nuclear engineering, chemistry, mathematics, mechanical engineering, pulp and paper, patents, contracts.

McRAE, John R. 632 Colfax Court, Goleta, CA 93117. Tel.: (805) 964-9601. Ph.D. from Yale University (Chinese Buddhism). Computer Systems Manager, Berlitz/Agnew TechTran, 6415 Independence Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 93167.

McWILLIAMS, John J. President, The Word Shop, Ltd. 71 Karasawa, Minamiku, Yokohama 232. Tel.: (045) 261-2304. J-E translations in the fields of computers, robotics and data communications. Custom-made microcomputers with word processing software and an Epson MP-80 dot printer.

MOFFETT, Linda. 749 Ash Street, Denver, Colorado 80220. Tel. (303) 3880284. BA, University of Colorado Japanese Studies, background in chemistry and pharmacy. Specializes in chemistry, batteries, textiles, medical.

MUNOZ, Roey. 7401 Cannon Mt. P1., Austin, TX 78749. Tel.: (512)288-1897. JapaneseEnglish and Spanish-English translation. BS in Japanese language from Georgetown Univ. with 6 years of translation experience. Special interest in medicine, pharmaceuticals and chemistry.

NISHIMURA, Keiichi. 461 Grizzly Peak Blvd., Berkeley, CA 94708. Patent attorney. Translates technical and scientific documents including Japanese patents into English.

OSBORN, David K. 2495 Santa Rosa Ave., Altadena, CA 91001. Tel. (818) 797-8956. Japanese-English translator, editor, business correspondent and technical writer. Experience in medical, cultural, legal and business fields. Abstracts, typing and revisions.

PACIFIC INTERFACE, Inc. 60 West 76th St., New York, NY 10023. Tel. (212) 877-9159. Tokyo office: #401 Tagami Building, 4-1-14 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160, tel. (03) 376-3908. Laurin Herr, president, Betsy Kuga Schneider, associate. Research, consulting, and J-to-E translation, specializing in computer graphics. Sixteen years combined experience in technical translation.

PATNER, Richard. 14226 61st Place West, Edinonds, WA 98020. Tel. (206) 745-8089. Japanese to English translation of patents and technical documents with over ten years experience.

PHILIPPI, Donald L. 715 Tenth Ave., San Francisco, CA 94118. Tel. (415) 752-7735. J-E technical translation in all fields. 23 years experience, Tokyo 1961–1971, S.F. since 1971. IBM Displaywriter. Editor of Technical Japanese Translation since May, 1983.

RIDLEY, Charles P. 2780 Ross Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303. Tel.: (415) 3287344. JapaneseEnglish and Chinese-English. BA in biology from Bates College; MA and PhD in Chinese from Stanford University. 20 years experience. Specialties include medicine, pharmaceuticals, chemistry, computer technology.

RUSOFF, Arnold F. 209 Hudson St., Ithaca, N.Y. 14850. Tel.: (607) 2772292. Japanese to English translation of computer documentation. Eight years of experience. IBM PC with Wordstar.

SATOH, Tomoyuki. 2714 E. 22nd St., Austin TX 78722. Tel. (512)479-8460. M.A. Physics, The Johns Hopkins University. Japan Information Service, Austin. J-E translation and abstracting. Excellent in physics, mathematics, chemistry, elec. and mech. engineering, and patents in all fields; adequate in medical, pharmaceutical, electronics and computer science, law, economics, etc.

SCHODT, Frederik L. 144 Parnassus Ave. Apt. 14, San Francisco, CA 94117. Tel. (415) 681-9803. Member A.T.A. and N.C.T.A. Japanese-English interpreting, translation. Specialties computers, electronics. Epson QX-10 word processor.

SHIELDS, John N. CPO 42, Nagoya Japan 450 (Fax & business phone in Japan: (052) 7222-7181) and 1380 Lone Oak Road, Eagan, MN 55121 (Fax & business phone: 612-221-9088; RICOH GIII. J-E technical translation in many fields. 23 years in Japan, 15 in translation.

SHKOLNIK, Alexander. 4434 Fulton St., Apt. #2, San Francisco, CA 94121. Tel. (415) 387-0290. Member A.T.A. and N.C.T.A. Japanese-English-Russian technical translations. Specialization in patent matters, mechanical engineering, metallurgy and chemistry. Worked as patent agent since 1963. Translating since 1959 from English to Russian, since 1965 from Japanese to Russian, and since 1970 into English from both.

SORDEAN, Jay, C.A. 2637 Regent St., #306, Berkeley, CA 94704. Tel.: (415) 841-9167. Languages: Japanese. Subjects: Medical, biological, patents, pharmaceuticals, chemistry, electronics, mechanical engineering, Oriental medicine, computers, legal, etc. 6 years translation & abstracting experience. Epson QX-10 word processor.

TALBOT, BRUCE G. Maisonette Daita #E, 5-13-17 Daita, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 155. About 12 years experience in business, economics and other non-technical areas. Presently shifting to computers, electronics, patents and other technical areas. Wants to correspond with U.S.based translators.

UYAMA, Hiroshi. Director, Japan Technical Information Center, 706 Seventh Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20003. Tel.: (202) 544-6314 (days), (703) 979-0054 (evenings). B.A., Chemistry, International Christian University in Tokyo, M.S. Inorganic Chemistry, Tokyo Institute of Technology. Since 1975 Japanese-English interpreting, translation, and consulting services in Washington, D.C. Science, technology, politics, social sciences.

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Editor's Postscript

There is a widespread perception among technical translators in the U.S. that their biggest enemy is the U.S. government. Rate-wise, the federal government is fighting tooth and nail, by its competitive bidding system, to keep translators poor. According to "Capital Translator," the newsletter of the Washington D.C. area chapter of the American Translators Association, the successful bidder in a tender for translation services to the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture was an Alabama firm, FLS Inc., which offered an average of $18.07 per thousand words. (Language Monthly, July 1984, p. 17) Remember, $18.07 per thousand words is the rate which the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture is going to pay the translation agency. The poor translators will no doubt be paid less than $10 per thousand words. I thought rates like that went out of style around 1954.

Why doesn't the Government set minimum translation rates in the same way as it sets minimum wages? The U.S. government is willing to set minimum wages which employers are required to pay laborers in this country, but when it comes to the translations which it sends out itself, it is guilty, in the name of "free market competition," of fostering substandard conditions for the translators who are unfortunate enough to have to work on government contracts. The government can get away with it only because it awards contracts on the basis of competitive bidding, and the lowest bidder gets the contracts. Since there is no such thing as a minimum rate, cutthroat competition and grinding poverty for some translators result. The "American way of life'? I wish American translation agencies would boycott the bidding on government contracts until these abusive practices are stopped. Why doesn't someone ask the Congress, the Department of Labor, or the ILO to investigate these abusive practices of the Federal Government?

Translation agencies who are trying to recruit Japanese-to-English technical translators may be wondering why so few translators respond to their overtures. The usual practice is for an agency to ask translators to submit resumes and samples of their work. In some cases, they even send out test translations which the translator is asked to do for free and send back to the agency. I am told that many translators have not been responding to these requests because they are already inundated with work from other sources and see no reason to send out samples of their work to more and more agencies, and certainly no reason to make a test translation for which they will not be paid. Some agencies say that there is more work than there are translators to do it. If you are a translation agency and want to recruit translators, instead of requesting samples, resumes, and free tests, perhaps you should be asking them questions such as: "How busy are you right now?" and "How much are you currently getting paid?" Then at least you would find out whether you have any chance at all of recruiting your prospective translator. Of course, if your agency is offering extremely attractive rates, you should mention that first off. That might at least tempt them away from their less lucrative jobs.

Translators should also read with great attention Andrew Habberton's statements elsewhere in this issue. He gives an agency's view of translators.

You might like to see the August 1984 issue of Creative Computing. Almost the entire issue, entitled "Focus on Japan," is devoted to articles about Japan, some Source: other sources. Some of the articles read like quotations from the Mondale planks in the Democratic Party's platform (authors include Senator Paul E. Tsongas and Steven Schlossstein), and there is even a blatantly racist comic strip entitled "Trade Wars" (pp. 52–73). There are "company profiles" of Japanese computer manufacturers and a directory listing addresses of U.S. branches of the companies.

The New York Times Magazine of July 8, 1984 also has an article entitled "The Japanese Challenge: Can They Achieve Technological Supremacy?" It was written by Steve Lohr, formerly a correspondent in the Tokyo bureau of the New York Times. It quotes one American executive as saying: "If you took all of the American-developed software out of Japan, the Japanese computers would grind to a halt awfully quickly." (p. 37) The article lays much emphasis on ICOT's Fifth Generation Project and its director Kazuhiro Fuchi. Joseph F. Traub, chairman of the computer science department at Columbia University, is quoted as saying the following about the Fifth Generation Project: "The significance of the project is that it could mean who dominates in computers in the 1990's and thereafter. And the nation that dominates in computers will be the dominant nation economically."

Latest Advances in Japanese Technology Department

The next big thing from Japan may be a computer which is both edible and fattening. A Japanese confectioner called Akutagawa Seika is planning to export chocolate candies to the U.S. and Europe for the Christmas gift season this year. One of the products for export is a candy computer made of chocolate. The display and keyboard have complex patterns made of intricate combinations of white and dark chocolate. (Nikkei sangyō shimbun, July 25, 1984)

Richard Patner wants to announce to his many friends that he has now moved to the state of Washington and is delighted with his new place. His new address is in the Directory of this issue.

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Send in your tidbits, etc., and I will incorporate them in the next issue. The current subscriptions are for SIX MONTHS (from June through November, 1984). If you paid only for the first year (ended in May 1984), your subscription has now expired. Don't forget to send in your $20 if you want to continue receiving the newsletter for the current six-month period. And also write if you want your name included in the Directory. Those who send in lists should provide the kanji for the Japanese words. I will type them in Japanese if necessary.

August 10, 1984

Donald L. Philippi
715 Tenth Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 752-7735

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