How to Create a Translation Memory (TM) in 3 Easy Steps


Let me show you how to create a TM in 3 easy steps. And, in the end, I’ll share my own Japanese legal TM with 235,877 aligned segments.

(1) Find a website with free data. Ex. makes past translations of Japanese laws available to the public. With regards to copyright, the website states: “All of the data contained in the Japanese Law Translation Database System may be cited, reproduced or reprinted.” As you can see, we can safely use data from this website without breaking copyright laws.

(2) Download files in the source and target languages. Ex. In the Japanese Law Translation website, click on the “Law Search” tab, then click on the “Search by Category” tab, click on any category, click on a law, and download the text in both Japanese and English.

(3) Go to Create an account for free, and click on the “Align Documents” tab. Upload the source file you downloaded earlier and select the language. Do the same for the target file. Click on “Align Now*” and, when the alignment succeeds, you will be able to download the alignment in TMX format. I recommend purchasing AlignFactory Light (Available for $420CAD; Approx. $360USD) by Terminotix to create a substantial TM. AlignFactory Light provides higher functionality, including the processing of multiple files at once and editing of aligned files.

Click on the link below to download the TM I created using all legal translations from the Japanese Law Translation website and using AlignFactory Light to align files.

For any questions or suggestions, please contact me at (or talk to me on Skype: tyokuyama).

Review: “Translation Trends for 2015″ Webinar by Memsource


This morning, I attended the “Translation Trends for 2015″ webinar hosted by Memsource.

Presenters included:
– Chris Wendt of Microsoft
– Jan Hofmeister of Moravia
– Torben Dahl Jensen of TextMinded
– David Canek of Memsource

David mentioned there will be three trends:
1) The Cloud
2) Machine Translation
3) Collaboration and Sharing.

Chris mentioned there will be P3 (Post-Publishing Post-Editing).

Jan mentioned there will be integration between internal platform, client-side platform and Memsource platfrom.

Torben mentioned there will be more sharing to create greater overall value.

In the video below, I give a review of the talk from the perspective of a freelance translator. For more information, please see the Memsource website.

Basics of Freelance Translation: All You Need to Know in 8 Minutes


I used to wonder how to become a freelance translator. In this video, I describe the steps that I took as well as the common knowledge and basic practices in the trade. I went from being an intern to a full-time in-house translator and then to becoming a freelance. But it took a while until I could make a living. I hope this video will help you get a head start!

How to Write E-mails to Japanese Clients


The following video covers some tips for non-Japanese natives who need to communicate with their Japanese customers/clients. Japan has specific e-mail writing customs that you need to know to be polite. If you’re unsure or you lack confidence, watch this and you’re set to go!

Please contact me at (Skype: tyokuyama) for a copy of the PowerPoint slides.

Google Search Tips for Freelance Translators


In translation, freelance translators including myself not only refer to various dictionaries to get the definition of terms but also use search engines to find the contexts in which those specific terms are used. I use Google Search to get an idea of what kind of context some terms are used as well as to find reference files that I may want to read through before starting to translate. Please watch the video for a visual image of the process I follow.

Below I’ve written out the steps. (Note that it’s intended for Japanese translators)

  1. Search in a dictionary (e.g. Weblio, Alc)
  2. Search on Google using ” ” (specific phrase)
  3. Search using “___ * ___” (specific phrase containing optional wording in between)
  4. Search using ” ” +____ (specific phrase including another phrase)
  5. Search using ” “-_____ (specific phrase excluding another phrase)
  6. Search using intitle:____ (results with that phrase in the title)
  7. Search using inurl:____ (results with that phrase in the URL)
  8. Search using filetype:___ (results with that specific file type)

Linguee and Manypedia are also interesting sites that offer usage example of terms that may be helpful to get an idea of the context.

How to Get the Best Deal Out of Translation Service


You might be wondering how to get the best deal out of the translation service you are about to order. Here are a few points you may want to know in advance:

  1. Be clear what you are ordering – “translation” or “interpretation”. Translation is a service for “written” words (like the translation of files) and interpretation is a service for “spoken” words (like the translation at a meeting).
  2. Are you clear about what you want translated? If possible, ask a friend or colleague to give a gist of the document.
  3. Be ready to pay a decent price for a decent translation. Usually, you can’t trust a cheap translation just like you can’t trust Google translate. Well-established companies offer the added value of reliability and consistency.
  4. Create parameters. What style of writing do you require? Who are your audiences? Which specific terminology do you want the translator to use? All these specifications will help improve the output.
  5. Don’t do it yourself. Is this for “information” or for “publication”? If it is for publication, then you would benefit far more by asking a translation company to do it for you.
  6. Make sure you have edited and ensured consistency in the original document. Translation can only be as good as the original. If the original is bad, the translation will also be bad. If possible, ask a writing professional to edit the source document.
  7. If you plan on directly ordering to a freelancer, like through or, make sure to ask these questions: “Are you a native in the target language?” “Do you specialize in this subject?”
  8. Have an editor in your target country edit the translation. If possible, the editor should work together with the translator to produce a translation that is both accurate in the translator’s eyes as well as natural to the editor’s ears.
  9. Ask the translation company or freelancer to create a “Translation Memory” and “Term Base” for you. They may charge you extra for this. However, this is important for future use, because you will be able to get a better deal on your next order by leveraging repeated sentences. You can also ensure better quality by translating terminologies consistently.
  10. Finally, ask for a sample before ordering. You may also want several reliable translation providers to give quotes and a statement of work (SOW).

Many other points need consideration depending on each case. Prepare a list of your questions and needs and submit them to a reliable translation service provider. You can refer to the Multilingual Magazine’s Resource Directory for a list of various providers.

I have adapted this from “Getting It Right” by ATA, but I have added on to it from a freelance translator’s perspective. Please contact me at or Skype me at tyokuyama if you have any questions.

Associations and Member Organizations for New Freelance Translators


Freelancers new to the industry may want to start with the following associations and member organization. I endorse the organizations below and have gained a lot of knowledge and experience through them.

I think that starters should not expect to find jobs from ATA. Usually, agencies go to the ATA directory to find certified translators, so I believe that ATA is primarily useful for certification and networking benefits are secondary. TranslatorsCafe is helpful for starters, but the rates will most likely be low. In the language pair of Japanese to English, I think that ProZ is better than TranslatorsCafe both in terms of the number of jobs posted as well as the rates offered. Starters should subscribe to the Tool Box Journal and Multilingual Magazine to keep updated on the latest industry news. They should also look into TAUS Data to consider purchasing translation memory to improve quality and acquire subject-specific data. Both the Rosetta Foundation and Translators without Borders are beneficial ways of improving one’s translation skills and at the same time be helpful to others.