University Of Tokyo Press

Overcoming the three-way challenges of translating a multidisciplinary, multi-author project in the most difficult language pair13 Authors, 3 Disciplines, 1 Successful Book Translation - Overcoming the Challenges of a Multidisciplinary, Multi-author Project

When we approached Ulatus, we initially asked for literal translation. But when the authors reviewed the translation style, they wanted the text to be more fluent. So right in the middle of the project, Ulatus changed the style from literal to paraphrasing. We are so thankful to Ulatus for accommodating this change

Project Summary

  • Client: University Of Tokyo Press
  • Service: Japanese to English translation
  • Book Title: Collaborative Governance of Forests: Towards Sustainable Forest Resource Utilization
  • book
  • Disciplines: Forestry, Sociology, and Anthropology
  • Volume: 230,000 Japanese characters
  • Translation Level: Level 3 (Translation + Translation check + Native check)
University Of Tokyo Press


  • Providing Subject Expertise in a Wide Range of Disciplines for Translating One Book The book translation required Japanese to English native translators with specializations across Forestry, Sociology, and Anthropology. Managing multiple disciplines for one book translation required a bigger group of subject-specific translators and in-house quality experts.
  • Maintaining Terminology Consistency throughout the Text Consistency in terminology is critical for providing a high-quality translation. Having multiple translators from multiple disciplines work on the translation required a customized and well-planned system for ensuring consistency in the overall translation output.
  • Having 13 Authors Come to an Agreement on One Translation Style At Ulatus, we offer Literal Translation (word-for-word translation) or Paraphrasing (reworded translation to achieve high readability). Prof. Makoto Inoue (Tokyo University) and Associate Prof. Motomu Tanaka (book editor, Kyushu University) could not finalize the translation style because of the differences in the preferences of the 13 authors.

How Ulatus Overcame the Challenges?

  • Involved Translators with more than 20 Years of Experience for Each Specialization The most critical requirement was to have Japanese to English translators specializing in Forestry, Sociology, and Anthropology. As the subject areas were varied, we could not have a single translator work on the project. 3 Translators with more than 20 years of translation experience having expertise in respective fields were selected. We could meet the client’s requirement by assigning 3 different Japanese translators specializing in 3 subject areas for one project because of our rich database of 650 translators who can handle 1000+ subjects.
  • Prepared Master Terminology Checklist to Achieve Consistency and Implemented Quality Assurance Process We asked our subject experts to prepare terminology checklists for each of their disciplines. These were then combined to prepare a master terminology checklist, which was used by all the translators working on the assignment. The checklist ensured that the terminology was consistent throughout the book. The project management team further ensured that the terminology was consistent through its rigorous QA process.
  • Shared Samples for the Two Translation Styles with all the Authors To facilitate the authors in agreeing to one style of translation, we proactively translated a part of the book following both the translation styles and shared it with the 13 authors to give them an option to choose the best style that suited them. Initially, a majority of the authors preferred the literal translation style as they feared that the meaning would be altered during paraphrasing. Later, as the authors received parts of the translated text, they agreed to our recommendation of paraphrasing so that the text was fluent and idiomatic for English readers. In the middle of the assignment, we changed the translation style to “Paraphrasing” at no additional cost.
  • Sent Interim Files to the Authors for Approval of Translation Accuracy To further achieve client satisfaction with the translation style, we started interim file deliveries to the authors after the Translation + Translation check process, i.e., before starting the fluency check. This ensured that the translation team was working in the right direction to meet client expectations. Any gaps noticed could be fixed immediately and not repeated for the next delivery. Implementing such measures drastically improved the translation output quality, conveying the accurate intention of the authors and a native level of readability.
  • Built a Strong Communication Channel between the Author and the Translation Team We were successful in connecting the authors with the translation team through our in-house proprietary platform UlatusCommunicate. Through this platform, translators, checkers, native checkers and clients were able to connect and share their doubts and views about the ongoing assignment real-time.

The book "Collaborative Governance of Forests: Towards Sustainable Forest Resource Utilization" published by the University of Tokyo Press in March 2015.
Read more about the book on the University of Tokyo Press' website.


With excellent project management and high commitment to our quality standards, we successfully

  • Achieved consistency, accuracy, and fluency in translation
  • Accommodated customer needs and achieved 100% customer satisfaction

We received excellent remarks from the university for successfully using experts for all subjects and maintaining consistency throughout the book with high fluency.

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