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Client Interview

University of Tokyo Press - Dr. Makoto Inoue and Dr. Motomu TanakaPart of case study on University Of Tokyo Press

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)
Our clients: Dr. Inoue and Dr. Tanaka

Question: What did our client have to say about us?
Dr. Makoto Inoue and Dr. Motomu Tanaka, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview. We are extremely glad that you picked Ulatus for translating your recently published book "Collaborative Governance of Forests: Towards Sustainable Forest Resource Utilization". Now that the translation process is almost complete, we would like to get your opinion regarding this year-long project. Please give us your honest opinion about your experience working with Ulatus and if you found our service satisfactory.

Dr. Makoto Inoue
This was the first time I used a translation service. Initially, I was worried about making a lot of revisions to the translated manuscript, but when I saw the quality of the translated batches, I realized that there was little for me to change. The translators understood my Japanese very well! There were some portions in the Japanese text that were very difficult to read and understand, but they did a fantastic job in understanding the meaning and translating it into English.
Dr. Motomu Tanaka
Our book had more than 10 chapters written by many different authors. It covered a wide range of subjects, i.e., Forestry, Anthropology, and Sociology. We knew that translation of this multidisciplinary book would not be possible by a single translator with expertise in just one area. Ulatus did an excellent job in handling a wide range of disciplines and using subject experts for translation.
Also, Ulatus set up a process where authors received interim translated files for review. After the author suggestions were incorporated in the translation, native checkers polished the English. I was so impressed to see that the native checkers made all the required revision to the files. I’m convinced that they did not cut corners.

Question: Was there anything more you were expecting from Ulatus?
Was there anything more you were expecting from Ulatus? Your feedback and suggestions will help us further improve our services.

Dr. Makoto Inoue
On one hand, I felt that the advantage of using Ulatus’ service was that the native translators translated verbose Japanese expressions into English in a direct and concise manner. On the other hand, I felt that such concise expressions may not convey the same impact as desired by the author. However, I realize that authors need to take care of these aspects when checking the translation and it might be wrong to expect the translators to know what authors would want in such situations.
Dr. Motomu Tanaka
We received a strong support throughout the project from all the representatives across different teams including the core translation team as well as the client servicing team. As the final deadline approached, we got very busy managing this project. In such times, if we wanted any response or clarification, Ulatus gave us a quick response and took care of all our queries. I cannot think of any area where the service was lacking.

Question: From your experience working with Ulatus..
From your experience working with Ulatus, are there any points you would keep in mind when using a translation service in future?

Dr. Motomu Tanaka
One learning from the process was to carefully decide and coordinate on selecting the translation style. When we approached Ulatus, we asked for literal translation so that the meaning is accurately conveyed in English. Like I said earlier, this was the first time we were trying a translation service. So literal translation seemed appropriate and trustworthy. But when the authors reviewed the translation style, they wanted the text to be more fluent, which is contradictory to the literal style, and the authors were taking a lot of time to make that change. On sharing this issue with Ulatus, we received the recommendation of using the Paraphrasing style. We reviewed some samples from Ulatus and agreed that this style will save a lot of time on the author’s end and would be more suitable for the book. 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.


Dr. Makoto Inoue
The interesting thing I learnt from this experience is the difference in Western and Japanese writing styles and how it influences the quality of translation. In the Western style writing, the main idea or the punch line is presented at the beginning followed by the explanation. The Japanese writing, however, is quite the contrary. The explanation of the main idea comes at the beginning and the conclusion is presented at the end. So from my experience, simply translating Japanese books word for word into English will not result in a fluent text. What is your view on this at Ulatus?

we have extensive experience in working with Japanese authors
We agree that there are cultural differences between Japanese and Western writing styles that have to be considered during translation. English native speakers do point out that English texts written by Japanese authors have verbose expressions and the text is quite convoluted. Since we have extensive experience in working with Japanese authors, we know the problem areas as well as the ways to deal with them. Where needed, we make structural changes to the text to have the main idea at the beginning followed by the explanation. Our Substantive Editing service is specially designed to meet the needs of Japanese authors who need extensive changes to their manuscripts. For your book, however, we did not perform such major changes given your preference, budget, and time constraints.

Dr. Motomu Tanaka
Although the main translation process is over, we will still need your help with the title of the English edition, galley proofreading, binding, and printing of the book.

Open support from client towards any project requirements
Absolutely, it is our pleasure to assist you with all the additional requirements. You have all our support for your book translation and release.

Comment from the Project ManagerThe reason for the stupendous success of this assignment was the exceptional cooperation by our client. In order to provide the best quality output, during the project meeting, we requested the client to extend the support required for the smooth progress of this project. Mr. Inoue, Mr. Tanaka, and the University of Tokyo Press willingly accepted our request. In addition, we are extremely glad that the authors provided complete cooperation and understanding despite their busy schedule. The closely collaborated efforts of the University of Tokyo Press and Ulatus have therefore produced a splendid book.

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