Happy Friday! We really shouldn't be doing this, because we're almost certainly too busy with other commitments, but we just couldn't resist. Over on Not Greatest Site, we're pleased to present our first addition to the Translated Articles section in quite a while: Ongaku to Hito's interview with Sakurai Atsushi on Buck-Tick's forthcoming album, No. 0!
The honest truth: since becoming a professional translator, we haven't often had the time to translate long interviews like this for fun (time is money!), but we made an exception for this one because it's such a good one, delving into such meaty topics as gender fluidity, the creative process, and the role of the artist. If you're the kind of person who just looooooves to talk about your gender on the internet, this one's for you! Russian fangirl fans of Macho Man Acchan, take careful notes, please! In fact, if one of our Russian readers wants to take a stab at translating this one into Russian, please do so, by all means. If we can help to bust a few delusional fangirl misconceptions in favor of a nuanced talk about artistic expression and the challenge of being yourself, we'll consider it a three hours well wasted.
As for well wasted, just for reference, if we'd done this one for a client at our usual rates instead of for free for y'all because we love you, we'd have sent that client a bill for something in the neighborhood of 37,000 yen (Yikes! Does that surprise you?) Perhaps it's unsavory to talk about money, but we thought we'd mention it this time, for several reasons.
First, there seems to be a pervasive twin notion that 1) translation doesn't cost much and 2) translation is not a viable career path. In fact, since translation requires highly specialized skills that take years of practice to hone, there's often more work out there than there are translators, and this is especially true for a language pair like Japanese and English, where there are comparatively few people who are bilingual in both and each is hard for native speakers of the other to learn. When there's more work than people who can do that work, rates go up, and believe me, this is a good thing. Nowhere in the world does the axiom "garbage in, garbage out" apply so well as it does to translation! Companies that try to save money on translation invariably end up saddled with poorly proofread ungrammatical gobbledygook, which definitely does not reflect well on the company's business. If you, as a business person, want a good translation, it is in your best interest to hire a qualified translator and pay them what they are worth. If you, as a reader of this blog, are considering pursuing a career in translation, we're here to tell you that it can be quite lucrative if you develop yourself to a sufficient skill level, especially if you work in an unusual language pair. If you're a translator of Japanese and you think the rate quoted above looks high, you're working for chump change and you should raise your rates. Don't work for chump change. By doing so, you devalue the work of everyone in our industry.
Second, since translation is our livelihood and time is money, we have to prioritize the time we spend working for paying clients, but recently some readers have suggested that we set up a Patreon, whereby readers can donate to get more content. NGS/Blog-Tick will always be a project for love, not money, but if y'all actually want to donate to us to keep us going, who are we to refuse? So please, let us know in the comments if you think it's a good idea or if you definitely won't donate to us because we're a gang of snarky, elitist bitches, in which case we will continue to work for your ungrateful little asses for free in our spare time as we have been for the past 12 years :)
Third, we've received a number of questions over the years about how to pursue a career as a translator, and we're well aware that there is little reliable information out there about translation as a career, having beaten the translator's career path in the dark for ourselves for many a year now. Therefore, we've been toying with the idea of writing a "So You Want to be a Translator" overview article for aspiring translators - who's interested? Let us know in the comments! The translation industry is highly international and very much internet-based, so most advice regarding Japanese-English translation applies to other language pairs, as well. We know that Blog-Tick counts a number of professional translators among its readers, and we invite you to contribute your opinions.