Japanese Interpreter Training Program and Course Information
Students interested in working as a Japanese language interpreter may pursue bachelor's and master's degrees in Japanese. Individuals have to develop strong public-speaking skills and be able to quickly comprehend and convey thoughts during a conversation.
Individuals who wish to become interpreters of the Japanese language may train for this career through bachelor's and master's degree programs in Japanese. Some programs are general programs in the reading, writing and speaking of the language, while others concentrate on professional interpretation and translation.
Bachelor's degree programs require four years of study. In addition to general education courses such as mathematics and social studies, students who are majoring in Japanese focus on developing solid conversational and written Japanese language skills. In many programs, all upper level courses are taught solely in Japanese, and students may have to complete prerequisite courses or pass a test in Japanese to enter major studies. In addition to courses exclusively in learning the language, students look at the culture of Japan and may be able to take courses in interpreting.
Most master's degree programs say that non-native speakers of Japanese will need a bachelor's degree in Japanese, while native speakers can hold a bachelor's degree in any subject. Fluency in English is required as well. Master's degree students pursue advanced studies such as simultaneous interpretation and Japanese literature. They may be required to study for a time in Japan. Most master's programs call for a final project or a thesis.
Bachelor's Degree in Japanese
A bachelor's degree in Japanese trains students to use Japanese for all types of communication, including speaking, reading and writing. Students are expected to develop language proficiency upon program completion. Individuals who concentrate on Japanese interpretation may gain interpersonal skills in oral communication, as well as scientific, cultural and technical communication techniques. Some programs may offer an interpretation and translation focus.
Students need a high school diploma or equivalent, and depending on the program and school, applicants may have to complete prerequisite coursework.
Program coursework may include Japanese language skills, linguistics, culture and literature. A capstone or senior project is typically required. Students may choose from a variety of elective coursework, which may include several courses in interpretation. Course topics may include:
- Community interpreting in Japanese
- Japanese conversation
- Reading and grammar in Japanese
- Advanced Japanese conversation and composition
- Japanese phonetics
Popular Career Options
With a bachelor's degree in Japanese, students may work in a number of areas, including journalism and government. Potential career opportunities include:
- Foreign correspondent
- Travel writer
Continuing Education Information
Graduates may pursue certification as a translator to further advance their training. The American Translators Association may require individuals to have at least two years working experience as an interpreter or translator (www.atanet.org).
Master's Degree in Japanese
A master's degree program in Japanese can prepare students for a career in a number of fields, including government, arts and communication. Students learn advanced interpretation techniques and practices. These programs may require a capstone project, oral and written exam, a research project or a master's thesis. Programs may be available in translation and interpretation with a Japanese focus.
Some programs may require students who speak Japanese as a secondary language to have a bachelor's degree in Japanese or a related field. Native speakers of Japanese may possess a bachelor's degree in any field. Students may have to demonstrate acceptable proficiency level in the Japanese language before they're accepted into the program.
To demonstrate mastery of the Japanese language, students may be required to interpret and translate program curriculum. Also, students may have to complete a workshop in interpretation. Other coursework may include:
- Japanese linguistics
- Japanese cultural studies analysis
- Topics in Japanese literature
- Japanese language and culture
- Simultaneous interpretation
- Interpretation into English
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for translators and interpreters was $43,300 in May 2010 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also noted employment opportunities for interpreters and translators were expected to increase by 22% from 2008-2018. Acquiring experience is an important part of becoming an interpreter, and it may begin with volunteer or informal work.
Continuing Education Information
Students with a master's degree program in Japanese may want to consider pursuing a doctoral program. Options can include a Ph.D. program in Japanese language and linguistics with or without a concentration in literature.
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