What is interpreting?

Translation is a written art, whereas interpretation deals with spoken language. As such, it requires a very different set of skills than translation. Translation can be mulled over, and the best phrasing considered carefully, whereas with interpretation, the interpreter is put on the spot. This means the interpreter needs an exceedingly high familiarity with both languages, and an ability to switch instantly between the two, without having the luxury of referring to dictionaries or reference materials. Prior to starting a job, a good interpreter will ensure they are familiar with all the field-specific terminology that is likely to come up.


Prices for interpreting:

Half-day (up to 4 hours)From 45,000 (includes 30-min preparation meeting)
Full day (4-8 hours)From 80,000 yen (includes 30-min preparation meeting)
Additional timeAdditional time will be billed at 10,000 yen per hour.
Other costs
PreparationSome jobs may require advance preparation, which will be charged on a half-day basis, agreed upon in advance.
MealsFor full-day jobs, we will charge a meal surcharge of 1,500 yen.
Train travelWe charge the actual cost for travel from the nearest train station to the translator’s home to the nearest train station to the venue.
TaxiWe charge the actual cost for travel from the train station to the venue.
Travel timeTravel time for the return journey will be charged at 40% of the standard hourly rate.

What do I need to know about interpreting?

As with translators, no interpreter will be comfortable in all fields ― someone familiar with pop-culture will unlikely be comfortable interpreting at a deposition, and vice versa. Similarly, an interpreter who specializes in fashion will probably not be comfortable in an automotive plant.

There are two kinds of interpreting—consecutive and simultaneous—each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Simultaneous interpreting: the interpreter interprets while you speak, allowing conversations to flow somewhat naturally, but occasionally lacking in accuracy due to the demands this style places on the interpreter.
  • Consecutive interpreting, the interpreter will wait for you to finish speaking. This is often more accurate, but means that there are many pauses while the interpreter conveys what is being said.

In order to provide an effective service, the interpreter may need to do research in advance of the day of the job, particularly for complex technical or legal issues. In some cases we will charge for preparation (as mentioned above), which will be discussed when you retain our interpreting services. Any material you can provide for reference in advance will help to facilitate the process.

Interpreting is an extremely difficult task and places great mental demands on the interpreter. To ensure that the interpreter is able to perform well, please try to speak clearly, one person at a time, and allow the interpreter to take frequent breaks. We would ask that you provide a 5 minute break every 30 minutes.

Please remember that while humor is always welcome in the work environment, it sometimes does not translate well between languages and cultures; when working with an interpreter, language- and culture-based humor may actually impede communication!

Contact us for inquiries about interpreting