- Key determinant of quality
- Professional organization memberships
- ISO certification
- Licenses and certifications for interpreters and translators
- Non-Japanese languages
- Example of written work
- On-site research and translation
- How to compare quotes from different companies
- Limited budget
- Difference between translation and interpreting
- Cost vs. quality
What is the key determinant of the quality in language and communications services?
As is the case in all professional services, the skills and expertise of the individuals who actually provide the service for you are the key determinants of quality. Think in terms of selecting an accountant, lawyer, doctor, chef, or artist. Competent professionals can take full advantage of cutting-edge tools, but no trendy technologies can compensate for a lack of human skills. Your decision should be based on the reliability and stability of the individuals who actually provide the services for you, as opposed to the size of the placement agency or aggressive sales activities. Return to top
Are you a member of professional organizations?
Our director, Yuko Ohnaka, is a member of the American Translators Association, the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, and the Asian American Journalists Association.
Return to top
Are you ISO certified?
No. We do not believe that any of our products and services should be standardized for mass production. All our work is customized for the specific needs of our clients. Return to top
What kinds of licenses and certifications are required for language and communication services providers?
As of today, there is no state or national system to regulate Japanese translators, interpreters, and communications consultants. The American Translators Association (ATA) offers certification examinations for document translators (as opposed to oral interpreters) who have approximately two years of experience. The certification is on a voluntary basis. Since most ATA members have significantly more than two years of experience when they join the association, the majority of them do not take the examination. Return to top
Do you handle languages other than Japanese?
We can provide multilingual services in collaboration with select affiliates that have been working with us for more than 10 years. Return to top
Where can I see an example of your written work?
The simplest way is to examine the text you are currently reading - both the English and the Japanese copy for the ohnaka.com Website are our work. Return to top
I received quotes from several different companies. Why do they differ so much?
In order to help determine what you’ll receive for your money, request the background information of the actual service providers (not of the salespeople), and ask what kinds of detailed steps and procedures are included in the quote. Some companies employ exorbitant markups because their overhead expenses (costly sales activities, ineffective operation, perpetual legal problems, etc.) are so high. On the other hand, others may offer low rates simply because their work is shoddy. Return to top
The quote I received was higher than expected. Is there a way to lower it?
Please let us know the detailed requirements of the assignment. We might be able to adjust the rate accordingly. We have service providers of different levels in order to fulfill the different needs of our clients. But don’t just trust anyone who purports to provide the highest quality at the lowest rate. (You know that you can’t buy a brand-new Lexus at the price of a junk.) Return to top
What is the difference between translation and interpreting?
Translation generally refers to a written rendition of a document. Interpreting generally refers to an oral rendition of a speech. An oral rendition of a document is called site translation. To provide a written translation of a speech, the speech first must be transcribed in the original language. Return to top
The quote I received from a translation company was lower than expected. I would like to cut cost, but I’m also concerned about the quality of the work. Any advice?
Higher rates are no guarantee of better quality, but if the company offers “lowest rates available” or “highest quality at the lowest price,” think twice. Manufacturers of consumer goods sometimes offer drastic discounts because they need to get rid of inventories they don’t need. Language and communication companies provide customized products and services that cannot be automated or mass-produced, so hiring a translator “on sale” is usually unwise. Return to top