10 Sep /13

2020 Vision

japanese interpreting olympics 2020Exactly two and a half years ago the world looked on in dismay as north eastern Japan was devastated by natural disaster. The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami followed by nuclear crisis at Fukushima threatened Japan’s industrial capacity, its economic status and the safety of millions of its people. The skies may not be completely clear over Japan this morning but the decision to award the 2020 Olympics to Tokyo has lent a polish to the country’s steady recovery. On Saturday the International Olympic Committee approved Tokyo as a safe, economically viable host with a vision for a successful event.

As the world’s third largest economy and a global research and development champion, Japan’s importance as a trade partner can’t be underestimated. Over 450 British companies already have a presence in the country, and new opportunities will undoubtedly present themselves as the decade unfolds. How best can we take advantage of them? What’s our 2020 vision?

British exporters to Japan, in fields as diverse as advanced manufacturing and food and beverages, will benefit from this country’s solid reputation as a producer of high quality goods. But they will also find that the surest way to build a bridge to a new partner is to speak to them in a language they not only understand but feel most comfortable with. Research by UK Trade and Investment indicates that companies who take the trouble to localise their message in this way generate an average of six times more revenue than those who don’t.

Reaching out to new markets involves unpicking the locks of language and culture. Every accent and nuance shapes the message and either adds value to the brand or subtracts from it. Where a professional translator will be bicultural as well as bilingual, the amateur (or worse, the machine) will not only fail to open the door but may add enough bolts and padlocks to keep it closed forever.

Linguistic traps are everywhere. While Japan itself is preparing for an exciting future, the Japanese language has no future tense. The present tense is used to describe future action, and when people speak of watching a TV programme or walking a dog they could be referring to the activity of the moment, something they do each day or something they plan for an unspecified point in the future. A skilled translator will be able to gauge precise meaning from context, just as they will be alert to subtle variations in style and culture.

Hosting the Olympics may be a once in a lifetime event but on almost any weekend Tokyo and Osaka will be hosts to high profile trade exhibitions, and the countless UK delegates in attendance will lean heavily on translation and Japanese interpreting services. Communicate poorly and you can look very foolish with clients who don’t suffer fools gladly. Communicate well and your entire business can be transformed. EVS Translations applies the highest recruitment standards for all translators, proof readers and interpreters. Professionally qualified native speakers are screened, trained and developed into the industry specialists our clients need. Helping them get it right, first time and every time.

The energy sector offers a useful snapshot of the opportunities available in Japan. Prior to March 2011 nuclear reactors generated one third of all the country’s power, but with 48 of its 50 reactors shut down after Fukushima a re-evaluation was inevitable. While no one should gloat over another country’s energy crisis, British companies that can help them deal with it should not feel guilty about turning an honest profit from the exercise. Japan is making a virtue of this economic necessity; environmentally friendly initiatives have opened up trade opportunities in renewable energy, with the government aiming for 25% of all power from renewable sources. Wind, biomass and solar PV services are increasingly popular, with demand growing for Smart-Grid and Smart metering technology. While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would prefer to make at least a partial return to the nuclear option, his government has heavily incentivised the generation of renewable power, and Hokkaido has become home to a string of high profile solar energy projects.

Helping clients rebuild a brand in a new language is a challenge EVS Translations relishes, but for a country to rebuild itself from the rubble is something to be particularly admired. This decade may have begun with disaster but the next will launch with Japan hosting the greatest show on earth. Going hand in hand with this event will be a range of lucrative commercial opportunities for exporters, and EVS Translations will be supporting them every step of the way.