Translator Jobs Japan: 10 Easy Tips for Getting Started

  • Time to read: 8 min.

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For many translators, the idea of working in Japan is an appealing one. The country has a rich culture and history, and is home to many international businesses. However, finding translator jobs in Japan can be a challenge.

In this blog post, we’ll share 10 tips for finding translator jobs Japan. Whether you’re looking for work as a freelance translator or want to find a full-time position with a translation company, these tips will help you get started on your job search.

Why Become a Translator in Japan?

Becoming a translator in Japan is an exciting and rewarding career choice. With the world’s third-largest economy, Japan offers a wealth of opportunities for translators, whether it be translating books, legal documents or business papers.

Translating for the Japanese market can open up a whole new world of possibilities and give you the chance to grow professionally.

For those fluent in both English and Japanese, there are many advantages to becoming a translator in Japan. For starters, you will gain invaluable experience translating from one language to another.

This experience not only helps you develop your language skills but also gives you insight into how different cultures communicate. In addition, employers often look for bilingual candidates when seeking a translator for their company’s communications with clients overseas or with foreign partners. 

Another great benefit of being a translator in Japan is that you get to immerse yourself in the culture of one of the world’s oldest countries while learning about its rich history and cultural nuances.

You’ll also have plenty of opportunity to travel throughout Japan and enjoy its picturesque countryside and vibrant cities. 

Japan has been experiencing rapid economic growth since the 1980s, which has created numerous employment opportunities for translators. Companies such as Sony and Honda have global operations that require translations from English into Japanese and vice versa on a daily basis.

Even if you decide not to pursue full-time translation work or as a translation side hustle, freelancing can provide good income potential as well as flexibility in your schedule that allows time for other activities such as sightseeing or studying Japanese language more deeply.  

Lastly, becoming a translator in Japan is an excellent way to network professionally with leading businesses in the area while growing your career prospects back home too.

The experience gained here can help you stand out among other candidates back home when applying for jobs with larger companies operating globally – something that could prove invaluable later on down the line.

Examples of Translator Jobs: Japan

Translator jobs in Japan are plentiful and varied. From corporate and government settings to speaking engagements, there’s a wide range of options for those seeking employment as translators in Japan. 

Private Sector

Those looking to work in the private sector might find work with companies like Fujitsu or Hitachi providing business translation services.

These firms offer full-time and part-time positions, often with competitive salaries and other benefits depending on the company. Additionally, many corporations hire freelance translators as needed to complete specific tasks. 

Government Sector

Government-related translator jobs may be found through agencies such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). JICA provides assistance programs that require translators on a global level, working with other countries to promote global communication and cooperation.

Interpreters who specialize in specific languages may also find lucrative opportunities within the Japanese government and diplomatic circles. 

Educational Sector

University language departments are always in need of qualified instructors who can serve as translators/interpreters for research projects or collaborations with foreign institutions. In addition, some universities offer translation courses which students may take for credit towards their degree program or for career advancement purposes. 

Freelance Translation

Freelance translation is an option for those looking for flexibility in their work schedule and potential income possibilities outside of traditional job settings.

Companies like Gengo offer freelance opportunities worldwide, providing an online platform where people can sign up to provide Japanese translation from one language into another once they have been approved by the company’s editorial board. Some freelance Japanese translators jobs could include:

Private Tutoring

Private tutoring is another way to gain experience as a translator or interpreter while earning extra money on the side.

Private tutoring opportunities can be found through various platforms such as Craigslist ads or specialized websites like TutorsJapan which specialize in connecting people offering teaching services with those seeking them out. 


Finally, working on focused independent work at events such as seminars, exhibitions, conventions or trade fairs is another way to earn money translating for delegates and VIP guests who visit from abroad or speak Japanese as a second language.

Events such as these require interpreters who can interpret conversations between international participants over short periods of time rather than long term contracts or commitments like most other translator jobs would entail.

How To Find Translator Jobs While in Japan

Finding translator jobs while living in Japan can be a daunting task for those who are new to the country, but with careful research and preparation, it is possible to find meaningful work. Here’s a five-step process for those looking to land translator jobs in Japan:

1. Get Certified

The first step to becoming a professional translator in Japan is to obtain certification from either Japan’s Ministry of Education or the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).

Becoming certified shows that you have taken the time to learn the language and demonstrate your proficiency. It will also give potential employers confidence that you are capable of translating accurately into Japanese and are interested in a long-term opportunity.

2. Network

Networking is an essential part of any job search, and especially so in an international market like Japan. Make sure that your network includes people who have translation experience and have contacts with potential employers.

Attend seminars and conferences related to translation, meet other translators at local events, join translation-related Facebook groups, and make use of LinkedIn to build relationships with professionals in your field.

3. Research Companies

Once you have identified which companies may need translation services, take some time to research each one thoroughly. Look into their current projects, their corporate culture and values, as well as their hiring policies and requirements if available online.

This will give you an idea of whether or not they may be interested in hiring a translator like yourself

4. Polish Your CV and Cover Letter

Before applying for any positions make sure that you tailor your CV specifically for each company or role you apply for. (And be sure to watch out for translation scams.)

Demonstrate how your skills match what they are looking for by including relevant examples from past experience or relevant qualifications gained during training courses or studies overseas. Also write up a cover letter telling them why you would be perfect for the job – this is often overlooked but can make all the difference when it comes to successful applications.

5. Apply & Follow Up with Japanese Translator Jobs

Once you have completed steps 1-4 it’s time to apply. But don’t stop there – follow up on applications with calls and emails if necessary so that employers know that you’re still interested and keen on working there.

This could help put your application ahead of others who didn’t bother following up on theirs – plus it shows initiative, even as entry level candidates.

How To Find Translator Jobs Before Moving to Japan

Finding translator jobs before moving to Japan is a great way to ensure a successful and lucrative career. To help you find the right job type and get started in your new home, here are five steps to follow to finding translation jobs.

Step 1: Get Your Requirements Straight

Before you start searching for translator jobs in Japan, make sure that you have all of the necessary requirements. This includes having a good command of both English and Japanese (both native language and target language), as well as any other language skills that may be required.

Additionally, you’ll need to have at least two years’ experience in translation work and be able to provide references from past employers or schools. Some places might even require a bachelor’s degree.

Step 2: Network as a Japanese Translator

Making contacts with people who can help you find translator jobs before moving to Japan will be quite beneficial. Try attending networking events or making use of online forums such as LinkedIn or Reddit to expand your contacts.

You should also search for listings on websites like Indeed and Glassdoor for opportunities that suit your skillset.

Step 3: Join Professional Organizations

Joining professional organizations related to translation can help connect you with potential employers and other translators who can give advice on how best to approach job hunting when it comes to finding translator jobs before moving to Japan.

Aside from providing access to resources, many of these organizations even offer certifications which will help demonstrate your competencies in particular areas.

Step 4: Consider Local Agencies for Freelance Japanese Translators

If finding a permanent position isn’t an option or isn’t something that appeals to you at this stage in life, then consider reaching out to local translation agencies which can provide short-term translation contracts while giving flexibility in terms of working hours and locations.

Many of these agencies allow remote position opportunities so you don’t even have to be based in Japan for the majority of the time.

Step 5: Utilize Online Job Platforms

There are also platforms such as UpWork where freelance translators can find work by bidding on projects or different job types posted by companies looking for somebody with their specific skill set.

By using services such as these, you should be able to secure some paid work prior to moving so that when it comes time for the big move, at least some of the financial worries won’t be too much of an issue.

Preparing yourself with translation opportunities before venturing off into the world is always wise practice when considering a career abroad; especially once everything is finalized and it’s time for leaving your current home behind.

With these five steps above, however, now there’s no need worry about not having anything lined up by the time you arrive – just get researching today and see what other positions come up.


Finding a translator job in Japan can be a daunting task, whether you are already living there or are just about to move. But with the right preparation and research in the above-mentioned areas, you can find the perfect opportunity for you.

Networking with contacts, joining professional organizations, utilizing online job platforms and considering local agencies are all great ways to get started.

FAQ – Translator Jobs Japan

How much do translators make in Japan?

According to PayScale, the average salary for a Translator in Japan is ¥3000000. The Complete Salary Survey found that a person working as a Translator in Japan typically earns around 489,000 JPY per month. Additionally, The Economic Research Institute reported that the average pay for a Translator is JPY 5,783,320 a year and JPY 2,780 an hour in Japan.

Is translator a good career in Japan?

Translators in Japan can enjoy a wide range of job opportunities, exciting projects, and competitive salaries. With the growth of global trade, game development technology with well-known companies, and cutting edge software, there is a greater need for translators in Japanese and other languages.

What qualifications do I need to be a Japanese translator?

Although there is no official standard for translating Japanese, a degree in linguistics or translation studies is highly recommended. Many employers also prefer candidates who have passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). Additionally, some employers may have job requirements in specific fields such as technical or legal translation.