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パートナーの声:高田さん

ASCA has been my most valued partner for the majority of my 45-year career in the language services sector. Why do I say this? ASCA’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction is what I truly value. Placing priority on quality is key to delivering translation documents that are not just fit for purpose but that excel in serving the needs of our demanding end-users.

Through ASCA and its commitment to quality, I was able to work with clients who had time to listen and who wanted only the best, even if it meant various discussions via comments in the document margins and numerous subsequent revisions. Cost and speed, important though they are, were not the only overriding concerns. Sharing ASCA’s values and sharing clients’ values enhanced my translation experience.

I also felt that ASCA was warmly human and responsive in communication. Not everything in our work correspondence has to be businesslike, impersonal and humourless. We are not translation robots. We thrive on human interaction with company staff and other partners. Just a small comment on the weather, or a report on what you did at the weekend, or even a reaction to current events could make all the difference in adding the human and caring touch, which is of universal importance and value.

Looking back at my translation work with ASCA, a lot of enjoyment came from being assigned some surprising and unusual work, considering ASCA is an agency mainly handling medical and pharmaceutical documents. The prime example was a script explaining how the Kyotei boat race worked and how you could place your bets. Besides, I recall horseracing, post cards, recipes, narration about college facilities, high-spec electronic devices and hair wax! Learning about something new and trying to convey that to someone else in English, that gave me intellectual satisfaction and sense of purpose.

On a practical and detailed level, what probably created most difficulty for me was clients making revisions to the original text halfway through the translation process. Sometimes even changing one word could impact not only that sentence but the whole paragraph, with knock-on effects on other parts of the document. Especially tricky could be a change to a key word. Re-reading, re-wording, and re-editing were all required, causing delay and sometimes compromising style and flow.

In its infancy, business translation focused too much on the words written on the page. What I mean is that the clients, the agents and the translators were all engrossed in getting the words and phrases “right” and did not realise what was actually required to achieve this in addition to linguistic competence. Everything has a context. The translator has to have as much contextual information as possible to produce the best translation for the particular document. What is the writer trying to convey first and foremost? What specific result does the client want? Where and how is the translated document going to be circulated? Who needs to read the document? These are some of the questions that must be asked before engaging with any translation. Context building, research and information gathering are essential, but sadly were often omitted in the sheer haste of meeting the deadline. Through my years with ASCA, I think we were able to change our mindset so that we could take a more macroscopic approach to our work.

Zooming out, the world of translation is undergoing a sea-change. How do we ride out the present tides and how do we prepare for the future? In my retirement speech addressing ASCA staff and translation colleagues, I highlighted two key words, adopt and adapt. We need to be discriminating but we should be ready to adopt and not resist change or challenge. While preserving linguistic integrity, we should use our human ingenuity to create better results. We still have a lot to teach AI. We should teach it well and we should adapt it to our advantage.

We may so easily get overwhelmed and consumed by the work in front of us. However, our physical and mental well-being must come uppermost in our list of priorities. Without a healthy mind and body, there is no translator nor translation. Take your 5-minute break, stretch your legs, open the window… find a friend to talk to, go for a walk up the hill, dip into the pool… read a book, look at a painting, fold some paper! My parting advice to translators is, look after yourself well in the same way as you look after the words you craft. My request to the wider ASCA community is, remember that although translation is about changing words between languages, it has a more far-reaching impact in many ways than is obvious. Translation should be executed with unwavering commitment to human values and to the pursuit of superior quality.

ASCAは一緒に成長できるパートナーの方を募集します。
医学・医薬分野における翻訳・ライティング市場において、医学研究の進歩に伴う専門性の高度化への対応と、グローバル化に伴うスピードアップが求められています。ライフサイエンス分野におけるTotal Solution Provider No.1を目指すASCAのビジョンを達成するために、ASCAとともに成長していける方を求めます。

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