More and more people who study Japanese these days eventually develop the somewhat vague, but very admirable goal of “using Japanese for work,” or “having a job where I can use Japanese.” This is one of the best goals you could possibly develop, since if you love Japanese and Japanese culture, a job that revolves around them will make that job enjoyable, and turn one of your biggest passions into your daily work life. It won’t be about trying to find the time to enjoy Japanese around your real job, but you will be further enjoying Japanese because of your real job.
The most common job that comes to mind to someone in your shoes is a translator or interpreter. After all, this is what you would assume someone who is fluent in Japanese can do. Both of these jobs are great and I hope that you can eventually get into these fields.
However it doesn’t just simply end there into a cookie cutter translator/interpreter job. There is a wide world out there where your Japanese is in demand. The following were real job advertisements that were looking for people fluent in Japanese to do exciting, unusual, and fun jobs.
12. Baseball Player Interpreter
I would think any baseball fans would love this. Not only do you get to interpret for an up and coming Japanese baseball player, travelling together with the team, but you actually get to assist in baseball practice? Bet you never thought your Japanese would be having you play baseball.
I guess the hardest part would be all the baseball-related Japanese you need to know. But since most of baseball is katakana words, it shouldn’t be too big of a problem. You do also need to be knowledgeable about baseball (that would count me out).
11. Hawaii Wedding Coordinator
Your chance to live and work in Hawaii, one of the top tourist destinations for Japanese people. The closest you can get to Japan without actually being in Japan. You get to help young Japanese couples get married at a beautiful location. While it looks like there is a requirement that you speak Japanese as a “mother tongue,” I’ve found that blowing someone away in an interview is often more than enough to get by this occasional “native” requirement, and showing them what you have to offer that a native Japanese person doesn’t have.
10. Nintendo Product Specialist
I know many of you start studying Japanese because you like video games. Well here is your chance to work at Nintendo. Yes, that Nintendo. While part of the job is simple video game translation from Japanese to English, it doesn’t stop there. There are a wide variety of exciting and fun job duties (check them out below). While I would assume this is a competitive job to get, I can imagine this being a dream job for some of you!
You’ll also notice something I’ve been saying for a while. Under the job requirements section, there are two requirements for “Undergraduate Japanese degree” and “JLPT 1 Certification.” Sometimes really large companies unfortunately may include this strict requirement (though I haven’t come across them that often). However, you will also notice the added phrase “or equivalent” at the end of both. This is there because you absolutely can prove your ability (with experience) without having either of these qualifications.
9. Anime Production
Did you know that there are people out there who study Japanese who like anime and manga? Did you know that some people solely start studying it for that reason? Well how about a job where you are at the center of the Anime universe and your job is to spread all that joy to the rest of the world? This definitely isn’t an easy job, and there are some strong qualifications required, but I would think for the right person, this would be anime bliss?
8. Football (Soccer) Researcher
Are you a fan of Japanese soccer? How would you like a job where you get to spend your time researching all aspects of Japanese soccer, including teams and players. Are you a gambler? Even better. What will all your research be going towards? World soccer peace? Close. It will help the company make proper “betting decisions.” Definitely not your typical job. What do you think? Enter the gambling soccer world as a consultant?
*Note: I know, this is a London based company and I should be using the word “football.” Please forgive me.
7. Cruise Ship Internet Guru
Here’s an interesting one. Sail around Japan on a cruise ship for 3 months. Then sail around Australia for another 3 months. Your job? Help Japanese customers use the internet on board. I would assume the complexities include how to press the power button, how to open internet explorer, and possibly even how to restart the computer.
6. Horse Ranch
Nature. Horses. Working with horses. Leading rides of Japanese customers on horses. Mount Fuji? Every day? Free room and board?
I’m a city person, so the thought of this job isn’t exactly the most pleasant, but I can imagine this being a lot of fun for nature lovers. Everything covered, get a bit of living near Mt. Fuji, and seeing a different aspect of Japan most foreigners don’t get to see.
What do you think? Worth it?
5. Manga Translator
Anyone who has ever read manga and started studying Japanese has probably wondered at one point what it would be like to have the dream job of translating manga. You get to spend all day reading manga and creatively reworking the language so the rest of the world can enjoy it the way you did.
Translation jobs come closer to reality as your skills rise, but manga translation jobs are hard to get, even when you are experienced. The reasoning is simple: would you rather translate fun comics or a boring manual on a car part? Competition is intense.
Well here is a chance to get a free trip to Japan and a job translating a new manga. You don’t even need experience. What you do need to do is prove your awesome talents by October 31st (that’s less than a week away) in this “Manga Battle Contest.”4 winners will be chosen. 1 gets to go to Japan and the other 3 will work from their home country.
High level users of Jalup: apply now. Looks like a good challenge to test out your skills.
Also, a big thanks to regular reader on Jalup, Octonion, for letting me know about this! He originally found out about this on Anime News Network and wanted to share it with all the other learners here.
4. Tour Guide
The tour guide. Introducing one country to the people of another. What does this mean to you? You have Japanese people, visiting your country, your city, rounded up for you, put together with you, and you get paid. Paid, and paid fairly well, to speak to them in Japanese, and have conversations, all day long with them. Practice, pay, and fun. That’s the triple right there.
And just for you wondering, licensing is pretty easy to accomplish.
3. Hip Fashionable Interpreter
Like fashion? Like talking fashion? Want to party with major Japanese fashion icons? Here’s your chance to get in on the street level and show your “fashion street smarts.”
Interpreting will take you to interesting places. Fashionable places (where you won’t find me…)
2. College Student NYC/Boston Guide
This is a great summer experience available for those who are college students with a summer vacation, have at least a low intermediate level of Japanese, and want to explore New York City or Boston with a bunch of native Japanese college students from Japan. I have a friend who did this last year, and he loved it. You stay with a group of visiting students in a dorm in NYC and/or Boston for a week, take them around exploring the city all week, and get all your expenses and stay covered.
He said it was a great experience, you make a lot of lasting friendships, you get to use your Japanese ability nonstop, and you get some great insight into Japanese college life.
You don’t have to be living in NY or Boston, as long as you do a bit of research in advance about how to get around and what to do in each city. This is something I would’ve loved to do if I were in college.
1. Park Ranger
Like nature? How about living in Alaska? How are you gonna use your Japanese in Alaska?
Apparently there are a lot of Japanese tourists heading to Alaska these days. You will be the beautiful national park’s go-to-person, doing everything from interpreting programs, guided walks, public address commentaries, talks, cruise ship activities and more.
This job has a very intense application and you must be a U.S. Citizen, but it’s a unique outdoor way to use your Japanese and I’m sure the experience of a lifetime.
Here’s where you’ll be working:
Here are some of the details below. The actual website description is incredibly long so I’m just taking a small sample of it.
Job Title:Park Ranger (Interpretation/Japanese), GS-0025-07
Department:Department Of The Interior
Agency:National Park Service
Job Announcement Number:SROC-GLBA-15-1247525
|$21.98 to $21.98 / Per Hour|
|Monday, December 8, 2014 to Wednesday, December 17, 2014|
SERIES & GRADE:
|Full Time – Temporary NTE 1039 Hours|
|4 vacancies in the following location:
Bartlett Cove, AK View Map
WHO MAY APPLY:
|United States Citizens|
Experience your America by building a fulfilling career by joining the National Park Service. The National Park Service preserves unimpaired, the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.
From April 20 (fixed start date) through mid-September provide front-line interpretation and visitor services. Research, prepare and present a variety of original interpretive programs, including digital illustrated programs, guided walks, public address commentaries, talks, off-vessel activities, and children’s programs. Work is performed aboard a variety of ocean-going vessels, working both independently and collaboratively as part of a diverse team of NPS, concession, and partner organizations to accomplish established visitor experience goals. Assignments include staffing a high profile and sometimes stressful, multi-tasked information desk on board cruise ships and tour vessels, as well as staff on-site visitor center. Handle visitor information requests, sell publications and educational materials, and complete assigned projects.
PHYSICAL DEMANDS: The work involves extensive periods (up to 15 hours) of standing and walking on ships, sometimes including steep stairways and narrow companionways. The majority of duties occur outdoors and on vessels (cruise ships and tour boats) with variable shifts ranging from 10 to 15 hours. Will be leading off-trail hikes wearing a daypack and must negotiate rocky shorelines and potentially slippery intertidal zones, rough surfaces and inclines. Moderate lifting is required, and most duties require wearing a daypack of supplies and interpretive materials. The work is performed in settings in which there is regular and recurring exposure to moderate discomforts and unpleasantness, e.g., low temperatures, confined spaces or adverse weather conditions (frequent drizzle and wet, windy conditions).
OTHER REQUIREMENTS: This position requires conversational fluency in Japanese and English languages. The employee must be able to deliver critical safety information and provide orientation and interpretive messages to Japanese speaking visitors.
Applicant must possess conversational fluency in the Japanese language in addition to English, because the employee must be able to deliver critical safety information, interpretive messages, answer questions, and provide orientation and interpretive message to Japanese speaking visitors. (MUST SUPPORT IN RESUME OR WILL BE RATED INELIGIBLE FOR CONSIDERATION)
Ready to work?
What do you think of the above jobs? Any of them sound interesting and you would’ve been interested in giving them a try? Know of any other unique jobs where you use Japanese?
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.