The new year is always a great time to set self-improvements and self-development goals. But I’ve always found that calling them “resolutions” and aiming for the end of the year never works. I much prefer to set monthly and three monthly goals and then see where I am when I reach the target day.
In 2017 I did so-so with my goals. I entered more translation competitions and began evening translation classes at Bellevue College. I started learning Korean but didn’t get to the point I wanted to get to. The JLPT N1 was on my list of 2017 resolutions but I decided not to take it because of stress. Instead I read more! Although again, not as much as I wanted to.
So with the new year I’m setting myself new goals and plan to keep track of them better.
I have so many books piled up that I want to read. I love books, but I’ve found that more recently I don’t make enough time to just sit down and enjoy a good book.
So rather than say “I’ll read one book a month”, my goal is to read 100-150 pages a week.
100-150 pages might not seem like much to some but that’s at least 14.2-21.4 pages a day which is a good amount for me. This is mostly because of time restraints. I’m working full time, taking evening classes, cooking, cleaning, writing for Japanese Talk Online, and the time just gets eaten up! But I know I can do it if I read throughout the day and for an hour before bed.
I want to read Japanese and English books but try and focus more on Japanese books. This is another reason 100-150 pages a week is hard, because I’m reading in Japanese. But this will force me to increase my reading speed.
So far on my reading list I have:
(only 70 pages left!)Finished 1/16!
- 鹿の王 (1 & 2)
- サラバ (1 & 2)
- The Lies of Locklamore
- The Name of the Wind
- Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse Series)
(Most of these are fantasy novels.)
I started studying Bellevue College’s Translation and Interpreting Certificate Program last year. I took an MA in Translation at SOAS London, but although it was an MA program it was not a vocational course and missed a lot of useful information. So I had wanted to take this course at Bellevue College and it has been amazing so far! I plan to take every single class.
In 2017 I took the beginners Trans101 class along with Termbase Management and Interpreting Skills 101. I got special permission to jump ahead of the 100 classes and have started Japanese Interpreting.
I plan to write in more detail what interpreter training is like, but I love it so far! This year I should be able to take all 3 Japanese Interpreting classes. That’s 900 hours of training and practice! And I’m so excited!
My approach for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in the past has been study, study, study, study. The first time I took the N1 (the highest level) in 2015 I studied for 8 hours a day for 3 months. My brain was jelly. I did not pass. It was stressful and exhausting and horrible.
This time because my goals are to read a lot more and to take interpreter training I’m hoping that will be enough to pass the N1 in 2018.
My goal is to use my Japanese to read and speak (and interpret) a LOT more than previous years. Focusing on learning through use rather than studying.
Although I do plan to study advanced kanji on the side. And possibly advanced grammar closer to the exam in December.
I’m also planning to do more creative endeavours this year.
Japanese Talk Online, a website I run aimed at helping people study Japanese, is going to be taking a new direction looking more at learning Japanese through media. So Japanese through anime, manga, drama, novels, the news, blogs, youtube, etc.
I’m also starting a Podcast for it, as well as making other podcasts with friends about Japanese media.
These are mostly for fun. I want to try it for at least a year and see how far we can get.
I also hope to take a creative writing course to improve my English! Especially as English writing skills are so incredibly important to translating.
I’m looking forward to 2018. I’m hoping that I can enjoy and hone my Japanese and English skills a lot more in the coming year.