Japanese to English translator based in Seattle, Washington. Lived in Osaka, Fukuoka and Tokyo.

Studied Japanese for over 11 years with a BA in Social (Cultural) Anthropology and MA in Translation. Has JLPT N2 certificate.

Writes articles about studying Japanese, culture and localization. Loves playing video games and reading novels in Japanese and English.

Loves translating and localizing a variety of texts including business, trade, tourism, marketing, and create works.

Falling in Love with Japanese Language and Culture

I began studying Japanese in college (high school) as a hobby, and visited Japan for the first time shortly after. It was not a normal tourist trip to Japan however, while there I studied farming Japanese at a school in Fukuoka, and then volunteered on organic farms in Kyushu with WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms).

It was on this trip, jumping down a mountain in Aso National Park, that I realized how much I enjoyed the language and decided to become a translator.

This drove me to study Cultural Anthropology at university, which included a year in Japan at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka. Here I continued to study Japanese language and culture.

After graduating I returned to Fukuoka, Kyushu to study and passed the JLPT N2 (Japanese Language Proficiency Test).

Japanese English Translator Kyoto About Jennifer O'Donnell


Living and Working in Japan

After living in Japan for a collective 2 years, my dream was to live and work in Japan permanently. I got a job working remotely for an American company that made systems diagnostic tools (the hardware and software) for vehicles.

My job was to set up a branch in Japan so their clients Isuzu would have a direct contact working alongside them. I translated business, technical documents and correspondences while being trained in project management.

Sadly the costs for establishing an office in Japan proved too great. Unable to move to Japan, I left to return to my dream of becoming a translator.

Which led to an MA in Translation at SOAS, University of London.

Japanese English Translator Tokyo About Jennifer O'Donnell

Japanese Language and Freelance Translation

I have been teaching Japanese for fun for over 4 years. One part of that is my website Japanese Talk Online which provides articles and advice for learning Japanese at all levels. I have also created successful Memrise courses to accompany these which thousands of people use to improve their Japanese.

Now I’m working as a freelance Japanese to English translator. After working in-house in technical translation I find I enjoy working freelance with a variety of people and on a variety of subjects.

Translation isn’t just a job, it’s about forming mutually beneficial relationships with others. Communication is key to building that relationship and getting the best possible translations for an affordable price.