A list of useful resources and interesting articles for Japanese to English media translators.
If you’re interested in books on translation and translation business
then check out Book Recommendations for Japanese English Translators.
– Jump to Resources –
Terms found in manga, anime, novels, music, hentai and MORE! As well as how they have been translated in different mediums and contexts.
Dr. Wes Robertson (a Japanese Sociolinguist) collects Japanese slang and now he’s compiled it into a slang dictionary!
This focuses more on the meanings of the Japanese and doesn’t always have the equivalent English term. (Although this is a new resource so will probably be updated in the future.)
A dictionary of Japanese to English SFX commonly found in manga.
A collection of random Japanese memes and otaku cultural references found in online manga.
There is also an English edition: The Pixiv Encyclopedia. (Not all terms from the Japanese site will be on the English site.)
A Japanese online magazine with short articles on the latest slang found in otaku circles, as well as news on the latest anime, manga, light novels, games, and dramas.
Japanese only dictionary of common terms found in comedy. Each entry has in-depth explanations of their meaning and origins.
Ever translating a joke and you need a pun but can’t think of the best word for the situation? This is the website for you.
A dictionary of place names in Japan. Great if you have an obscure place name that you have no idea how to read!
Here’s a similar website: 全国都道府県地名読み方調べ
Resources for Games
An English only database of screenshots from a wide selection of games. Great when translating UI text and want to check commonly used terminology in English.
A collection of terms from a wide variety of Japanese fighting games.
A Japanese only list of fighting game terminology with definitions.
This is a short list of common controller terms from English to Japanese fighting/arcade games.
Resources for Manga
This is a paid for recording of a webinar. It focuses on proofreading for western comics, but a lot of the tips can be applied to proofreading manga translations as well.
A great guide for translators, editors and letterers who are working with manga! Standards and best practices for formatting and punctuation. These focus on western comics but many of these best practices can be applied to manga too.
If you’re interested in getting into manga lettering then you should check out Sara Linsley’s lettering tutorials.
Sara also offers Indesign scripts to make lettering easier: Indesign Scripts.
Blambot’s guides and advice for amazing lettering in English comics!
Sara Linsely also provides her own fonts for manga letterers! They’re free but be sure to send her some $$$ for all the hard work she put into making them!
Resources for Literature
A free online style guide for writing about Japan and Japanese words in English.
Ten things to think about when working on your craft.
A free recording of a webinar going over the best practices for pitching translation proposals to publishers, including, but not limited to, reader’s reports, sample translations, query letters, and in person communication.
The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) is a non-profit group of game developers from all over the world. The localization special interest group focuses on game localization and translation.
Membership: $60/1 year or $100/2 years
Group of Japanese translators working in a wide range of fields.
You do not need to be a member to attend JAT events. (But non-members do have to pay a fee.)
Membership: ¥10,000/1 year or ¥19,000/2 years
Group for writers, editors, and translators in Japan with a focus on literary translation and literature about Japan. This group has been going for 40 years! It includes a lot of veteran literary translators.
You do not need to be a member to attend SWET events. (No additional fee either!)
Membership: ¥6,000/1 year
Resources for Freelance Life
Although written from the perspective of games, this article has some great tips for how to handle translation tests that would be applied to any media translation test.
Tips on how to improve your LinkedIn profile so you get more attention from possible clients or connections.
Email templates for politely declining work.
Tips on working from home in a healthy way that maintains work-life-clarity and improves work productivity.