Masters in Asian Studies?

So decided to go back to school and am now deciding my course of action for the next few years and trying to find a Masters that can be useful for Japanese as most universities around me in Vancouver do not have a masters degree in Japanese. ( I like languages and want to get into translating/interpreting)

For those of you who have done that or went to school and did something with your Japanese with that what degree did you get?

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I have a Diploma in Language Studies. :slightly_smiling_face:


I did the first year of a bachelor in Asian studies for fun. I don’t think there are degrees for specific languages. I liked it

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That depends on the country :wink: In the UK you can for sure do degrees in French Studies, German Studies, Japanese Studies, etc.

My degree was “Modern Languages” because I was greedy and wanted to learn 3 at the same time :smiley:

I was super tempted to study Japanese at uni, but it would have meant doing a dual degree (half Japanese, half another language) rather than having the option to do 3 (French German and I picked up Dutch as a beginner).

@Amazuu I now work as a full-time freelance translator, so if you have any questions about that side of things, hit me up! Not from Japanese, as I’m still very much beginner/intermediate, but if you have any general Qs about the industry or getting started, then I’d be happy to help :slight_smile:


What did you study as an undergraduate? Would it be possible to go straight into a translation/interpreting Masters? Or improve your Japanese through some other scheme of qualification (JLPT, or any other format) and then start a translation Masters?


I’m a Master of the Universe


Well I would be starting bottom up by getting a degree but definitely decided if I am going to go all the work for the degree I wanna masters and all I like are languages really… so options are a little limited. Only thing will save me time is the language assessment hope to skip a couple levels in Japanese at least.

@rachiewru Is it hard to find work as a Freelancer? I also wonder how much of the language you need to know and when your trying to get clients do you cold call or answer ads and show a portfolio?

Sorry guys It took a long time but I have finally decided this and start to register this coming week so wanna hit the ground running before i age more :\ (thus i will also be on this more)

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I don’t have tooo much trouble finding work - there are definitely lulls over the course of the year, i.e. summer is usually a bit quieter because a lot of people are away on holiday, so they don’t need legal/marketing/websites translated right now! That also probably varies hugely depending what fields you want to focus on.

Also worth mentioning that working in-house for a company is totally an option! I didn’t go down that road essentially because a) I love the flexibility of working hard on jobs and then taking time off when I choose, and b) I live in south east England and didn’t want to work in London. But there are translation companies based all over the place, so if you want a regular salary, an office with colleagues, etc etc, then that route is very much available :slight_smile:

Currently I work for 3 different agencies (no direct clients at the mo, but that’s something I’m going to work on in the coming months - cut out the middle man :wink: ) I have a profile on which is kind of like Facebook/LinkedIn for freelance translators, and two of the agencies I work for found me on there. It is worth checking out! Basic membership is free, and there is also a premium option.

I mainly translate legal texts, and mostly from Dutch to English (there are way fewer NL>EN translators than my other language pairs, French and German into EN) so I get a good variety and quantity of work because there’s quite a small pool of translators working in that combination.

I think the reputation I have built up with the agencies is more important than being a mega specialist in a certain area: they come to me with quite a variety of texts, and it’s only very rarely that a job will be too technical/financial or just something I’m not confident translating.

If you went into interpreting, that wouldn’t happen at all :smiley: because you would be meeting with people however often it is that interpreters do interpreting. I don’t know anything about interpreting, apart from that some of my uni peers did modules in it and loved it (and that most people I introduce myself to assume that “translator” means “interpreter”) but I knew it wouldn’t be for me at all: written translation suits me because I have time to reword things, do research, double-check etc. It all depends what suits you, what skills you already have + want to build on, and what kind of challenges you’re looking for in your language career :slight_smile:

Probably the hardest things about freelancing (/working from home) are time management and potential feelings of isolation, but after 2 years I’m getting better at tending to both of those things! And being prepared for the feast/famine dynamic as well. But again, this can be avoided by being an in-house translator with a company, so it’s not something that linguists HAVE to deal with, it’s just if you want to go down the freelance road.

Sorry this is a bit of a disjointed essay of a reply :rofl:

What fields have you already studied/worked in?


Hey,I am here to ask some of you: are these jobs avaible all around the world?Maybe it’s an option for me to translate someone for free to hone my language skills?Who can advice about that?

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Yes, it’s definitely a global profession! Wages/salaries will vary depending where you are based / where the agency or client is based. (I occasionally get emails about work from places with very different GDPs from the UK and they offer rates that would leave me in poverty living here :sweat_smile:) but there is definitely work available all over the world, both online and in person.

The main thing to do is just start practising! If you like certain kinds of articles/stories/poems/websites, try translating a page or two of them. You could also translate parts of things that you know there are already translations of (famous books, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, some websites) and do your own translation, then compare it with the existing one, and see what you did the same or differently.

And writing in your native language in general. If you have experience in writing professionally or academically, that’s a great start, but if not, practise writing texts and get friends or family to have a look at them and give you feedback.
Depending what you want to translate, you’ll probably need to use a number of different registers and styles of writing. For example, the language I use for a legal summons is very different to the language I use for a perfume advertising campaign! Some texts will require more creativity and flair, while others will require you to stick very closely to the source text.

What language combination are you planning to translate? And what fields? :slight_smile:

If it involves Japanese, something that you could try is translating a short text and then putting it on the forums to get feedback from the WaniKani community :blush:

If it’s a different language pair… there’s a website where you can ask for feedback on translations (something like HiNative but different) and I’ve completely forgotten what it’s called, if I remember I’ll edit this post!! Or, you can ask for some feedback from anyone you know who is familiar with both languages.


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