This year, we decided to focus on a hands-on program that should prove useful to all biomedical and med/pharma translators regardless of where they are in their careers. The entire day will be interactive starting with a CAT tools workshop with Ben Tompkins, followed by an updated version of an extremely useful session in translating “Fuzzy Verbs” with Dr. Yanase. The afternoon will start with a full session of interactive quizzes with Tony Atkinson and finish with engaging our attendees in an oncology-focused look into mechanisms of action, population pharmacokinetics, and immunology with Shiho Koizumi and Sako Ikegami. We look forward to seeing you there!!


SESSION 1] (9:00-10:20)

Trados, Felix, or Something Else?: Choosing a computer assisted translation tool

I’m often surprised when my biomedical translation colleagues tell me that they don’t use a CAT tool. Perhaps they’re intimidated by the learning curve? Or perpaps the price scares them. In this presentation I'll cover some of the basic features of SDL Trados and Felix and show you how to fine-tune them for your work as a biomedical translator. Bring your laptop, preferably fully charged and pre-loaded with Felix (which is FREE:, to participate in the workshop portion of this presentation. (This session is geared toward beginning CAT tool users, but more advanced users are welcome to attend and ask questions.)

Speaker: Ben Tompkins
Ben Tompkins lives in beautiful Fukuoka, Japan, where he began translating professionally in 1994. Ben specializes in pharmaceutical and biomedical translation. He owns Tompkins Biomedical Communications, a provider of translation and other language services to pharmaceutical companies, research organizations, and universities. Ben served as President of the Japan Association of Translators (JAT) from June 2016 to June 2017 and has helped organize three IJET conferences in and outside Japan. He can be reached at [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]).


[SESSION 2] (10:40-12:00)

Let the Verb Tell the Story: Translation of Japanese Verbs Revisited

Two and a half years have passed since I attended a JATPHARMA event held here in Osaka and talked about the ways to translate Japanese adaptive, all-round verbs, such as 検討する, 認める, and 対応する, into English. The gist of my talk was that word-for-word translation rarely works when it comes to translation of Japanese verbs, and that a Japanese verb should always be translated in reference to the underlying context. My subsequent experience recast my conviction: skills to find the right English verbs solve major problems endemic in Japanese-to-English translation. This presentation aims to discuss clues to find an English verb that best describes the action of a Japanese sentence, something like "justify" for 妥当性について説明する.

Speaker: Daisuke Yanase

Working for a Tokyo-based translation company, Daisuke Yanase is making the most of his colorful career. He studied plant physiology at university and thereafter spent the first 20 years of his working career at a chemical company, being engaged in agrochemical research and development and pharmaceutical quality control. In 2003, he decided to try his English writing skills in a pharmaceutical company, for which he worked for 10 years, translating technical and regulatory documents between Japanese and English. His personal challenge is to acquire as much proficiency as possible in writing in English without living outside Japan.


LUNCH BREAK (12:00-13:00)

[SESSION 3] (13:00-14:10)

Interactive Quiz: J-E Pharma Translation and English Medical Writing

In this session—make sure you bring along a smartphone, tablet, or other internet-enabled device to participate—Tony Atkinson will pose a range of questions involving J-E translation and English grammar and writing style specifically prepared from biomedical and pharma sources. Responses will be multiple-choice or single-sentences, and answers will be discussed in real time. We’re aiming for a fast-paced, fun, and noisy session, so be prepared for an enjoyable and informative time.


Speaker: Tony Atkinson
Majoring in physics (BSc) at the University of Western Australia, Tony Atkinson taught science for ten years before switching to Japanese-English translation in 1988. A freelance translator since 1992, his work is now focused mainly on the areas of medicine and drug development. He also delivers seminars and workshops on pharma translation and English scientific writing to clients in Japan. He is currently a Board member of the Japan Association of Translators (JAT) and a past chair of JATPHARMA, the JAT special-interest group dedicated to pharma translation.


SESSION 4 (14:20-15:30)

How Does it Work? -Mechanisms of Action, Population Pharmacokinetics, and Immunity-


Oncology is now one of the most rapidly-growing areas in the pharma industry. Novel drugs based on cutting-edge technologies continue to enter the market at a mind-boggling pace and it is almost impossible to keep up with all of these new developments. Join us for an overview on how some of those newest cancer drugs work, how pharmaceutical companies explain those mechanisms to the general public, and how we can translate those explanations and concepts into comprehensible English. We will provide an assignment by May 15th, due by June 15th. At least half of our time will be spent on hands-on translation activities.


Speaker: Sako Ikegami

Born in Osaka and raised in NYC, Sako Ikegami became a pharmacist in Japan and later returned to the US for a graduate level Pharm.D. (Doctor of Pharmacy) degree in clinical pharmacy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. She’s held jobs in R&D at Japanese subsidiaries of international pharmaceutical companies and also tried hospital pharmacy, but has been a freelance translator, medical writer, and interpreter since 1990. At one time, she also pursued a career in children’s literature translation, her other passion, but returned to full-time med/pharm translator/interpreter/writer status in mid-2013.


Speaker: Shiho Koizumi

Freelance translator. After majoring in international relations at Faculty of Foreign Studies of Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, Shiho has been active as a freelance medical/pharmaceutical translator since 2013. Her extensive experience in this field includes two years translating the narrative portion of CIOMS. Currently, she focuses on medical articles and clinical study documents.