William Lise has lived in Japan for over 44 years. In his previous life in the US, he was an electrical engineer, working in fiber optics research, after which he established—and for three years managed—the Japan branch of a US manufacturer of electrical measuring instruments. This educational background and real-life experience provided not only field-specific knowledge, but also opportunities to network and build credibility with future translation clients. About 35 years ago, his translation company’s customer base expanded to include law firms in both the US and Japan. After the collapse of the bubble economy, his work became increasingly focused on intellectual property translation, which tends to be somewhat more immune to economic swings than industrial translation such as user manuals. He currently runs Kirameki Translations, Inc., which has a mix of clients in the manufacturing and legal sectors.
Upward mobility on the translation food chain tends to be difficult after translating for a few years. Many translators appear to reach what they feel is their natural or perhaps inevitable position after about five years. The presenter senses that belief in a number of myths...