Just two weeks away from opening early-bird registration, and about ready to announce the first round of confirmed speakers, we decided to check in with JET-31 chair, Jordan Taylor, and find out little more about what to expect with IJET-31.

1) This is the first IJET since the pandemic. What was behind the decision to go ahead this year?

IJET has run into a lot of issues stemming from the pandemic forcing it to be canceled the past few years, but we decided it was finally time to get back out there and bring back the biggest opportunity Japanese-English translators and interpreters have for in-person networking and professional development.

We’ve had our snags along the way, we couldn’t even really get started until we knew Japan was opening up again to travel, and JAT has struggled to get enough volunteers, but we’re determined to make this IJET a reality, and we hope you’ll come along and join us for it.

2) Why Big Sight? And why June…it’s so hot!

There’s been a lot of redevelopment around Big Sight in the past few years - new hotels, new restaurants, a shopping center - so the location has improved quite a lot. Past IJETs have also worked with Big Sight and some of their contractors meaning we can rely on them and put together a smoother IJET experience, while keeping costs down - which translates to lower ticket prices for all of you.

Some people have commented on the weather in June, but it’s pretty common to hold IJET in the summer months. It works well for anyone waiting for the kids to go on summer vacation or to get a break from work. We couldn’t push the date much further back anyway because it would clash with some other events, and we also couldn’t bring it too far forward, since we had a late start on this IJET with waiting to see what the situation was with Japan opening up again.

3) Will this be a hybrid event?

The event itself will not be hybrid. We feel that one of the primary benefits of IJET is the in-person networking. Online networking is easier these days with the various platforms available, but it’s just not the same, and trying to juggle both in-person and virtual events would put too much of a strain on our already hard-working committee.

We are planning to, as we have done in the past, record the sessions (with permission from each speaker) so that we can post the videos on the JAT website for later watching. This lets you view all the sessions even if you couldn’t make it to them all, you just have to be a JAT member.

4) How many tracks and speakers?

We’re aiming for four or five tracks with about 25 speakers, but we have the space to expand if this IJET grows beyond our initial expectations. We’re hoping to bring you a stellar line up covering a range of topics and specializations within the field.

5) Will there be a zenyasai and a banquet like previous years?

They’re in planning right now. The zenyasai and banquet are prime networking opportunities, so we absolutely wanted to include them. We will keep a close eye on COVID regulations and recommendations, but we’re optimistic we can hold them without any issue.

For those of you who don’t know, the zenyasai is a party for letting loose the Friday before sessions start. The banquet is a slightly more formal affair held the Saturday night, after the first day of sessions. Anyone who buys a ticket to IJET will be able to attend the banquet for no additional cost, but the zenyasai is an optional add on. Additional banquet tickets can also be purchased for friends, family, or anyone who might be interested in networking with us language professionals.

6) What would you say to people who are on the fence?

The committee realizes that some people may still be uneasy about COVID, so we’ve decided to extend our Early Bird Registration to closer to the event than past IJETs have done. We’re also extending the period in which you can receive a near full refund, so you can have peace of mind when booking a ticket.

If you’ve never been to an IJET and are wondering what all the fuss is about, here’s my personal take: it’s about connections. We work in a field that often keeps us separated from colleagues and potential clients, and this is our chance to change that. It’s an opportunity to learn from those more experienced than us, to form relationships that could bolster our careers, and to simply come together in the same room with people who share our passion. If your first IJET is anything like mine was, you’ll walk away with new connections that will last for years to come.

7) Any last comments?

I hope to see you in June! Also, give my committee members a pat on the back if you see them. There aren’t many of them, but they’re a dedicated bunch bringing a great mix of experience and passion to the team.