IJET-31 (June 24-25, 2023)
The issue of visibility from the perspective of a journalator
In English-language journalism, Japanese reporters and Japanese-speaking foreign reporters need to translate a lot from Japanese to English as part their reporting. These reporters are sometimes called journalators, i.e., journalists who translate. The speaker has worked as a journalator at several English-language media outlets in Tokyo for over a decade and converts everything from news articles to government releases into English to contribute to Western correspondents’ coverage of Japan.
Unlike business translators who normally remain invisible, journalators receive high visibility and get credit for their work by having their names appear in a byline or a credit line as a contributor to news reporting. This is a standard practice among American print media organizations, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Automotive News with which the speaker is affiliated.
This custom attests to the fact that journalators are professionally responsible for ensuring factual accuracy, meaning they are held accountable for factual errors, if any, in their published stories. In other words, high visibility goes hand in hand with accountability and scrutiny, as is often the case with visible literature translators. The speaker thinks that having one’s contribution, including through translation, acknowledged is important as a moral booster for professionals, be it jounalators or translators.
In this presentation, the speaker will discuss some of his experiences, delve into the issue of visibility from the perspective of one journalator, and examine some similarities and differences between these two somewhat overlapping fields of writing—journalism and translation.