Swet Columns

Latest SWET Financial Report (and earlier)

Financial Report for 2020

Like everyone and everything in the world, SWET was affected by Covid-19 throughout 2020. Financially, the move to online meetings translated into reduced spending on venues (although we did manage to hold two face-to-face Tokyo meetings before the state of emergency kicked in) and increased spending on software subscriptions and other online-related items. The pandemic has also halted SWET... more

Modern Colloquialisms Japanese-English

Nichibei kogo jiten, ketteiban/Modern Colloquialisms Japanese-English. Third Edition, 1,308 pages, Asahi Press, 2021. ISBN 978-4-255-01214-8 C0582.

Among the tools available to translators, writers, and students of English and Japanese of all sorts, Modern Colloquialisms (MC) has been a standard for more than 40 years. It was published in 1977 under the supervision of scholar and translator Edward G.... more


A Chanoyu Vocabulary: Practical Terms for the Way of Tea Paperback, A5 size, 280 pages. Kyoto: Tankōsha, 2007. ISBN9784473033987

This gem of a dictionary has been around for well over a decade. Currently in its third printing, it remains the one and only comprehensive chanoyu dictionary available, providing concise and accurate “to the T” (pun intended) English definitions of 1,642 terms... more

EVENT REPORT: SWET Zoom Workshops Experiment 2020

By Richard Medhurst

Talking to other translators and wordsmiths at events and workshops inspires new discoveries and ways of thinking about what we do, as well as providing the chance to get to know people in the business. We used to do this in person until the pandemic made real-world meetings impossible, and led us to reconsider online spaces. One benefit of... more


Japanese Wood and Carpentry: Rustic and Refined. By Mechtild Mertz. Otsu, Shiga Prefecture: Kaiseisha Press, 2020. ¥4,800.

By Judith Clancy

Japan’s remarkable history of wooden structures ranges from massive temples to delicate cabinetry. All their parts, from supporting pillars to decorative tokonoma posts are made from carefully selected wood species. Translators and editors frequently encounter the diverse terminology... more

Word Wise: Getting It Out There

By Richard Medhurst

The Internet has made it possible to send whatever we want around the world with the stroke of a key, but what do we hope to achieve by doing so? Some basic uses for the Japanese word 発信 are to do with transmitting or sending various kinds of messages, such as an SOS when in danger. When translating... more