Swet Columns

Six Simple Rules for No-Fail Texts and Signage

Wordsmiths in Japan are often concerned when the English texts they produce are ready for layout and design and want to explain to their clients the pitfalls involved. To support efforts to educate clients tackling English-language layout and design, SWET has prepared this article in conjunction with a Japanese-language companion article. These articles explain six best-practice rules for formatting English... more

The History of SWET

The late 1970s were years of growth and ferment in English-language book and periodical publishing in Japan. Book publishers Charles E. Tuttle, Inc., John Weatherhill, Kodansha International, and the University of Tokyo Press released dozens of new volumes in English annually. Japan Echo, the Japan Interpreter, and Japan Quarterly published high-quality Japanese journalism and writing in English translation. Four daily... more

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

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

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

Word Wise: Keeping Active

By Richard Medhurst

It is time to take the initiative again and consider various ways of translating Japanese words. This column is on the pairing of 積極的 and 消極的, looking particularly at the former, which is commonly encountered. One way to think about how to translate 積極的 is to roughly divide usage into three categories. The first is how a... more