One of my original goals when I first decided to study a little harder and take my Japanese to the N1 level was to become a translator. I’m currently teaching English now, and I enjoy it, but translation has always seemed more fun for me because it is like a puzzle you have to solve. This is even more true for Japanese where some things are expressed completely differently than they are in English.
Over the last couple of months I’ve been doing translations here and there for a few people. Nothing really serious, I’m just getting my feet wet and seeing what it is like. It has given me a lot of good exposure to different kinds of writing and even bad Japanese writing. And overall, I’ve been liking it.
To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure if I want to be a translator. It is a little bit of a lonely job. It also involves a lot of computer work, which I like computers, but I also like seeing the sky and talking to real human beings. So far so good though with it.
I would be interested to hear from the JLPT Boot Camp community though. I’m sure there are more than a few translators out there. How is it? Do you like the day to day work?
In either case, doing some translation here and there can really help with comprehension because you have to look at it in a different way, and you also have a picky client there to criticize your interpretations of the writing.
Reading for Fun
Right after a test I always like to go back to just doing some reading for fun. Nothing too difficult, nothing deeply philosophical, just a good ol’ fashion story. I want something enjoyable that I want to know the ending to.
Also, no matter what level of the test you are taking, reading speed is constantly an issue. Even for the N1 level, which gives you almost 2 hours to answer all the questions for vocabulary, grammar, and the reading sections, it can be really difficult to just finish the test on time. Anything you can do to save some time is going to be a huge help.
I would say one of your biggest enemies for the test will be focus, and being used to reading can be a big help in this regard for all parts of the test. Even the grammar sections can be a little tricky for you to stay focused in. For the N1 level there are few grammar questions that have 2 or 3 sentences you have to look at.
Also, starting at about the N3 level, you can’t rely so heavily on the lists anymore. You should be using native materials on a regular basis because you will probably pick up a lot of good words that will show up on the test. A good strategy that has always worked for me is drill words so that they are in your head, but do some reading to truly understand how they are used.
I’ve recently been watching the jDrama Kazoku Game (家族ゲーム). It’s a story about an at home tutor that comes to help a boy go back to school after he had been bullied. Of course, it’s not as simple as that. The story has plenty of twists and secrets to it as well, like any jDrama. And, the ebook version is only Y340, so I thought I would give it a try.
Sorted by Kanji
Last month, I whipped up an N3 course that practices kanji in a slightly different way. Instead of just studying the kanji one by one. I grouped all the words for a particular kanji together and then sorted the kanji by theme. That way I can be learning vocabulary while learning kanji.
I’ve been trying it out over the last month, and I really like it. The best part of it is that it pairs a lot of similarly looking kanji compounds together that are easy to confuse like 状態(jyoutai) and 状況(jyoukyou). Practicing the two words together can be difficult and a little confusing but I think it makes those nuances very clear.
I’ve already started work on stage 2, and I hope to get it out soon. Definitely let me know what you think.
How was your Month?
Are you getting ready for the big December test this year? Taking it easy? Let me know in the comments.