Japan: Spread the message, translate it

A video interview [en] of Kyo Kageura, head of the project Minna no Honyaku (みんなの翻訳, Translation for all) [ja], a new translation platform that helps NGOs and NPOs to spread their messages thanks to volunteer translators.

Global Voices Japan asked him about the challenge of Minna no Honyaku [en], the difficulties and the new frontiers of volunteer translation.

The project Minna no Honyaku or Translation for all is the brainchild of Language Translation Group of the National Institute of Information and Communication Technology and Library and Information Science Laboratory of the University of Tokyo, in cooperation with publishing company Sanseido.

Thought as a part of the Shiitake Project, the realization of a platform to stimulate the growth of online translation has a precise purpose:

This system will ultimately enable individual translators to form a network, without any additional or conscious effort, in which translators working on similar or related domains can collectively accumulate translation data and share information relevant to their translations. This, we believe, will enhance the activity of translators and encourage potential translators to join in. As such, the Shiitake project is ultimately a social project.

Lastly, with the aim to make translation an easy process also to inexperienced translators, Professor Kageura's team created Minna no Honyaku, convinced that:

The translation of news and reports by volunteers plays a vital role in this alternative information flow.


  • Matt

    every heard of http://translate.google.com ?

    free english to japanese and japanese to english translation. Get long texts checked with a once over by a native speaker and you’re all done. In a minute. Quicker. And easier. And cheaper (if time is money)

    I’m surprised you didn’t think of it already

    • Bilbo


      Have you ever tried using google translate for Japanese!?? It’s garbage. Just as an example I took your comment, put it through the translator into Japanese, and then back again into English.

      Free English Japanese Translation from Japanese into English. Long text to get the check you’re all done by native speakers at least once. Just a few minutes. Fast. And easier. The low price (the money if you have time)

      I’m surprised you did not already thought

      • That’s a convincing way to argue against Google Translation for Japanese, Bilbo. Good one!

        Matt, it takes the same if not more time to translate from English to Japanese as to “check over” something that’s been machine translated. It’s just the way the language are structured. I look forward to (and am hopeful of!) technical improvement, of course.

  • Jim

    Why should the translators volunteer?

    • Because they enjoy what they do and want to help others, to gain experience and help develop their skills, to enjoy a new challenge, to be part of a meaningful project?

      Money, sex and power aren’t the only things that motivate people.

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