How Much Do Japanese Translators Earn?

The past few decades have seen a great rush of cultural exchange between Japan and the United States. The United States audience has become more interested in foreign language media than ever, and the Japanese cultural export is no exception. let us know about that the How Much Do Japanese Translators Earn?

How Much Do Japanese Translators Earn?

In the ethos of the rising demand for Japanese media in the United States, the jobs of Japanese translators have become far more lucrative than they used to be in the past. Japanese has acquired a mainstream appeal and relevance. With an expanding market, the average salary of Japanese translators in the United States as of 2022 is $46,000. 

This article expands on the market value and monetary worth of Japanese translators in the United States as it presently stands.

Why are Japanese translators highly sought after in the US? 

In the past decade, the United States has seen a rise in the audience for foreign media, particularly non-English. One of the foremost in this demand is Japanese media. The share of foreign language media in the US has increased from an 8.1% in the March 2019 to 12.7% in February 2022. It includes the demand for Japanese media, which has expanded significantly from just animes to live-action, variety shows and reality TV. As a result, the requirement for Japanese translators has also grown notably in the US. That is credible to the booming popularity of animes that have furthered the Japanese interest and paved the way for  Japanese Reality TV, Live Actions, Variety Shows, music, and many more. 

Further, Japan and the US share major trade deals which require Japanese translators. The US and Japan Trade Agreement (USJTA) became effective as of 2020, with Japan agreeing to provide the US with significant market access by phasing out tariffs, lowering taxes and allowing specific quantities of imports at lower duty. As a result, Japanese translators ranging from expertise in entertainment to politics are in high demand.

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How rewarding is it to be a Japanese translator?

Japanese to English translations in the US are highly lucrative because English is a lingua franca and a bridge language. As a result, many academics and Japanese speakers shift from academics to translations because of how lucrative it can be. However, how rewarding translation might be to an individual translator depends on various factors such as whether they work freelance or in-house and of course, their translating skills.

While many translators might wish to translate media such as manga or anime, it is wise to remember that most Japanese to English translation work comprises technical translations. Rarely does a translator, especially a beginner, merely depend on translating literature as a means of living. Despite these details, the average salary for a Japanese translator in the US is around $47,000 per annum. For beginners, it is an average of $22,000 per annum, while veteran and experienced translators can earn up to $80,000 per year.

60% of Japanese translators in the US earn about $44,000 per year, while the top 80% earn around $78,000 per year. 

However, remember that these figures are not absolute. In fact, according to personal anecdotes and forum sources, freelance translators can often make up to $60,000 per year from working 5 to 15 hours a week. Your income, ultimately, depends on your skill and the efficiency of your translations.

What qualifications do I need to be a Japanese translator?

1. Needless to say, one of the first and foremost qualifications required to become a Japanese translator is knowledge of the Japanese language and the ability to understand, speak and write with impeccable grammar and vocabulary.

2. Furthermore, one needs to know Japanese culture, literature and ethos to appraise and contextualize translations and correctly translate and interpret nuances. It is consequential to be capable of making informed decisions about when it is more important to interpret something strictly textually or to take liberties to convey nuanced cultural contexts and meaning in a localized format.

3. Apart from organic knowledge of the language and culture, it is helpful to have certifications to build a trustworthy resume which might help indicate your proficiency and skills in translation to hirers, companies and projects that you might be interested in translating. 

4. This includes the Japanese Language Proficiency test or JLPT1 that will prove your Japanese fluency and proficiency. But a JLPT will not vouch for your translation and interpretation skills. For that, a Master’s degree in Translation Studies, specifically Japanese Translation Studies, will be helpful in not only honing your skills but also indicating your talent to recruiters and hirers. It will also help establish your worth as a translator. 

5. You can follow up a Master’s degree with a PhD and other certificate courses to increase your skills and knowledge and build your resume.

6. However, it is critical to remember that this is not a compulsory requirement. Not having the resources to access these will not impede your career. Participating in Japanese translation programs can immensely supplement your resume and skills.


While it might be intimidating to dip your toes into the world of the Japanese translation, the current market and demands indicate its high profitability, which makes it a worthy venture to undertake as a solid and exciting career. With the current availability of cross-cultural career options with language as a focus, the job of a Japanese translator is more relevant than ever.

Frequently asked questions

1. Is translating from Japanese to English hard?

The difficulty of anything depends on your skills and interests. Translating might seem intimidating to any beginner, but remember that skills come with practice and experience. Using web resources and enrolling in academic courses while trying freelance translation can help break the ice.

2. Where can I get a graduate degree in Japanese Translation Studies?

Many universities offer Japanese because of the great relevance of the language in our present day. Some notable ones would be Kent State University, Monterey Institute of International Studies and Babel University.

3. Where can I participate in Japanese translations?

American Translation Association and British Centre for Literary Translations are two notable places to practice and participate in Japanese translations.

How Much Do Japanese Translators Earn?

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