Baylee Williams: Impact Hub Kyoto

My Community Involvement Project was interning at Impact Hub Kyoto. Throughout my time there, I translated a variety of documents including blogs, flyers, and instructions. Before going to Impact Hub Kyoto, my dream was to become a Japanese to English translator; however, translating at Impact Hub Kyoto helped to change my mind. Sitting for hours on end staring at a computer screen and constantly googling words, phrases, and grammar structures that I did not understand became quite exhausting. Even though Jim, one of my fellow students, cracked jokes to help alleviate our frustration and worked with me on the translations, I still found myself bored and aggravated most of the time I was there. When the two of us were translating one of the more difficult blogs, it occurred to me that I do not want to be trapped working in a job like this for the rest of my life. I want my life to consist of more than pouring over paperwork at a desk, especially paperwork that does not inspire me. This, however, is not to say that I hated translating at Impact Hub Kyoto. On the contrary, I found it to be a very useful experience. Translating at Impact Hub Kyoto has given me guidance for my future by helping to narrow down my search for future career possibilities. Moreover, I appreciated the experience of translating; it gave me valuable insight into how the Japanese language functions and some of the many similarities and differences between English and Japanese. Impact Hub Kyoto was more than just an opportunity to translate though.
Through Impact Hub Kyoto, I learned more about how Japan functions as a society. I witnessed the exchange of give-and-take firsthand. Whenever one of the members of Impact Hub Kyoto was ever given anything, or even if they only went to buy some food at the local convenience store, they always shared some of what they had. I feel like this mirrors how people in Japanese society often buy souvenirs for friends, family members, and coworkers whenever they go traveling. Soon Jim and I found ourselves doing the same thing. If we went to buy some strawberries, then we would buy some for them too. This somewhat elaborate system continues to fascinate me as I become further entangled in it. It has also affected my mindset regarding buying souvenirs for friends and family members back in the United States. I have noticed myself constantly wondering if I should buy a souvenir for this person or that person, even if I do not know them very well. I wonder if this will also continue to affect my habits even after I return to the United States.
Overall, I am grateful for the opportunity to intern at Impact Hub Kyoto, because it allowed me to experience a different aspect of Japanese society that I otherwise would not have been able to experience. It has helped to change my life goals for the better, and now I understand more of what I want from a job in the future.

3 thoughts on “Baylee Williams: Impact Hub Kyoto

  1. It really sucks to come in aspiring to do a job only to realize you hate it. But, I feel you did learn something valuable and now know what you don’t want to do. And with all that translation practice, no wonder you are so 上手. 🙂

  2. It sounds like even though you had some tough times, at least there was a lot for you to learn from.
    Translation is difficult, and I can see why working on translation of paperwork and flyers might not be very exciting. I’ve been working on translations as my individual project for Japanese so I know how frustrating it can be. Still I think there are things you can learn as a translator that you’d never realize otherwise.
    Even if you discard translation as a career choice, do you think you can see yourself doing it on the side for things that you enjoy more, as opposed to flyers and paperwork you have no interest in?

  3. I think it was a valuable experience too; it’s nice to know more about my goals in life. Hopefully my Japanese will continue to improve, but I have still got a long way to go.
    I definitely agree that you can learn things while translating that you can’t do elsewhere; it really gives you perspective into how Japanese and English almost “work together” in a way. To some extent, I do think it also helps your language skills as well, and yes, I could definitely still see myself translating things I enjoy; I have already bought some books and plan on translating them when I get back to the United States.