>>2019.04.24: >>
 

TRANSLATION JOBS

Here's how I went about becoming a Japanese to English translator and getting my first translation jobs. First off there's a few things you need to know:

1. You don't need a university degree or to take any language tests to be a translator. The company you apply for work at will give you their own tests, if any. If you need a degree it's most likely for work VISA purposes (thus the government's requirement to get you a work VISA, not the company's actual general hiring policy) and stuff like that. If they want a language test it's actually only proof that you're at a good language level, which you're going to prove to them in your portfolio, translation test and cover letter etc anyway (see further below), and once you have work experience in general they'll just look at that instead.
 
PLEASE NOTE that even if you ARE getting a degree in Japanese, the European/American average is that a Bachelor's gets you to JLPT N4 or N3 level, and a Master's gets you to N3 or N2 level. This includes extremely "elite" British/American universities and so on. A Bachelor's in Sweden/Finland gets you to N2 because their school systems are different.
 
2. "Professional translator language level" is by no means as high as "native adult speaker level". In reality it's about the level of a native junior high schooler (C1 or JLPT N1 level), sometimes even a late elementary schooler (B2, JLPT N2) and extremely rarely you can even get jobs when you're below that (B1, JLPT N3). You can definitely get hired at B2/N2 level, it just depends on the company what they want, but generally speaking capital cities (Tokyo etc) want higher skills.
 
For example, I analyzed a manga series by VIZ and the English translator appeared to be at B2/N2 level based on where they left out details/sentences and changed/misunderstood grammar.

3. From what little I've seen, translation work is for some reason often counted as if each year is worth more than many other types of work. So basically 1-3 years of real translation work experience can at times be worth the same as 5-10 years in other fields when looking at job ads or even VISA requirements. The catch is, freelance work (unless you've created a company and no one knows you're the owner) might be counted as 0 years, and this includes when going to the unemployment office or getting work VISAs. 

So even if it's a really shitty job, in today's economy you probably want to get hired at a "real company" as fast as you can. You can still do freelance work (which is typically nicer and pays better) on the side of course. More on how to get either kind of work below.

4. Each company has their own "translation style" as well as formats for giving you the stuff that's to be translated. For example, in some companies the main translator doesn't translate sound effects and/or doesn't localize the text, in other companies one and the same translator does all that. In some companies you're "not supposed" to use slang, informal language or nonstandard spelling etc. to render stuff like dialects in the English translation because "some readers find it hard to read" or "we don't want to teach kids to spell that way", in other companies this is encouraged because "it gives the same feel as the original Japanese". And in some companies no one checks over your translation other than yourself, so even stuff like obvious typos in your English go uncaught.

No matter what level you're at, the company can give you "suggestions for improvements" and they kinda have the right to fire you if you don't listen to them, so do your best.

5. There's different types of translations, the main 3 being:

• Things where "as long as the info gets across, it doesn't matter how you word it". For example, paraphasing the important info from a nonfiction text for someone who's writing a historical novel, or translating Amazon product descriptions for someone who's selling the same items on Ebay.

• Things where "it doesn't matter if you reword it, it just has to sound nice in the end so it'll sell". This is usually fiction, manga etc.

• Things where "you have to word it exactly like how it is in the original, as closely as possible". This is stuff like medical texts and fiction from very fussy authors or mangaka who constantly reference lines from past and previous volumes of their manga etc.

Depending on your personality, it's easier to do one or the other. I for example actually have an easier time doing more or less direct translations because it means I don't have to think to reword everything, but some people are natural "localizers" and change the wording no matter how hard they're trying to stick to the original text. The genre matters too, because while you "can" translate slice-of-life manga meant for elementary school girls, if what you "actually" enjoy is sci-fi or hardcore porn you should try to get a job with that instead. You're gonna work faster, better and longer (both per day and at that company overall) if you enjoy it to the point where "work" doesn't feel like "work".

6. If you don't read and write fiction (of any kind - manga, novels, etc) and historical texts (pre-WWII era things, etc) then you won't be a good translator, although most translators aren't especially good anyway. Basically, good translators know at least a little bit about different writing styles (because you need to know a lot of varied ways to word a sentence in order to fit the original language's sentence structure or meaning better), slang, dialects, historical slang etc.

For example, a lot of people are under the very mistaken impression that like every sentence ever has to have clear pronouns inserted in English so they just "guess" and add in ones that were never mentioned when translating from Japanese, because they can't think enough to realize we don't actually need to word it that way in English:
 
"Did you do your homework yet?"
"Nooope"
"Why not?"
"Don't wanna"

Ends up in most translations as:

"Did you do your homework yet?"
"No didn't"
"Why didn't you?"
"Because don't want to do it/my homework"

I can't tell you how many times I've seen mistakes in manga that simply came from stuff like this. 30% of the time when the translator ends up inserting pronouns etc in needlessly, they end up picking the wrong one. As a real-life example from the manga "Golden Kamuy":

Original Japanese: So (you're) deserting, eh.
Official Translation: What, are you abandoning us?
 
Ignoring that they for some reason turned a statement into a question, the following lines and the character's personality in general (that we know more clearly in later volumes) make it obvious that he doesn't consider himself as part of their "group" in the first place (thus "us" doesn't make sense) and that he was actually talking about the other guy abandoning a search for gold etc. If they had just thought harder and realized they didn't need to insert the pronoun "us" in there, this mistake would've been avoided.
 
7. When hearing back from companies, big ones will take a lot longer and you can't really be sure if they ever even saw what you sent them. For example I sent my portfolio to VIZ (who supposedly hires ongoingly and clearly hires people with worse Japanese than me) at the same time as I sent an entirely different Email through another contact form asking VIZ if I could get official permission to use some manga panels for a research paper I was writing. I heard back about the permission after 1-2 days, but after 10 days still hadn't heard anything to do with my job request.
 
ONLINE JOBS

Currently (2019) every manga/anime translation company I looked at where you could work for them online and from abroad (VIZ, Crunchyroll, Fakku, Amimaru, Medibang, Yen Press, Curious Factory — some of them also accept Japanese to Russian/Chinese/French/Finnish etc translators, and accept cleaners as well as translators) that had any info up about the work at all, was set up as a part-time job that required you to do a minimum of 200 pages a month. If you live in California, Tokyo or select other places you can find translation jobs at physical locations, and I suppose those might be full-time jobs that pay more.

Salary varies by company, but supposedly ones like from the above companies all pay an average of $1-2.50 USD per page (most capping out at $2) and tend to give you 2 weeks to translate 200 pages. You don't get anything like royalties from each copy of your translation that sells, and you're not a "real" company employee (you're doing contract-based work) which means you can't ex. work at home for a couple years then transfer to the company branch in Japan.

A lot of people work at a part-time job like this at first, then after 2+ years (having built up their "work histories" and credibility) create their own manga translation company. Then when they hire other translators they run it in the same "contract-based part-time job" system as above and the cycle continues.

For example: 

When just starting out in early 2019, I was at a low C1/N1 level in understanding Japanese, and on average (depending on the chapter or manga) it took 10-30 minutes to translate 10 manga pages, then another 10-20 for the second draft. This was for adult-oriented manga (ex. "Golden Kamuy") without pronunciation help on kanji. Overall I averaged out to 30 min per 10 pages to get the finished product. When tired or sick I take 2-3x longer to translate. Generally speaking, a full-time job is considered to be 40 hrs/wk and part-time is 20.

If 10pgs (1st + 2nd draft) = 30min:

$1/pg, 20hr/wk: $1,600 USD per 4wks (=1 month)
$1/pg, 40hr: $3,200

$2/pg, 20hr: $3,200
$2/pg, 40hr: $6,400

If 10pgs = 60min:

$1/pg, 20hr/wk: $800
$1/pg, 40hr: $1,600

$2/pg, 20hr: $1,600
$2/pg, 40hr: $3,200

If you instead do things at the slowest pace and take a full 2 weeks for each 200 pages, you'll probably average out to around $500 to $1,250 USD per month. Also remember that the salaries are before taxes and bank fees

Think carefully about how many hours you can actually do in one day without burning out. 20hrs/wk is 3 hours a day if you include weekends; 40hrs/wk is 6 hours a day. Most freelance translators only work 3-4 hours a day (in order to not burn out), from what I've read. If I enjoy the manga, I can translate 4 hours a day without even feeling tired. If I don't enjoy the manga, I'm tired after 20 minutes.

JOBS IN JAPAN

There's plenty of JP-EN (and even for other languages, such as German, Chinese and Finnish) manga translation jobs in Japan, but you have to search for them in Japanese, already be in Japan, and go in person to the physical interviews. I searched for them anyway just to see what the requirements were like. In Japan, "translation" jobs are also called "localize" or "localization" jobs.
 
The average job in Japan is always full-time and at a physical office. On top of your salary, paying for your commute is normal. 50-60 minutes of break time is included in the total daily working hours, so "9 working hours" actually means 8 working hours + 1 break hour. Basic company parties/outings such as hanami are standard.
 
Tokyo:
 
(Manga / Videogame translation work)
English level: TOEIC 600-700 points or more (roughly equivalent to B2/N2 I assume)
Base salary: ¥1,300-2,240 (average: 1,800) and/or ¥10-20 per sentence. Some jobs pay you the "per sentence" salary on top of the base salary, but most only pay the base salary.
Daily work hours: 7.5-9 (average: 9). Average is 5 days a week, though some jobs have you work 6 days.
Overtime: 10-20hrs/month ("10 = almost no overtime!")
Experience: "Inexperienced Welcome!" is average, but within the "experience wanted" ads "1 year's worth of translation experience in the same field" wanted is normal.
Environment: Some workplaces have you basically working silently all day and have you wear formal clothing, others are into having you socialize and you're allowed to cosplay.

Tohoku:

(Office Mail / Customer Service translation work). You can see a job search here. Even if it says "factory work" what they generally mean is "translating office mail to/from overseas customers".
English level: TOEIC 600-700pts or more / "business or conversational level".
Base salary: ¥1300~2100.
Daily work hours: 8-9 hrs, 5 days a week.
Overtime: 0-10 per month.
Experience: "Inexperienced Welcome!" is average, but within the "experience wanted" ads they want Word and Excel skills.

TRANSLATION TESTS

Legally I'm not allowed to reveal exactly how the tests go, unfortunately. They're all different from company to company anyway. But basically you'll most likely be tested on how you translate and/or correct the pre-done translations of another person, in regards to punctuation, formatting, naturalness and general translation accuracy compared to the "manual of style" that particular company has. The punctuation or translation rules might be, instead of ones we normally use in English, "school-correct" rules that are actually unnatural to native speakers.

For example, the big manga companies like to enforce a rule where you have to end a sentence in a speech bubble with certain punctuation. If the Japanese sentence "I like cheese but not THIS cheese!" is split into two speech bubbles, depending on the company you have to write:

I like cheese. / But not THIS cheese!
I like cheese... / but not THIS cheese!

Not:

I like cheese, / but not THIS cheese!
I like cheese; / but not THIS cheese!
I like cheese / but not THIS cheese!

The same is true for actually translating Japanese; there may be rules where "if x situation occurs you must always translate it like y" even though that's not actually what the Japanese is saying, and even though it doesn't actually sound weird if you don't change it.

Since it's fiction, you'll likely also be asked to translate different Japanese speech styles (Old Man, Older Sister, Drunk Guy, Archaic Samurai etc) to English as a localization test.

So anyway, they'll test to see whether you can decently follow their rules or not and depending on the company, correct punctuation might be far more important than your actual translation accuracy! But don't worry about the tests. Most translators aren't that great.

 

CV / RESUME / PORTFOLIO
 
I assume this goes for all jobs, but it goes double for translation jobs. People do not want to see, and will not look at, your CV/resume or any kind of text description saying you "can" translate and what your qualifications are. You instead need to show concrete examples of different types of translations you can do.
 
Frankly it doesn't matter if your portfolio only has 3 short examples the first time you send it in somewhere, you should send it in anyway. I got a smaller company interested in me even when I only had 2 short story samples and 1 manga sample. When making my portfolio, throughout the week I just added one new sample each time I sent it off to a new company.
 
Just try to add a little bit to the portfolio every day, like "today I'll add a song sample" or "today I'll add a nonfiction sample". It's easiest if you do this stuff from things you just happen to find online anyway — like your friend links you to a news article or something you can translate a paragraph out of.
 
This sounds weird, but try doing it even with other jobs and see how it goes (it's my own personal theory). Applying for work as a cashier? Send in a "portfolio" that contains actual photos of you doing cashier work at previous jobs. Working as a coder? Have screenshots of your code and the finished projects. Humans are simple creatures, they skip over text but won't skip over a photo.
 
Don't worry about choosing stuff "especially to fit that company", instead you'll show them that you're well-rounded and can do different types of translations. If you've ever taken a language class and been forced to read a short story or something, that can be one of the short stories you have in your portfolio for example.
 
People are also generally impressed if you have a bilingual version of your CV / portfolio, or at least a copy in the other language on hand, and a lot of companies actually have staff that only really speak one of the two languages so it helps them out. But that doesn't necessarily help you get the job in any way in general of course.
 
I've never seen anyone else's translation portfolio but here's examples of what to put in based on what I've sent in, what I've seen on translation tests or what people wanted for translation jobs. You don't have to put ALL of these in!:

2 short story translation samples (1 pre-WWII story, 1 modern; 1-2 paragraphs each)
2 manga (1 adult-oriented, 1 kid-oriented; 2-4 pages each)
1 sample of the same 2-3 sentences rewritten in different speech styles ("archaic samurai speech", "okama speech", "boss speech" etc). Look up "役割語" or "Japanese role language" for examples.
1 sample list of SFX (オノマトペ) translations. Some companies don't mind if you just write ex. "surprise! blush!" but others want you to actually make up sound effects for everything, like in American comics ("kablam! fwoosh!").
2-3 samples of JP-EN-JP business Emails ("Sorry but this product is sold out" etc kinds of messages; like 3 sentences each)
Short product description translations (off Amazon or web shops etc)
 
If you're bold, you can take a manga / book the company has translate, search in it for mistakes and correct those mistakes.
 
Here's what I did for my first portfolio:
 

Japanese-English Translation Portfolio:
NAME (EMAIL)

This is a sample portfolio consisting of (# of translations) from (list the different types of translations).

Summary of NAME:

(native language, japanese-relevant education, estimated japanese level, time it takes to translate 20 pages of manga, "I'm fine with translating porn, GLBT etc etc stuff", short note on hobbies related to fiction. all this takes only one short paragraph.)

JP-EN: Short Stories

(i made a chart and put one sentence per row, doing 1-2 paragraphs of the text in total. all translations have a link to the source and all sources are available for free viewing online legally, so people can tell i'm not lying about the text / can go see the images associated with the manga)


JAPANESE STORY NAME: ENGLISH NAME 

JAPANSE AUTHOR NAME by TRANSLITERATED NAME
Source: (LINK TO SOURCE)

Japanese

Direct English

Polished English

ああああああ

aaaaaaa

aaaaaaa


JP-EN: Manga

(2-4 pages each from 2 adult manga that don't have pronunciation help on the letters. one was on twitter and one was just one i happen to read on my own that can be viewed for free at the official publisher's site. i didn't translate sound effects. "1.2" = "page 1 panel 2". don't put images into your portfolio, that's copyright infringement and the manga companies'll also worry that you'll spread scans of the confidential manga they give you to translate)

Page

Japanese

Direct English

Polished English

1.2

ああああああ

aaaaaaa

aaaaaaa


JP-EN: Nonfiction

(one piece of hard nonfiction describing technical stuff about pre-WWII weaponry that i just happened to be linked to by chance. by "hard" i mean there are words in here that native speakers don't know and that aren't in the dictionary, so you have to look them up online yourself. i took 3-4 impressive-seeming paragraphs from this, skipped the less impressive sentences from within that and showed 12 translated sentences. "para 17.1" ="paragraph 17 sentence 1")

Para

Japanese

Polished English

17.1

ああああああ

aaaaaaa


Because companies always want to know that you can actually communicate in Japanese and not just translate out of it, I put in English to Japanese sample translations as well.

EN-JP Sample Translations:

Samples of short (tweet-length) advertisement and customer service messages. I put the original English together with my translation. These advertisement messages were just written by a normal person selling stuff (not some huge corporation that uses really fancy talk).

EN-JP: Fiction Dialogue

Dialogue from the opening scene of a horse-riding MMORPG that had its scenes copied word-for-word on its official blog. Because it was meant for young girls, it wasn't exactly the hardest dialogue to do.

 
FINDING FREELANCE WORK
 
Currently (2019) your easiest and biggest bet is "fans of random stuff on Twitter and Tumblr that you yourself are interested in". Make fan accounts solely for the types of things you're going to translate, and reblog those things as well as post translations. For example, if you like GLBT manga, that's what your account's about and your translations will be in some way related to that (special edition author's comments, product announcements etc). If you like Old Norse mythology, then your account's going to be all about that instead. If you have no real special interests then I guess you should translate stuff relating to everyday life in a foreign country that speaks the language you're translating from, then "weeaboos" "ameriphiles" "nordic buffs" etc will flock to your account. In order to get followers just be your normal, approachable fan self, don't "follower-monger"!
 
The translations don't have to be long. They don't have to be polished. But you have to get them out there and get people viewing them. Sign up for a standard donation site (like on "ko-fi" - a lot of people don't want to use PayPal directly because they find it "confusing" to send money through it due to needing to pick an option for what kind of donation they're giving) and make sure your info blurb on your Twitter/Tumblr states that you accept translations commissions.
 
When you translate something, put your donation or commissions link at the top of the translation (like in the summary of what your translation is in the first place), because people don't read or notice it if it's at the bottom. In my case I also write how long the translation took me to do ("time spent: 20min + 10min rereading/proofreading" etc). For Twitter I use a site called "Privatter" which lets you post longer stuff that you then link to, and you can also view the hit counts on them and edit the posts later once you catch any mistakes.
 
If you see people on Twitter going "oh I wish I knew what this said!" just comment going "Hey I'm a translator, I can translate it (if you pay me ;D)" and see where it goes.
 
In getting donations or freelance work you can't predict who will like what or who has money to throw at you. Hit counts aren't everything either. As an example, out of around 200 views on one of my translations, I ended up getting 1 ko-fi donation of $3; on a totally different and much longer special-interest personal project that I figured almost no one was even reading, I got a donation of $21. What this means is, don't be shy about what you post, don't limit yourself in what you translate based on what you think "is popular", etc.
 
As a beginning freelancer I price my stuff based on a guess from the "industry standard" I've read elsewhere, and just adjust how I do things based on "hey, that was actually way more time-consuming than I thought" or if I magically start getting too many commissions to handle. I also take two major shortcuts to save time in the freelance ones whenever possible, which means: 1. I don't capitalize or write period marks in the translation, 2. I abbreviate character names or copy-paste in character names when marking who's saying what, 3. I write the translation into a copy-paste template that looks like this ("1" means "panel 1", etc):

pg1
1 (character name goes here):

3 ...
 
pg2
1
2 ...
 
Generally speaking, people contacting you for translations on Twitter etc. usually only want a few pages, so I price by the page type:

$0: Almost no text on the page (like 10 words or less kind of thing)
$1: Less than 1/3rd of the page is text (if you mentally rearrange all the speech bubbles)
$2: 1/3rd or more of the page is text
 
For 20+ manga pages, or novels etc., I currently price $15 an hour. I use an OCR tool on novels, fix up the text then put it into OmegaT (free software for translators), which can save a glossary and suggest similar lines that you previously translated etc and makes the work go faster overall.
 
Remember that the average Twitter/Tumblr/Facebook etc person thinks it's amazing you can speak this language at all and they'll accept your translation even if it's kinda weird, slightly wrong or even slightly incomplete. The average reader is never going to read or compare the Japanese original, and that's why most translators are actually skilled in "localizing" and "glossing over stuff they didn't understand" instead of translating. Of course, do your best to look everything up and even ask someone else for help when you don't know something, but in general one of the nicest things about freelance work is that individual people are more forgiving and grateful than companies are. Also be honest and note when you think a line is iffy or when you couldn't find something out, people always really appreciate honesty.
 
There's also freelance sites out there where you can sign up and apply to random translation work submitted by individuals, but so far I've never found a single one worth using. The jobs are few, probably not geared towards your specialty, and both the sites and people putting up the job ads  do their best to scam you out of your money (for example "only the first 2 people who attempt to translate this might get paid — as a site rule. And the pay is below minimum wage". Or "I didn't pay you because Google Translate didn't agree with your translation." Considering Google translates "loincloth" to "hiphop", you don't want to have to deal with that).
 
So I believe freelance sites are useless, but what they ARE good for is seeing what kinds of translations people want, so you can go create samples of the same exact type of thing to put in your portfolio.
 
If you want to translate fiction, other than finding out of copyright stuff on sites like Aozora Bunko, if you can translate INTO Japanese (or have Japanese friends who write), you should join a bunch of sites like Pixiv, PillowFort, LiveJournal, DreamWidth, the NaNoWriMo forums, etc, anywhere that indie authors hang out, join their communities and then just start asking people if you can translate their stuff for self-publishing on sites like Smashwords and Lulu (book publishing is free there). Write up a contract ("I allow x to translate my book which is titled y" etc) and get the author to sign it. Translate and publish the book, and then suddenly you have a "real, published book" among your list of translations.
 
Remember, books don't have to be long! If your friends write fanfic, any AU stories can normally easily be turned into original stories, and you can translate those. You can even translate and publish people's school essays. Publishing these shouldn't be done for the money (basically, don't expect any) but they're there to fluff up your work history.
 
FINDING "REAL" JOBS
 

Stuff I wish I knew before I started trying to find work:

1. This goes for all types of work, not just translation work. If the company brags a ton about how great they are or how great it is to work for them in their job ads, if they repeatedly mess up your name or country of origin etc, if they place a huge emphasis on "status", if they always insist on stuff like planning out or talking about your work schedule in spoken form and not in written (remember: written = can be used as proof against them in court!), they're most likely a total shit company and it's going to be hell working for them. The kind of company that tries to cheat you out of your salary and doesn't listen to a single thing you say ever even when it'd greatly benefit the company to follow your advice. You can still work there of course, but it took me a few times of getting interviews from and/or hired by unbelievably shitty, scammy places (and consequentially being treated like a subhuman slave in more ways than one) until I caught the pattern myself.

I've worked in places where clouds of flies lived on the coffee machine, the paper-binding machines smoked every time you used them, we worked with piles of trash and spilled coffee no one ever cleaned up under our feet, none of my coworkers could speak even basic English or Swedish so we mostly communicated with vague hand gestures, and everything to do with the work hours and salary was a big lie and 10 years outdated on the company's website so in the end I made so little money it literally cost me money to do the job because it didn't cover bus fare + lunch. 
 
At another job in another country we were given "performance reviews" every 2 days by 2 different bosses with pages of "performance complaints" about stuff they'd never taught us how to do in the first place, again everything on their website, in the job ad and during the interview was essentially a big lie (the photos of "the daily workplace" were actually from a special summer-only activity held once a year, etc), and the company dorms were full of cockroaches, spiders and bedbugs on top of the washing machines and ovens being broken, which says enough about how they treated their employees. I've had people essentially pay me $2 USD for 20 hours' worth of work, forced me to dress up in costume for company events and then never paid me the bonuses they promised that were supposed to cover the costume costs, etc. And all because I had no work experience and thus couldn't get any "better job".
 
Hopefully your time isn't anywhere near that bad. But if you see anything weird, any bad comments online etc. about that company at all, expect that they're correct and expect the worst when you apply. Never expect that it's just "one random angry crazy person" who said that.
 
2. If you can manage to work at a company for a full year or two before quitting, it really puffs up your work history and makes it "easy" to find much better jobs afterwards. Anything less than a full year is often considered worthless, so do your best to stay put for a year and you'll really help yourself out in the long run. Or so I hope.
 
3. In my experience it doesn't matter how much your life sucks, it doesn't matter if you're disabled, dirt-poor, living in an abusive household and about to get evicted if you can't get work. No one will hire you "out of pity" unless it's individual people for freelance work on Twitter/Tumblr etc. Basically when you apply for work, write cover letters and have job interviews and stuff, don't complain about anything ever no matter how small (people hate "negative people"), never let on that you're a student, have plans to keep going to university in the future, or that you're applying for multiple jobs at the same time as this one. Never let on that you're desperate for work in any way.
 
Never act upset if they insult you (Tokyo secretaries sighing in frustration when I make a grammar mistake in Japanese in my phone interview for example) or when they reject you on the spot (saying something like "Well, you would need... training" on a job ad that explicitly said "inexperienced people welcome"). Once someone basically replied to my job application with an emoticon of a middle finger. 
 
To all these kinds of shit just smile and say "I understand. Well, thank you for your time anyway" and move on (and in Email contact, just don't reply at all). These kinds of places would kill your soul within weeks of getting hired there anyway. If you really wanna work there, in a few months or years they won't remember you and you can try again.
 
4. People say to ask "When will I hear back from you?" but in my case this can actually backfire because they think you're being pushy. Basically if they want you they'll get back to you in 4 days or less, or they'll tell you right at the end of the interview that you're accepted to the next round of interviews etc.
 
5. People say to ask "questions relevant to the job, to make it seem like you're interested". Frankly, you're not going to know the right questions unless you've worked at a similar job at a similar company before. The same job at a different company can be vastly different.
 
6. You seeming comfortable with the interview and happy about the work is the most important thing to the interviewer. For me, no matter how much I "want" to do the job I'm only comfortable when I know for a fact I can already do it (which means "manga translation", not "medical translation" or "hotel receptionist" etc). For some people this even means showing up to an interview in jeans and a T-shirt instead of "uncomfortable formal clothes".
 
And yes, this is true even in countries like Japan, where my Japanese friend got an office job mostly on the basis of that she had a certificate in making soba and the boss liked talking about soba, or in Sweden, where a guy got a job by outright stating to the interviewer that he was a furry.
 
Tips for translation jobs:
 
1. Put your portfolio together. I put my first one together in an hour and just sent it off. Don't worry about cover letters one bit, because your portfolio speaks a billion times better than your cover letter and most bosses/agents don't read cover letters anyway (just as they don't read CVs/resumes). I once spent 2-3 months applying to over 200 random jobs in any field I thought I could possibly do, and almost every single time I got anything back or had an interview, it was clear the person had either just barely skimmed my resume or hadn't read it at all, even at tiny companies with only like 5 employees. Nowadays I just write a 2-sentence Email like this:

Title: (TYPE OF WORK) Jobs?
Body: Hi, I don't know if you're (still) hiring or not but if so I'm interested in being a (TYPE OF WORK)! Attached is a sample portfolio.
Thank you for your time,
NAME
 
When a cover letter's absolutely necessary, I write an extremely short paragraph of random shit like how I found their company or something, then end it with something like "For details about me related to the job, such as sample translations and how fast I translate, see the portfolio I've sent along with this cover letter."
 
2. Send it off to every company you can find (VIZ, Crunchyroll, Fakku, Amimaru, Medibang) even if they don't state that they're hiring. If they specifically state that they're "not hiring", don't send it of course.
 
3. If you hear anything back, they'll probably ask for you to take a translation test and give you a template or something with "their translation style" to follow. Just do your best.