How do I translate "販売、サービス 改善部 into English?
April 24, 2011 10:15 PM   Subscribe

How would you translate 販売、サービス改善部 (kaizenbu) into English?

I've been asked by my company to translate a diagram outlining the way their company is organized. and one of the departments is the "販売、サービス 改善部” (hanbaisaabisukaizenbu). I guess that would translate directly to sales, service process improvement department, or something like that but that seems really cumbersome. 改善 is the real problem, the other stuff is easy.

My company has about 300 employees, so I guess it qualifies as a medium sized company? I am hampered in all of this by my poor japanese ability, and by my general lack of knowledge in how companies are structured. Is something like a sales, service process improvement division a common thing in a medium sized company. If it is, does it go by a name something like that, or is there another way it might be referred to?

I suppose this is a fairly obscure question, but hopefully someone out there can help me out!
posted by farce majeure to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In the corporate environments I'm familiar with (mostly medium-sized to very large ones), "Kaizen" tends to be translated as "Process improvement" or "continuous improvement." This may be inaccurate for all I know; the context I've run into it in has always been very laden with tons of corporate jargon, by people for whom an accurate Japanese translation of a word is very low on the priority list. I should note that the contexts I've encountered it in treat it as a process/philosophy/strategy/system, and I don't think have a division of it per se, though there might be someone with a title like Director of Process Improvement.

The very short version though is that "Process Improvement" may be a somewhat odd name for a department to have in a US company, this may be a case where there really isn't an easy analog in common US corporate structures, and "Process improvement division" is as good as it's going to get.

Caveats: I am not a Japanese speaker at all, and I'm not as immersed in corporate structures as I could be.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:36 PM on April 24, 2011

I like "optimization" for kaizen.

Sales & Service Optimization Department.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 11:41 PM on April 24, 2011 [4 favorites]

I agree with Goose's translation. Yes, I'm a native Japanese speaker.
posted by xmts at 12:05 AM on April 25, 2011

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