Casual English to Japanese translation with quick turnaround?
May 31, 2018 12:27 PM   Subscribe

I'm sending a letter to Japan on Friday around 3PM (EDT). It'll likely be fewer than 250 words of English, and I'd like to get it translated into Japanese. However, I won't be able to finish the letter until later tonight (around 4 to 5 hours after the time of posting). Are there any services/translators out there that can finish a translation within this time frame? At the very latest I'd need to send the letter by noon (EDT) Saturday.

I know about Gengo, which I'll likely use if I can't find another solution, but it's a little costly and I'm not necessarily looking for a professional-level service. If context helps: it's a fan letter to a stageplay actor I like, so the letter contents are far from ambitious and I would be very OK with a rougher translation.

I'm happy to pay with real money (or, if someone's into bartering creative skills, art).

Thank you so much for your recommendations!
posted by brieche to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Gengo seems to charge $0.06/word for their "basic" quality, which is extremely cheap and would be $15 for a 250-word letter. (I didn't check whether charges for translation into Japanese would be higher). I doubt you could get it any cheaper from an actual sentient human being - machine translation would be your best option if you can't call in a favour from somewhere or spring for a few dollars.

(I translate for a living and this kind of little job is the type of thing I might do for a friend/fellow Mefite for free or in exchange for a beer - but I don't do Japanese, sadly)
posted by altolinguistic at 2:17 PM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Should add that 250 words is less than an hour's work for most translators, so a big agency should be able to turn it around in that time. But they might sting you with an urgency surcharge.

Thinking laterally - are you in any groups (Facebook or similar) relating to this interest? Perhaps ask around and see if anyone has any Japanese contacts who might be willing to help you out?
posted by altolinguistic at 2:27 PM on May 31, 2018

Best answer: If the translator doesn't have to be a native speaker of Japanese, MeMail me. Otherwise, as said above, your best bet will be an individual translator found more informally; agencies will be more expensive than Gengo for sure. There might also be services where people do this kind of thing as part of their language practice (doesn't Duolingo have something like that?) but I don't have the details at my fingertips, sorry...
posted by huimangm at 2:43 PM on May 31, 2018

Best answer: (Gengo charges $0.08/word for EN-JA - still very cheap and there's no minimum fee.)
posted by altolinguistic at 3:17 PM on May 31, 2018

Response by poster: altolinguistic: thank you for providing the context for how translation services work! This is exactly the kind of information I didn't know I needed to know. I see Gengo with new eyes now, and it's looking Gen-good.

huimangm: I've just memailed you!

Thank you both!
posted by brieche at 6:11 PM on May 31, 2018

Best answer: For future reference, this site has a quick turnaround:
posted by LoonyLovegood at 11:47 PM on May 31, 2018

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