Finally Polyglot Industry is Happening in Japan

There were many events about multilingual and translation in the end of the month and Tokyo.

(I wanted to write this blog post because I wanted to try out YarakuZen service. This blog post may be hard to read. Sorry if you feel so in advanced 🙂 )

On 10/29 (Thu) I decided to re-schedule and went to Tokyo early because I heard about the meet-up event about multilingual industry at HiveShibuya.


Polyglots Doorkeeper


Three Talks that You Should Not Have Missed If You Are Interested in Multilingual Industry

If you want to know the detail summary of each talks, you should visit Ms. Naoko Takano’s blog post.

First, Mr. Kezuka from SiteEngine, Inc. gave the talk about the basics of making multilingual site.


Last year, I also lectured about the basics of making multilingual site, but it was meant for web designers. However, this slides was more for the marketing people in general. It was easy to understand.

失敗しない多言語サイトのはじめかた from サイトエンジン株式会社


Next, Mr. Yamada of Conyac introduced their service. Cloud translation services is already popular among this industry. So I skip the detail. But, they started the service called Conyac Market where registered translators can do various requests which include market research. This caught my eyes.

After the talk, I’ve asked a question how they were trying to take care of standardize the terms and writing styles. They replied that they do assign an project manager to their corporate account.


I immediately thought that Conyac Market has its potential! When I was working for a multilingual web site as a content director, I needed to do a research if the content was suitable for each targeted countries. As that time, I’ve asked our own contracted translators for their opinions for a dozens of questions. I wish this service existed at that time.

This is a big deal that Conyac Market can provide the global market research function. Not only multilingual website, but also for product and services itself, It’s very important to be conduct international market research to understand the trends. A on-site field survey requires time and a labor. This kind of cloud service would make researchers’ lives much easier and happier. However, the one concern is how talented each contractors at Conyac are. You must be careful if the contructors really know and understand the product and services. Even if you were able to gather the people that is suitable for the survey, you must check if you are asking the right questions. These skills, to choose the right people and ask the right questions, require experience. But the benefit of cloud service is that you can start from small scale and payment. I recommend to spend a few hundreds to thousand dollars just as a practices, then get used to the system and start making the result. It would be much cheaper than spending thousands dollars to visit the local market for a few days or spending tens of thousands of dollars to the marketing company.


Next session, Mr. Miyoshi, who is the author of Contact Form 7, the most used WordPress plug-ins in the world, talked about how WordPress site build multilingual site and the problem of each multilingual plug-ins.


Miyoshi-san is also developing one of the WordPress multilingual plug-in, called Bogo.

I like to use multisite for making WordPress multilingual. But Miyosi-san likes to make one WordPress site multilingual. There is no absolute right answer. It’s also depends on who is going to enter the original text and translated text.

(when I come to think of it, concrete5 has the best multilingual capability by default 🙂

Anyway, Miyoshi-san and I will be arguing whether single WordPress is the best or multisite :). But most of all, he made a big announcement.

He developed a plug-ins to integrate with WordPress + Bogo with the translation assisting service, YarakuZen.


Moreover, I was very impressed with YarakuZen The last talk was an introduction of YarakuZen by Sakanishi-san from Yaraku, Inc.

Although YarakuZen is not yet ready for freelance translator and translation companies, if you own a multilingual blog or manage company multilingual assets, I high recommend you to try it out for free.


YarakuZen is the machine + AI + cloud translation service.

If you upload the original text, YarakuZen, then, automatically divide into each sentences, then gives you the example of machine translations.


If you don’t like any of those machine translations, you can correct it. Then those correction will be memorized within your account. If you have the exact same sentence next time, it will bring up your preferred result.

So, if you translates more, the machine translation will learn about the company, product, and service.

And if you don’t like the machine translation at all, you can order a professional translation with a single click.

The one of disadvantage of cloud translation is that the translator won’t be able to check the overall picture of the context.

If you order one page or one paragraph translation, a translator must translate the short text without knowing overall story.. No one will be able to provide high quality translation.

On the other hand, YarakuZen will provide the entire text data to the translators even if you only order a translation for a part of the text, according to Sakashita-san.

When I have a chance, I will give a try for their professional translation service.


Actually, I’ve translated this blog post from Japanese to English using YarakuZen.

When I started writing the blog in English and Japanese, I’ve been very lazy to write in the both languages. But this nice interface would speed up the translation for sure.

I’m afraid but the machine translation was not useful at all at the moment. I needed to rewrite everything :p

I’m not WordPress + Bogo user, so I won’t be able to use the service directly. So, I manually copied and pasted the text onto the YarakuZen and translated.

The key elements of this service are its user interface and experience for translation. The most impressive function was “difference” function. When I changed the original text and press submit button, it would automatically highlight the where it has changed and became red.


Some Issues among Translation Industry in Japan

The talks was very impressive. The after-party was awesome.

I found out that there were many people at the event from all kinds from webmasters, software engineer and freelance translators.

When alcohol kicks-in, Japanese people opens up more. We all started complain that the translation technology is yet immature. Worst of all, the people who are more likely to attend this kind of event are shy or hesitant to speak out because they thing. It’s partially because Japanese people are shy, but also they don’t understand the technology itself. The translation services would needs to find out the demands of the users at the unconscious level, and feedback the result.

I have all respect to those service provider at today’s event. But I would like to mention a bit because I would like them to improve this already awesome services.

For example, the problem of Conyac and other cloud translation services is quality control. Coyanc said they start assigning the project manager for its corporate accounts. First of all, it was only for corporate account. Then I wonder if the project manager will be able to handle and keep the quality and volume without meeting with the client many time. At this point, cloud translation service can save you money. But you will need to do more stuff by yourself. Therefore, the cost between cloud and regular translation service would be equal. The choices between cloud or regular translation services would depends on whether you prefer to have meeting in person, or you need to get the job done quickly.

And YarakuZen is not yet recommend to the translation company or freelance translator. it’s because the translated text will be saved onto the account’s database of YarakuZen.

I believe that YarakuZen itself has robust security. But the problem comes to a freelance translator who works for various companies under NDA. Proper name will be able to check by human easily. But it would be difficult to switch the style of translation by clients under the same account.

Perhaps, I can suggest “mode” “style” and “client” functions. “Mode” indicates the type of document, such as press release, news or blog post. “Style” indicates whether it’s written in polite, casual or spoken words. And “Client” will store all of proper nouns for the particular companies and client, so that it will be able to differentiate different situations.

According to Nishikawa-san, the organizer of the event, he wants to do the next meet-up in Fukuoka. I would like to ask you for the next very much in Nagoya.


The Best Practices of Making WordPress Site Multilingual at WordCamp Tokyo 2015

On 10/31 (Sat.), I attended WordCamp Tokyo 2015 at Belle Salle Kanda to give a speech about how to make the best multilingual WordPress site.

The room was almost packed!

The presentation itself was almost the same as WordCamp Kansai 2015. But since I’m talking about multilingual WordPress, I decided to make the slide in English with Japanese subtitle.

The Best Practices of Making WordPress Site Multilingual from Katz Ueno

I regret that the Japanese subtitle was a bit small so that the people in the back must have hard time reading it. I am sorry.


I am very happy with this Tokyo rip. I was able to meet many new people and saw new business potential.