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Many local gov'ts short on volunteer interpreters in emergencies

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Many of Japan's local governments are concerned about a shortage of volunteer interpreters and translators to support foreign residents and tourists during times of disaster

Well they collected tax from foreigners so where does it go?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

So, it is ok to have billions of yen generated by taxing tourists and foreign residents,but it is not, in the 21st century, a necessity to have full-time paid translators for major languages?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Where do they expect to find these people?

I presume they've always had a decent number of retired Japanese people willing to volunteer their English skills during specific events, and I guess they can kind of rely on the large Chinese and Korean populations to satisfy those language needs - but this approach won't work for all other languages.

This expectation that a large number of highly skilled people will just volunteer their time to help as and when needed - is akin to Japan Inc. expecting workers to volunteer 40 hours of overtime every week to just keep the ship afloat.

If highly skilled linguists are needed, then find a way to make a system that also values the people you are trying to find. That might be paying them for their time and skills when you need them in times of crisis; paying regular smaller retainers even when there is no work to be done; offering a City Tax reduction for those people who do volunteer their time and skills to the city etc.

In a country the size of Japan, such a service should be a big business - by that I mean a huge national linguistics company providing support to various industries, who pay for the privilege of using it. The expectation that you should be able to get this for free, really does my nut in.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

How fluent do you need to be to help out in an emergency or disaster scenario? There are many foreigners and Japanese living here, who whilst not qualified interpreters, would be able to help others out with basic information, directions and communication. Make use of the resources that you have first.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Volunteer? You mean no money? Nah.

Google translate. Done. Next.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

a shortage of volunteer interpreters and translators to support foreign residents and tourists:

This is really cute of them. I paid my own way for each full certified course in 5 languages to read, write and speak these foreign languages and yet asked to volunteer for free? Try paying for the services it was not cheap for me why should I just give it away for free? I'm no different than anyone else who is in the business of making money not giving a service away for free.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why would interpreters or translators work for free? Do others work for free? Of course, not.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"Qualified Translators" cost money! They are not free! There are plenty of folks who could probably help out, but are not "qualified" by Japanese standards!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is another example of how mismanaged the attempts to increase inbound tourism and foreign workers are... you can't just hope you'll find people that'll work free of charge. Those people are bringing in money so just spend a little of that.

What's probably going to happen is when (not if, earthquakes etc are inevitable) the Japanese going to look bad. That was happened last time (like the useless hiragana-only tweet) and of course it's going to happen again

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This has only been a problem since forever, despite it being brought up constantly and ignored. I am glad this is coming up now before the Olympics, for which the government has pretty much said there is no problem and they are prepared, have held drills, etc.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The key word here is "Volunteer"

Why should someone volunteer for a needed service when they can get paid to do so?

There are lots of interpreter companies here. The issue is that the Govt. does not want to pay.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Volunteer ??? what is the big budject needed by abe for ???.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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