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After a busy few months, the volume of Pro-level JPN to ENG jobs seems to be very low the last couple of weeks. This might be expected for business documents, with the end of the business year, but there's often little or nothing at all for days on end...

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    Vox Nipponica

    In Japanese business you will see a large uptick after the New Year, then a rush to get projects complete before April (end of accounting period, as you state), and Golden Week. Then there is non-activity for a long period in between new business needing to be started up, new university hires trained, etc. Organizationally speaking, the focus will shift onto more pressing matters before they can resume thinking about outsourcing documents (a task very low on the chain, and likely handled by those new university hires). There should then be a gradual uptick, followed by slowness again around Obon, then full steam ahead through fall and winter with no interruption.

    The huge combo of close of fiscal year, Golden Week, new hires, and summer listlessness (seasonality has a major effect on this sort of thing. You'll also find that less crime occurs globally in summer.) generally grinds things to a halt in many fields of business.

    Edited by Vox Nipponica
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    JapanZone

    Thank you, Vox. Very informative.

    Running an online retail business selling Japanese products worldwide, I'm used to a slightly different business cycle. This year was the first time I noticed that the upsurge in available Gengo work coincided with a relatively quiet time for my business, so I decided to focus more of my energies on translation. If things are likely to continue to be quiet on that front for the next few months, I might as well spend my time coming up with a marketing campaign instead!

    JZ

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    Vox Nipponica

    As translators/freelancers/entrepreneurs, we are used to a time cycle divorced from regular schedules and one that is seemingly consistent year-round. We are also used to not taking vacations. But major Japanese holidays certainly affect institutionalized business and can force us to take a holiday in spite of ourselves! The downtime, albeit unexpected, can be a time to recharge.

    For discretionary spending on consumer goods, the time cycle is surely totally different and you'd probably find active consumption precisely when big business is in downtime.  In general, even after the accounting period ends, there is still a frantic focus on settling accounts and getting ledgers in order in time to submit by May 30 (still not here yet), so that quietude will continue even after 4/1.

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    JapanZone

    It's almost bizarre how the most urgent retail orders invariably arrive immediately before GW, Obon, or the random timing of my shipping manager taking a holiday!

    On a slight tangent - this year I have found myself devoting a bit more time to translation and trying to evaluate how to best fit it into my planning of time, finances, and family. As an entrepreneur without a guaranteed pension, I'd like to be able to rely on a tidy little revenue stream from translation for as long as I can still focus on a screen! But I'm acutely aware of the fact that in the longer term, human translation is clearly under threat from advances in AI and the imminent arrival of the Babel fish! So I tell my own school-age kids that, while Dad may be able to make a living from it, they need to think of their bilingual skills as one small (and diminishing) part of their "portfolio".

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    Vox Nipponica

    We should be OK in our lifetimes, but the struggle is real. I am in the opposite boat: expanding into retail in order to diversity the portfolio. 

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    JapanZone

    My business skills will never set the world alight, but I've managed to survive online for 18 years. So if your retail is JPN -> the World and I can offer any help or accumulated nuggets of wisdom, feel free to ask!

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