Have you studied in university and dream of using your language skills in a job where you can use Japanese? If you have a high command of Japanese, you offer a lot to workplaces in all fields in Japan--the asset of being bilingual.
However, if you want to make the best of your abilities and grow in your career, there are specific roles that may be more foreigner-friendly and beneficial to international job seekers compared to other positions.
There are five areas that you should consider: translation and interpreting roles, sales, marketing, engineering and tech jobs, and teaching.
In order to get into a bilingual position in Japan to use Japanese on a daily basis, most workplaces will require a passing score of the N1 on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) or the equivalent level language ability. If you have an N2, your vocabulary and knowledge of Keigo will likely be insufficient.
Note that even if you have an N1 or high written level of proficiency, speaking and communication are very important if you want to increase your standing in the business. You should be confident and well-practiced in Japanese to get hired and progress in your job.
A perhaps obvious choice is working in translation or interpretation in Japan as a bilingual. As a translator, you will have to use two or more languages and have a high command of both, in order to provide accurate and smooth communication.
Translation work can be done in-house for a specific company, at a translation company, or as a freelance gig. If you really enjoy the details of writing and nuanced communication, being a translator may be right for you.
Please note that the pay and job demand depend on the languages you work with. For example, Japanese-to-English translation may be worth less than Japanese to Thai.
Working as an interpreter will require more experience and expertise than translation positions due to the high stress and stakes. Verbal interpretation must be done on the spot, so individuals who have a passion and a fluent command of Japanese and communication style excel in this role.
These jobs can also lead to positions working government and foreign relations, making it a very promising career path.
As Japan is opening up to a more global market, workplaces need sales talent that can adeptly handle international clients and business. If you can speak Japanese in addition to another language, like Mandarin, English, Arabic, or another language, you will play a vital role in communication and global business.
You can excel further in these corporate roles if you have prior business experience, but this really depends on the company.
If you go into a job in sales in Japan, your company will likely have you contacting international firms with emails and phone calls. Then, you will have to relay what was discussed in Japanese to your coworkers, supervisors, and other companies.
Sales and business strategy-related positions are very broad and with much potential, so you really have a lot of freedom in what you can do. There are business-to-business (BtoB) sales, business-to-customer (BtoC) sales, and many more specializations where you can assist firms.
For marketing positions in Japan, you will help out in a similar way as you would in a sales role--communication and helping target and develop international markets. For example, you can use your bilingual skills to research two or more countries to find out what customers and demand are like.
With your knowledge and language skills, companies will have you help with marketing strategies to help grow their business globally.
As marketing is a broad field, you can specialize in advertisements, social media marketing, online content, and much more. Having knowledge about markets in Asia, North America, or other regions, as well as advanced language abilities, is a great asset that will help you in marketing.
Another position where bilingual individuals can excel in is in the engineering and tech fields. You can work as a computer programmer, web engineer, developer, or analyst. International employees in these fields are in high demand in Japan due to their different skill sets.
While many jobs do not require a high proficiency of Japanese, you will have an obvious advantage if you can communicate in Japanese with your coworkers and bosses. Ideally, you can explain your coding and jobs to your coworkers.
This will help your team understand and adopt new strategies. Your communication skills could lead to promotions and gaining leadership roles within your company, too.
Do you think you can’t use Japanese while teaching English in Japan? However, these positions are can actually be ideal for using multiple languages.
While typical ALT (Assistant Language Teacher), Eikaiwa (English conversation) are obviously English focused, knowing Japanese in these roles can help a lot. As many schools and education facilities still struggle with global English resources, working bilingually will allow you to bridge the gap between your workplace and the rest of the world, progressing your career.
If you can effectively communicate lesson plans and project ideas to your students, coworkers, and workplace, you will be helping create a better team. Elementary school students and students with poor English will also be grateful for your communication abilities and assistance, too.
You can also use Japanese in other education roles in Japan, including teaching positions in non-English roles, at universities, and specialty schools. Use Japanese to get to know your students and coworkers better and improve your career.
Many jobs in Japan will allow you to use Japanese and your language skills. In particular, translating and interpreting roles, sales, marketing, tech jobs, and even teaching are good environments where you can exercise Japanese and English, Japanese and Chinese, or whichever languages you are comfortable with. In doing so, you can improve your career and help make your workplace more global.
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