Insights

  1. To become a successful language expert, you need expertise in two languages. I choose the Japanese language because I love the language and the Japanese culture.
  2. This is an amazing profession, as one gets to earn a lot without much hard work.
  3. The job has varied in this profession and that has been very exciting. I have helped Japanese delegates understand their Indian counterparts, helped translate documents and assisted Japanese customers over email/chat.
  4. It’s a career chosen by those who have a passion for it, so the level of job satisfaction is usually high.
  5. You don’t need to be graduate to do well in this profession.
  6. I highly recommend students to focus on their third language subject in their school years.

Profile Details

Name – Shantanu Malhotra

Profession – Japanese language expert

Age – 26

Gender – Male

Industry – Language/Translation

City – Delhi

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born and raised in Delhi. I completed school from Kulachi Hansraj Model School of Delhi and my language-oriented studies from Japan Foundation and MOSAI institute. My mother is a journalist and English to Hindi translator. She’s a divorcee and I live with her only along with my twin brother who is involved in the same profession as me.

Who had the most influence on you and how?

Unlike most people, the greatest influence on my life was Japanese animations and Hollywood TV shows.

I was not really interested in studies, so TV shows were the pivotal interest in my life. I learned the Japanese language by watching those animations and made it my career. They broadened my perspective and made me realize that there is more to life than studying.

Please give a summary of your career.

I have worked in 3 organizations:

Japan Foundation: My designation was Japanese language coordinator

IBM: My designation was senior operations professional

Groupon shared Private limited: My designation was Japanese Language expert.

Which institutes are best for the training/education of Japanese language?

MOSAI and Tsubomi Japanese Language Institute are best in India.

What are the costs associated with the training/education of Japanese language?

It cost me 60,000 INR to do the whole course of 2 years. Other colleges might also be offering the same price range.

What are the typical entry-level jobs in this profession?

Many schools provide a language option to the students where they can get to learn the language and start working as soon as they clear the JLPT level n3. After clearing the exam, you will get ample opportunities as there are more jobs and less qualified individuals.

After my 12th, I joined the Japanese Foundation, an organization aimed at propagating the Japanese language and culture. I applied for the A1 course Japanese introduction there.

After six months of basic learning, they recommended me to Mombusho Scholars Association of India (MOSAI). There I got 6 months of basic training then 1 year of intermediate learning.

After clearing the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) I was eligible to work wherever I pleased. It has in total 5 levels of which clearing the N3 level would get you a job.

What is the range of remuneration one can expect in your line of career & industry?

Starting out — 2.5 lacs per annum

5 years of experience — 7 to 9 lacs per annum

10 years of experience — 13 to 20 lacs per annum

15 years of experience — 25 to 30 lacs per annum

20+ years of experience — 35 lacs per annum

Please describe your work.

Work depends on job profile.

As a Japanese language coordinator in Japan Foundation, my role was to assist the Japanese delegates working there in any way possible. My job was basically interpretation.

As senior operations professional in IBM, my role was to interpret in meetings, translate IT documents, work with Japan team to do various kinds of IT processes etc.

As a Japanese Language expert in Groupon, my role was of customer support assisting Japanese customers through emails phone and chat.

I work for 8 hours for 5 days a week.

What are some of the positives which would encourage someone to consider this career/job?

If you really like Japanese culture, this is the job for you.

  1. The risk is low and the return is high.
  2. The training doesn’t take much time. Training and education are very cheap and you get an amazing salary.
  3. Even without a graduation, you can earn much more than your graduate counterparts. Since you don’t need to be a graduate you can start earning much earlier than them.
  4. You get to travel and visit different places in this career.
  5. The scope is unlimited. There is a humongous need for people who have skills in more than two languages.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering this career/job?

  1. Learning a language means learning a culture, so you have to get out of your shell and comfort zone. You have to be accepting and open-minded.
  2. The main challenge would be reading and writing. Japanese has 3 scripts and it’s not really easy to learn all.
  3. Those who have no passion or interest can hardly get to enter the profession.

What are the relevant skills/technologies/trends that are commanding a premium in your job profile?

You have to pass JLPT examinations. They are basically the proof which denotes your skill level.

What kind of a person would be happy in your career?

Anyone who likes the language and the Japanese culture would be really satisfied in this career. You just have to become passionate about a country which is completely different from yours, a language which has no reference to the ones you speak and a lifestyle you’ve never really owned. If you love the language, you’d love the job.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?

Not at all. I can’t explain in words how much I love my profession and how I’m proud of it. I don’t plan anything else.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path like yours?

Take it slow, practice daily, and watch all the movies, animations, TV shows you can find in Japanese. Not only it would be fun but also you’d get to learn more from them than anything else.

Contributing Writer – Yashika Bhati