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Learning Japanese For Career

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Career in Japanese LanguageWith the diminishing boundaries, as an obvious fallout the globalization, learning a foreign language has almost become a necessary tool to broaden one’s horizons in respect of career. The Indian students have been studying many foreign languages, especially the western languages, like German, French and Spanish; but the language of an East-Asian country like Japan – unfortunately, has not been seen as a broad way towards career development.

Japan is the first country in East Asia to tread the path of economic modernization and become a major global power. Japan has the world’s third largest economy by nominal GDP and fourth largest economy by purchasing power parity. It is also the world’s fourth largest exporter and importer. The successful partnerships between the Indian and Japanese industries have further opened up tremendous job opportunities for Indian youth armed with knowledge of Japanese language.

Approx. 140 million people speak the Japanese language around the globe and it is among top 10 languages spoken on the Earth. Being the official language of Japan, it is the first language of 99 per cent of Japanese population.

Importance of learning Japanese language for students :

  • Japan can be a good destination for higher studies and globally recognized qualifications. Many of the top Japanese Universities provide courses through English medium. Some of the well known names are University of Tokyo, Osaka University, Waseda University, Kobe University etc.
  • A large number of scholarships are available for foreign students willing to carry out their studies in Japan. The government of Japan, as well as some private and social foundations provide the scholarships on merit basis. For many of them, you are expected to undergo at least an elementary course in Japanese language, so that you can easily survive in Japan.

Importance of learning Japanese Language for professionals :

  • Japan offers lots of job opportunities for qualified professionals in the sector of IT, automobile factory, pharmaceutical laboratory, or a chemical research institute. Japan requires thousands of professionals every year for working in Japan. Being fluent in Japanese is a part of prerequisite for working in Japan.
  • Japan is a world giant in automotive sector. Japan is the world’s second largest vehicle manufacturer, with big-wigs in the industry such as Toyota,  Honda, Nissan, Suzuki, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Yamaha etc
  • Further, it is dominant in engineering sectors like heavy machinery, electronics & telecommunication, power and construction. Professional from these industries and knowing Japanese language open new avenues of employment opportunties in international arena.
  • Japan is facing population decline over the years, and they require young, talented work force to continue the current development pace. Professionals knowing Japanese are preferred in all domains like automobiles, pharmaceuticals, IT, Microbiology, Biotechnology, Pure Sciences, Telecommunications, Law & Finances etc.
  • ‘Can speak Japanese’ looks great on a resume, no matter what your line of work is. Knowing any second language helps, but Japanese will definitely have a greater effect on an employer in Japan.

Importance of learning Japanese language for businessmen :

  • Japanese market is huge. Japan is the world’s fourth largest importer of consumer goods and services like food, clothing, travel and entertainment.
  • Being able to communicate with potential customers in their own language is a key to winning their business. That also helps understand the Japanese work ethics, their business etiquette, and helps open a huge market.
  • Japanese people are very loyal partners in business and partnership with them can become fruitful.
  • Japanese companies are looking to outsource a large number of jobs. Providing quality solutions for them will be a good paying opportunity, for which communication in Japanese is naturally important.

Importance of learning Japanese language for researcher :

  • Japanese people are innovators. There are many researches and innovation being carried out in the fields of robotics, telecommunications, semiconductor manufacturing, biotechnology, food processing, construction techniques etc.
  • Japanese government and other organizations provide grant/aid for research projects. Japan welcomes foreign research scholars to carry out their research in Japan. This has made the Japanese world leaders in patent filings at approx 4,20,000 patent applications annually.

Importance of learning Japanese language for housewives / retired persons :

  • By working as a freelance translator, you can have lucrative returns, even sitting at your home.

Other Opportunities :

Not only in Japan, but you can also work in India with applied knowledge of Japanese. As more investment flows in from Japan, the career opportunities are opening up like never before, and the demand for Japanese-knowing professionals is increasing.

  • Translator : many companies as well as government departments require translators to help understand their communication with their Japanese counterparts. Such jobs can be regular, full time or part–time. Many translation agencies are also there which employ personnel knowing good Japanese. Apart from this, you can also work as a freelance translator. The jobs are good paying and a quality translator can earn monthly 6 digit returns.
  • Content writer / field-specific translator : A content writer works as key personnel for writing contents, in websites, documentations, reports, projects, manuals etc. in Japanese language. Field–specific translators are required for translations which include technical words of a particular field. For e.g. translation of machinery manuals, legal documents, commercial reports, scientific research projects, software localization, etc.
  • Interpreter : With the advent of new technology like teleconferencing and video conferencing, it is now possible to hold conferences and meetings between personnel from India and their counterparts in Japan without having to actually travel between the two countries. Almost always, such meetings require a person with the knowledge of not just Japanese but also of the Japanese manners and etiquette.
  • Tourist guide: Japanese people are international tourists. Thousands of Japanese tourists visit India every year, and require persons who will guide them through Japanese language. You can make a very nice amount per hour, by guiding them and it will be beneficial for you to become a means of cross–cultural exchange.
  • Local project coordinators: As the business between Japanese and Indian companies increases and more and more projects are launched, there is a need for people who can coordinate the projects and communicate between the two teams in India and Japan. You will be the only means of communication for them. The knowledge in a particular field of project will be an added advantage in that case.
  • Animators: Japanese animation industry is topmost in the world. Japanese cartoons, video and computer games, Manga, anime etc. are very popular globally. Good animation skills with Japanese language knowledge can prove a boost for enthusiastic people to work in the animation industry, not only as an animator, but also as a translator, and sound artist.
  • General avenues: Apart from those mentioned above, good opportunities are available in MNCs and foreign Banks, Hotel Industry & catering, Airlines, call centers and BPOs, Japanese subsidiaries and joint ventures in India, as a foreign news correspondent  in Japanese media, historian, consulates, Trade commission  & Cultural Institutes etc.

How Japanese easy to learn for Indians :

Japanese is not as difficult as one may think. It is a fact that Japanese language follows a totally different script (a pictographic script called kanji ) from western languages, but this does not mean that Japanese is difficult . It is not ‘Hard ‘ or ‘complex ‘, but ‘ different ‘. Japanese is somewhat similar to eastern – especially Indian (Sanskrit-based) languages such as Marathi, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Bengali and others. The sentence structure, grammar patterns, proverbs etc. are very similar to these languages. Hence, it is easy especially for Indians, to master Japanese Language.

Moreover the grammar, spelling, vocabulary, etc. is very straightforward. The grammar of Japanese is in many ways simpler than that of European languages. Japanese nouns have no genders, plural forms, or accompanying articles to learn. The language also has only two tenses of verbs – present and past, and includes very few irregular verbs. Spoken Japanese has only 5 vowel sounds and spelling is phonetically consistent, making the language relatively easy to pronounce.

Where can you learn Japanese :

Japanese has always been thought of as a difficult language to learn, as well as to teach. Hence, the number of teachers for Japanese in India are very few.

  • Private Lessons: Around 60 per cent of the Japanese Language learners in India learn from a private tutor. It is considered as a most convenient way to study Japanese Language along with your major studies.
  • Institutes/Language Schools: There are some private institutes or language schools which offer Japanese – Language training for the aspirants. Some of them may also help you in placement after the course
  • School : From 2006, CBSE has introduced Japanese as an optional third language from std. VIth. In Maharasthtra, the state education board has offered Japanese Language as a subject for HSC examination from 2008. Students of any stream can appear for this paper in HSC exam.
  • Universities: Some universities in India offer certificate, Diploma and Degree level courses in Japanese language. Selected examples are – Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, University of Pune, Vishwa-Bharati University, Shantiniketan Mumbai University.
  • Others : Some new generation learning techniques such as audio lectures, self – studying video tutorials, online learning, video – conferencing etc are also available; but these may prove somewhat expensive as compared to traditional methods.

Japanese Language Proficiency Tests :

There are various tests to measure a person’s Japanese language knowledge. Two of them are discussed below.

1.    Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)

  • Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is a standardized international test designed to evaluate a candidate’s Japanese Language knowledge on the basis of reading, language understanding, vocabulary, grammar and listening.
  • It is administered by The Japan Foundation. (A Japanese government body )
  • Like IELTS, TOEFL, etc. for English language, the JLPT certification are recognized worldwide as a standard evaluation of Japanese proficiency of a non – native speaker of the language.
  • It has 5 ( Five) evaluation levels : N1,N2,N3,N4,N5. They are arranged in decreasing order of complexity. Meaning N1 is the most advanced level.
  • JLPT is held twice a year throughout the world on the same days: First Sunday of July and Sunday of December. In India, JLPT is conducted at 6 centers namely: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Pune.

2.    Business Japanese proficiency Test ( BJT)

  • BJT is designed to objectively measure a person’s proficiency at communication using in a business environment.
  • It is administered by the Japan kanji Aptitude testing foundation. ( Government – affiliated organization ).
  • The test gives priority to measuring and evaluating one’s ability to understand and communicate in Japanese encountered in business situation.
  • The scores of BJT are given from 0 to 800 points and are evaluated on a scale of six J5 to J1+.

 In the upcoming years, the ‘land of rising sun’ can definitely become a ‘land of rising opportunities’ for Indian youths.

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