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The ATC’s Member of the Month for July 2023 is Word Connection, ISO-certified Japanese translation specialists and passionate advocates of collaborative, ethical business practices.

We caught up with Word Connection’s Managing Director, James Myatt, to talk about the Japanese market, working collaboratively across borders, and fighting the good fight against translation scammers.

Japanese is a tough nut to crack

Word Connection is a business that has its roots in founder Kaori Myatt’s work as a Japanese translator. The quality of her work and her dedication saw her build a significant LSC client portfolio. She found herself to be in such demand that late night and weekend working became the norm.

Kaori is a chartered linguist. She has an MA in translation and is a published creative writer.

“The Japanese market is notoriously difficult to crack, and it’s also a difficult language for European language service companies to source,” Kaori’s husband and business partner James explains. “Word Connection was born out of a growing need for specialist Japanese translation services that don’t just need to be good, but perfect, and that’s what we still specialise in today.”

At Word Connection, Kaori, James and their team of 13 based in France and Japan work to bridge both cultural and language gaps between Europe and Japan. An integral part of Word Connection’s collaborative business model is the company’s partnership with Japanese copywriters Press Co., a highly regarded and long-established proofreading company in Japan.

There’s no doubt that Word Connection’s clients appreciate the expertise of the company’s in-house Japanese linguists and their speedy turnarounds. They also value the work of the professional project management team. That team is always prepared to go above and beyond the call of duty to problem-solve and to achieve superior results. Word Connection’s clients save time and money courtesy of clear communication and no headaches with time zones.

Kaori and James have also created Human Powered Academy, a learning community of certified translators boasting more than 3,000 members. The couple host monthly workshops for translators in Japanese to help translators develop their skills. Renowned Japanese translation experts run workshops in their fields of expertise.

Collaboration is key to continued development

Word Connection is certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 with ATC Certification.

“For us, ISO certification is not just about marketing, but a structural tool that the company and our team benefit from. Using ISO standards as best practice has helped us structure our operations, and given our team more control over their work,” James says.

Collaboration across borders has proved crucial to Word Connection’s continued development. Industry events such as the ATC’s annual conference and StrateSki in the Alps are important platforms for meeting peers and clients. StrateSKi is a unique and exclusive event evolved by James and Kaori. The sell-out event is reserved for Word Connection’s clients and partners. It enables them to have meaningful conversations that help their businesses to prosper.

Fighting the good fight against scammers

Kaori Myatt is an active Board Member at JTF, Japan Translation Federation, as well as a practising translator and technology trainer. As hands-on business owners, Kaori and James have seen both the good sides and the bad of working in the industry.

“Since the very early days of Word Connection when Kaori lost sleep, money, and her reputation, we have been fighting against translation scammers,” James explains. “Scams affect translators, LSCs, and their clients, and anyone can fall victim to these increasingly sophisticated scams.”

Kaori and James really have seen it all when it comes to translation scams, and on 21 September they will share their hard-won intelligence with the delegates at the ATC-EUATC Ethical Business Summit.

“We’re passionate about running an ethical, considerate business,” says James. “Supporting our translators and sharing knowledge with our industry peers are important values for us, and we’re proud to be partnering with the ATC and the EUATC to help us all do better business.”

James Myatt was in conversation with ATC CEO Raisa McNab.

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