Archive for March, 2009

Matt Rouge writing and translation update for March 30, 2009

March has been an extremely busy month at Marrubium, and I would like to give thanks from my heart to the clients who entrust me with their important writing projects.

Please go to Marrubium Writing for a full update on my recent writing projects. In this post, I also give thanks to my good friend and writing partner Rhoda Israelov, who has obtained several new clients for me in recent months.

Then please take a look at Marrubium Translation for a full update on my Japanese to English translation projects.

Although I continue to be busy, I am always eager to learn more about your new and interesting projects. Feel free to contact me at any time!

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Matt Rouge translation update for March 30, 2009

During the month of March, I have been exceptionally busy with Japanese to English translation. For a major Japanese automaker, I have done the following:

  • Translated a script for a video about a new type of engine.
  • Translated website content concerning the company’s social responsibility policies.
  • Translated an interview with an important outgoing executive.

This was a good chunk of work, but, as an exception to the rule, most of my Japanese to English translation work was not for the Japanese automobile industry but instead for one of Japan’s largest manufacturers of steam turbines and process pumps. The company is in the process of updating their website and has added a wealth of new content. I had translated a video script for this company several years ago, and I am quite proud that, based on my work, they selected for this latest project the ad agency in Japan for which I have done work for the past five years.

This has been one of the most difficult translations I have done in my career, which is saying a lot, as I regularly deal with highly technical subjects. I not only translated Web pages about the company’s products but also about global warming, biomass power generation, and other difficult subjects. If I have a good technical Japanese vocabulary, which I do, why does difficulty arise? There are two main reasons:

  1. The Japanese terms involved are not commonly used in industry. They are not in my technical dictionary, and I have to search for relevant cites online in order to come up with a translation about which I can feel confident. I have developed a variety of techniques to come up with these cites, and, at worst the ad agency has to ask the company to confirm a term or two. In the case of the major Japanese automobile makers for which I translate, over the years the ad agency and I have come up with a body of “canon,” or recognized translations for all of the companies’ technical terms, and, for that matter, every aspect of their business. We follow this canon to the letter, developing and confirming new terms when necessary.
  2. The Japanese cites articles, papers, laws, or other materials originally in Japanese or English for which I have to find the “official” translation. For example, the Web content I translated mentioned a Japanese law, and I had to search for the translation that is commonly used in the English-speaking world; I couldn’t just make up my own. As another example, a Japanese document I recently translated cited extensively from the Sarbannes-Oxley Act. I couldn’t just retranslate this back into English; I had to find online the actual text that had been quoted.

The Web content I translated involved both issues, and, in order to provide a correct translation, I had to proceed quite carefully.

In addition to my translation work, in March I also did quite a bit of advertising writing in English, which you can read about in my latest post on Marrubium Writing.

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Matt Rouge writing update for March 30, 2009

I hope you enjoyed the recent post explaining new goings-on at Marrubium. I have remained in a flat-out state for all of March with various writing projects. I am thankful to be doing well in this economic climate and give heartfelt thanks to my clients.

My writing partner (who has also become one of my best friends over the nearly three years we have known each other) and I are making significant progress on our book. In fact, we have gotten most of it written at this point and have sent the table of contents and three sample chapters to some influential people (my coauthor is a very experienced HR and general business guru who has built a wealth of connections over the years). Thus far, the reaction has been highly positive, and we are both quite hopeful. Full steam ahead on this project! (By the way, once we get a book deal, I will lift the veil of secrecy about this project and reveal all!)

It’s about time that I honor another very good friend, mentor, and writing partner: Rhoda Israelov, of Say It For You. Rhoda has been writing for 30 years and has been featured extensively in the Indianapolis Business Journal and other prestigious local and regional publications. She is a certified financial planner (CFP) and thus also has extensive experience in writing about financial matters. Say It For You offers ghost blogging: that is, she will write your blog for you, and you can say it is by you, “From the Team of,” by Rhoda herself, or whatever works for your particular situation. Her blogging style is simply amazing! Check out her blog to see why I think so.

I am honored to report that Rhoda has seen fit to reward my meager talents by taking me under her wing and providing me with clients.

Recently, Rhoda and I created original website content for a local Indianapolis pharmaceutical firm (no, not Eli Lilly, but a pretty exciting company nonetheless). The content consisted of new landing pages describing how the product can help alleviate the symptoms of a variety of conditions that the company had not previously promoted. The president of the company is quite pleased with our work.

Rhoda has also obtained for me my first ghost blogging client, about which I am really excited: this too is a local Indianapolis company, a manufacturer of products for the home. About this client I must say no more, as I will be ghost blogging for them, after all.

In addition to my writing work, in March I did quite a bit of Japanese to English translation, which you can read about in my latest post on Marrubium Translation.

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Welcome to my new site

Thanks for visiting my new site. I have a post on one of my other blogs, Marrubium Writing, that explains my goal for this new site and what I’ve been doing lately. Enjoy!

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Matt Rouge writing and translation update for March 12, 2009

I have a new post on Marrubium Writing that explains all my new blogs and what I’ve been up to lately. Enjoy!

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Global Marrubium update for March 12, 2009

Spring is around the corner, and soon the horehound will be in bloom! In this post I’d like to update you on everything that’s been going on at Marrubium and with the Web presences I’ve been creating for it. I now have four blogs:
My personal blog. Full of wit and wisdom. Enjoy at your leisure.
This site. The one you know and love. I apologize to those to whom I’ve given my card, which says this site has an explanation of the panels you see in the header. It will soon! I will be adding new pages about my philosophy of writing and good things like that.
My new site, herewith explained:

I am fluent in Japanese and can and do claim, credibly, to be one of the top Japanese-to-English advertising and PR translators in the world. But. When I go out and network, my goal is not to be tagged as “that guy who knows Japanese.” Owing to human psychology, this is a difficult endeavor, since people naturally remember the most unusual or interesting thing about a person. Since I am dull in most other ways, people recall my Japanese ability.

Back in 2000, when I had completed my Purdue MBA, I faced the same dilemma: promote my Japanese ability, which made me stand out from the crowd yet got me pigeonholed me as “that guy who knows Japanese whom perhaps we can use in Japan.” Or not. I wanted to be known as “the marketing expert” and find a job in Indianapolis, my hometown, but, again inevitably, I found myself returning to Japan.

Fate has worked in my favor, however. Back in Yamato, I worked in the drug industry and the semiconductor industry, further augmented my Japanese technical vocabulary, and, most importantly, translated/wrote advertising and PR materials for my final employer. I was then “discovered” by an ad agency that does a lot of work for several Japanese automakers and other major companies, and I have now been working with them for five years. Being a translator for multibillion dollar (or, rather, several hundred billion yen) companies has allowed me to prove myself as a writer for such companies, and now I am truly living my dream.

Contrary to what I have found to be a typical presupposition, about 75% of the work I do for Japanese companies is translation-based, and 25% is direct-to-English. I have also encountered a tendency for people to think that translation-based writing is “just translation.” It’s an understandable thought: people think of dry technical manuals or instruction sheets in which the style of the prose is unimportant. Or treated as unimportant. When I translate advertising and PR materials, however, I must create a translation that satisfies the client as to literalness or accuracy while at the same time creating copy that sounds natural and appealing to a worldwide audience. This task, to say the least, is difficult.

In response, therefore, to the responses my marketing messages have thus far received, I have divided said message in twain: Marrubium Writing will deal with writing, whereas Marrubium Translation will deal with translation. I have created new business cards that list my title as “Writer,” which I am using at my networking events. So far, so good. I am also expecting some SEO benefits from this change.
Previously, I had this site on redirect to Marrubium Writing. Henceforth, I will be using it as a metablog for all of my endeavors. It will contain both my writing and translating marketing messages, and I hope that it will provide an SEO boost as well.

Current situation and goals for 2009
I have been fortunate. Although the auto industry is doing poorly around the world, the companies for which I work still need writing and translation. Lots of it, apparently, so I have been busy.

I welcome advertising and PR translation work, but, in reality I get so much of that right now that I am not actively seeking it. Instead, I am seeking the following:

  1. One-off advertising and PR projects: print ads, website content, press releases, video scripts. I am up for anything and everything for which I feel a resonance.
  2. Ghost blogging.
  3. Newsletters and other periodic pieces.

If you are an ad agency or Web developer, I will be your staunch ally. I am creative, careful, and timely. If you are a company looking for a one-time marketing boost, I am an MBA who will visit you, listen to understand your situation, and create some stellar materials for you. All at a price that you can afford.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you!

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