About Us

The “BJ” in “BJ Translations” stands for Britain & Japan, as even though we do handle other languages, the majority of our business to date has involved one or the other. Our logo also reflects that fact.

In addition, it stands for Ben Jones, the founder of the company. After winning a scholarship to Oxford, Ben went on to study Japanese at Sheffield and then lived in Japan for several years. He started translating full-time when he was the only person to translate 'metabolism' correctly in a test for a Tokyo PR agency. Since returning to the UK in 1990 he has been busy translating and interpreting in Britain, Japan and many other countries.

He is the only non-Japanese person to have been qualified by the Institute of Translation & Interpreting (ITI) for translation into Japanese, as well as translation from Japanese into English. (Translators are often advised to translate only into their mother tongue, but there are exceptions, as with exophonic writers. Japanese has been Ben's “language of habitual use” for many years, and his written Japanese is reported to be better than that of many less experienced 'native speakers'.) In 2009 he became the first Japanese linguist to be elected a Fellow of the Institute.

Fellow of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting

Our colleagues

Ben was also Coordinator of the ITI's Japanese Network, and probably knows most Japanese translators & interpreters in the UK. Having presented at several International Japanese-English Translation (IJET) conferences, he also knows many in Japan and elsewhere; and having been on the ITI Board of Directors and attended ITI's CPD events, he has a broad range of contacts in other languages too. Any work we cannot handle in-house is thus given to the best person for the job - based not on pulling the cheapest CV from a database, but on knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each individual. Unlike many translation agencies, we do not employ non-linguist “project managers”; you will always be dealing with someone with an intimate knowledge of your requirements.

Interpretation booth at the 2018 G7 Environment Ministers Meeting in Halifax

The interpreters we work with are regularly engaged for international conferences, can be heard interpreting for heads of state on national broadcasters such as the BBC, and can also be seen on stage with celebrities at film festivals, awards ceremonies and the like. One has also appeared in a major feature film when the producers forgot to overdub her voice! Translators are seldom as much in the spotlight, but many of our regulars have achieved fame as authors or experts in other fields.

Specialist fields

The best way to get an overview of the kind of work we do is to ask us, or to look at our 1992-2012 track record. Many jobs are confidential, so it's not been practical to update this in the 10+ years since, but for a general idea, our clients (as at 2022) have included UK/Japanese national and regional governments, the European Patent Office, Microsoft, the BBC, the International Monetary Fund, Hewlett-Packard, Disney, Michelin, Dentsu, Tate Modern/Louis Vuitton (e.g. interpreting for Kusama Yayoi), IBM, the International Chamber of Commerce, numerous lawyers’ offices and financial institutions, and others corporations, public authorities and individuals in over 25 countries. Subject areas we have handled include arbitration, mediation, taxation, law, investor relations, shipping, aviation, defence, patents, automotive & other engineering, telecoms, films, computing, electronics, insurance, art, culture, fashion, tourism, sports, environment, fine wine, cooking, PR, pharmaceuticals, and more.

Interpreting at negotiations in Europe

Over the years, satisfied clients have continually asked BJ Translations for help with languages other than Japanese, and we have gradually taken on more work in languages such as Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, Arabic, Hebrew, Ukrainian, Russian, FIGS (French, Italian, German and Spanish), each of which has their own challenges. We are happy to consider any translation, interpreting or typesetting requirements you may have, whatever the language: but unlike some who claim to have thousands of linguists on their books and be able to handle any requirement under the sun, we know our limits and if we do not feel confident of meeting your needs to a high standard ourselves, will simply direct you to the best person for the job.

East Asian language typesetting

Why choose us?

The simplest answer is to check out what our clients say — the testimonials speak for themselves!

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