Psst—This month’s interview format is a little different. Using Google’s On Air feature, I made a video of my conversation with Sarah. What do you think?
To watch the interview on YouTube, click here.
Sarah “Alys” Lindholm, also known as The Detail Woman, is a Japanese-to-English translator specializing in anime, television, and video games. She has worked in the industry for a solid decade, currently as a senior translator with FUNimation.
In our interview, Sarah shared quite a bit of advice for linguists considering subtitling as a career. We discussed the highs and lows of working in a narrow specialization for 10 years, ways to keep it interesting, and how it has changed her feelings towards anime as a hobby. She offered a couple suggestions for people interested in following a similar career path. And she also talks about that “little bit of crazy” that most translators have inside.
Other highlights from our conversation:
- Not all Japanese language majors do it for the love of anime.
- Television and cartoons are just as creative a translation pursuit as marketing or written literature.
- “When we do hobbies for ourselves, we can pick out only the stuff that we like. Let’s say my hobby is knitting, and I love knitting scarves but I hate knitting hats. If you do it as a profession, you have to knit the scarves and the hats.”
- Subtitling projects can help you define your personal and professional ethics—depending on which, if any, you choose to turn down.
Feel free to share your thoughts below! Sarah and I are standing by to answer other questions you might have.
I’d also like to know: do you prefer the video format, or the written transcript? Constructive comments about the video are most welcome, just keep in mind how camera shy I am to begin with… break it to me gently!