Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Japanese document review

Does anyone have experience with Japanese document reviews? bengoshi01/22/13
I wish. They make at least $50/hour and can get up to $100/ francescadarimini01/22/13
I do Japanese Document review. What's on your mind? kyakka01/24/13
Kyakka, I wanted to know if I am qualified for Japanese d bengoshi01/24/13
1 - JPLT2 is hard to call, because the difference in difficu kyakka01/24/13
ACK - it massively truncated my posting! ... I typed up a lo kyakka01/24/13
thanks. Kyakka, How many questions is the ALTA test? bengoshi01/25/13
The ALTA test is 15 questions, 45 minutes, five questions pe kyakka01/25/13
More on the "quality/speed of review" domain: Foreign la kyakka01/25/13
Foreign language reviewers do tend to get away with more. I' francescadarimini01/26/13
Great information, kyakka. I live in Japan, but I sometim qwertyu01/26/13
qwertyu: From your description your Japanese is more than kyakka01/27/13
I do translation jobs on the side -- its always been pretty qwertyu01/27/13
Reviews sometimes insist on certain licensing requirements. kyakka01/30/13
Qwertyu, How is the legal market in Japan? bengoshi01/27/13
I work at a Japanese university teaching undergrads law and qwertyu01/27/13
I'll jump in here - though you didn't ask me. Japanese l kyakka01/31/13
I have done a fair amount of Japanese document review and I nyjpjd01/26/13
Yes, it is true that the work can have dry spells. I think t kyakka01/27/13
They will test you jc1901/26/13
UPDATE: Yes they will! Recently I took two of the new A kyakka03/07/13
Re: Conflicts Conflicts is a concern that nyjpjd is righ kyakka01/27/13
Kyakka, How long have you been studying/ learning Japanes bengoshi01/27/13
I started studying Japanese at age 19 in college and kept st kyakka01/30/13
Kyakka, Thank you for the responses including your insigh bengoshi01/31/13
1 - I think doc review is pretty much doc review everywhere. kyakka01/31/13
Kyakka, I am curious. How hard is it to learn Japanese if on secondcareerlawyer02/01/13
.... tkjdf4sbe02/01/13
There is a population of Chinese-fluent reviewers that find kyakka02/01/13
.... tkjdf4sbe01/31/13
Hey I was wondering if u could answer a question for me. I t rlerma2101/30/14
This is so old as to be probably irrelevant now, but I'll re kyakka11/19/15
Is it harder to get Japanese doc review jobs if you are not mm191703/13/15
There are comparatively few JDoc reviewers that are of Japan kyakka04/29/15
If you don't mind me asking -how much do the top performers nyctemp05/01/15
Pay has only gone up in the last few years. This is because kyakka06/02/15
I am not sure if you are familiar with the recent JLPT exams therealness07/04/15
Didn't check here for a while, so sorry for the delay. I kyakka08/04/15
I'd also like to know the answer to this question. Got my Ba kp177607/05/15
If you can read the newspaper, you should be OK. The test is kyakka08/04/15
I have taken ALTA for Spanish and Portuguese. If you can rea therealness07/06/15
Thanks. That's very helpful. I've heard the Japanese Test is kp177607/07/15
The newer test is not the one with the three SCOTUS squibs. kyakka08/04/15
Just took one of the tests online, and damn it was hard. You kp177607/11/15
Yes, that sounds about right. Even if you know what the arti therealness07/12/15
In the current environment, you could go and take the test a kyakka08/04/15
Thanks for all the advice and encouragement! The agency I te kp177608/08/15
So, did you take it again since August? You're close - if yo kyakka11/19/15
Hi everyone, sorry to jump in and hijack someone else's thre jmck210509/05/15
I have saved a few thousand and am going to take the winter jmck210511/19/15
Your dedication is admirable. 頑張っӗ kyakka11/20/15
The licenses are more for the non review work I want to do o jmck210511/20/15
Project starting Jan 4 projected for multiple years. $23 pe jmck210512/25/15
I'm at a Catch-22. How do you get Japanese doc review experi jpdoc109/22/15
The same way that English doc reviewers get experience when bittersweet09/23/15
I don't know which market you are in, but I doubt this is an kyakka12/02/15
"Just got back, and am finishing up with みん therealness09/24/15
*I* did, but I admit now I couldn't have translated a lot of jmck210510/03/15
What other Japanese language related jobs were you looking f therealness10/05/15
I'm not specifically looking at openings right now, but ther jmck210510/07/15
I feel like I need to clarify something. My prior post may jmck210510/09/15
therealness > are there any past / practice ALTA tests i can jpdoc109/24/15
There aren't any. The only way to get a feel of what alta is therealness09/24/15
Under The ALTA tests, how much does it help to know Supreme jorgedeclaro10/09/15
It really doesn't. The current test won't have you looking jmck210510/09/15
deleted parkym7712/24/15
Does anyone know if you have access to internet as well as G parkym7712/24/15
The only foreign-language doc reviews I've done that haven't shithead12/24/15
Some projects do have access like this, but you won't pass A kyakka02/25/16
Got contacted about a short term remote Japanese review toda jmck210503/04/16
Is the translation 和英 or 英和ʍ kyakka03/04/16
The source file is English, the translation is into Japanese jmck210503/04/16
Yeah, that's a mess. Most of us are non-natives - they shoul kyakka03/04/16
I was feeling like I could maybe do some simple responsivene jmck210503/04/16
Hi jmck2105 I'm interested in the jog if it's still open. kkenji03/12/16
Sorry, Kenji, by the time you responded it was closed. It w jmck210503/22/16
deleted parkym7701/14/16
Hello everyone, I've skimmed this conversation and it loo baxter02/05/16
I don't think so but if you can read of a major newpaper in Guest02/05/16
Hi, I have been reading the thread since early this year and akichan03/22/16
That's what I think. They ran it through a machine translat jmck210503/22/16
Inspired Review sounds so familiar.... That's it! akichan03/23/16
Correct me if I am wrong but you have taken and passed the J therealness03/25/16
My opinion is based on taking the test several times and not jmck210503/31/16
Hi, I came across this site while looking for information ab lic201604/06/16
I know this is a really old thread but I was looking for som reviewx08/13/17
I've been doing Japanese doc review for 2 years now, and my kp177609/11/17
I wonder if someone could posts a simple primer about how to boon07/13/18
My experience based on 3 years of doc review in NYC (most of kp177607/20/18
There are hardly any japanese doc review projects lately in kspk07/26/18
I'm a Japanese reviewer. I work mostly in LA and Chicago, bu nobrainer76511/08/18
Most foreign languages saw reduced volumes over the last few triplesix11/08/18

bengoshi (Jan 22, 2013 - 11:37 am)

Does anyone have experience with Japanese document reviews?

thanks

Reply
francescadarimini (Jan 22, 2013 - 12:15 pm)

I wish. They make at least $50/hour and can get up to $100/hour.

Reply
kyakka (Jan 24, 2013 - 10:12 am)

I do Japanese Document review. What's on your mind?

Reply
bengoshi (Jan 24, 2013 - 1:47 pm)

Kyakka,

I wanted to know if I am qualified for Japanese document review so I am hoping you answer the following questions for me.

1. Are native speakers the preference on Japanese document review projects? I passed JLPT2 but I am not confident in my language skills. Do you have to speak Japanese regularly on the projects? In addition, I can read a decent rate but not at the same level as english.

2. How competitive are these projects? Do they weed people out to get the very best individuals?

3. How is the job market in New York/DC/ California?

thanks

Reply
kyakka (Jan 24, 2013 - 4:26 pm)

1 - JPLT2 is hard to call, because the difference in difficulty between JLPT1 and JLPT2 is significant. However, none of the agencies know this test, to my knowledge. They will test you using ALTA's test. The ALTA tests can be hard, though there are 2 or 3 different ones. I have taken the hard one ("legal reading comprehension"), 7 or 8 times now. Since none of the recruiters are Japanese fluent (if they were, they'd probably be doing Japanese review), they can only test you and use your score to judge. "80%? That's all I need to know."

Reply
kyakka (Jan 24, 2013 - 4:28 pm)

ACK - it massively truncated my posting! ... I typed up a long reply. You'll have to wait, I guess, until I feel ready to retype all that stuff.

Reply
bengoshi (Jan 25, 2013 - 4:23 pm)

thanks.

Kyakka,

How many questions is the ALTA test?

Reply
kyakka (Jan 25, 2013 - 4:48 pm)

The ALTA test is 15 questions, 45 minutes, five questions per section. Each section is comprised of a squib from a US Supreme Court case, translated into Japanese. (This raises various problems, because the Japanese legal terms are not exact matches with US terms. But anyway...)

Returning to your post the other day:

> 2. How competitive are these projects? Do they weed people out to get the very best individuals?

In my experience competition is nonexistent. Conflicts can be a problem, but only on projects where one reviewer is needed do you see competition for slots. There's simply not enough of us for them to be particularly picky. Some projects have been notorious for weeding people out, and most of the larger projects I've been on have seen staff cuts based on ability, but the agencies that frequently staff foreign language reviews understand that they need the reviewers (and not vice versa), and so we are treated a good deal more respectfully and carefully than I find with "English reviewers."

> 3. How is the job market in New York/DC/ California?

DC is hot - the best market because of the federal government's unending criminalization of Asian business practices through vigorous anti-trust enforcement and aggressive FCPA practice (this last relatively rare for Japanese reviews). New York gets a fair number of projects - probably #2 on the list. However, the review environments in NYC seem less pleasant than what DC is like. California generally has a number of big reviews going at any time, because of the several West Coast law firms with lots of Asian clients (Morgan Lewis, Paul Hastings, etc.). However, you can wait a while longer between projects out West than seems to happen on the East Coast.

Reply
kyakka (Jan 25, 2013 - 4:55 pm)

More on the "quality/speed of review" domain:

Foreign language reviewers are frequently not natives and will argue, sometimes aggressively, with supervisors who insist they are reviewing too slowly. -- In fact, I know of one foreign language project where "New Supervisor" (NS) on Day One of the supervision, announced "I'm here to replace 'so-and-so' who was too soft on you guys." NS was promptly turned on by the whole group who said, basically, that NS was out of line. Word is that of 10 reviewers in the room, only one was quiet at that moment. NS backed off and was frequently found smoking on the rooftop terrace, peering into his phone. --

Because foreign language reviewers are much harder to find than "English reviewers" this and similar behavior is almost unpunishable.

While we're on story hour - a friend of mine is on a review where he walked out, and was called back within an hour, apologetically, by the staffing firm. He had left in a huff, when he was wrongfully singled out for timesheet errors.

Reply
francescadarimini (Jan 26, 2013 - 10:06 am)

Foreign language reviewers do tend to get away with more. I've seen supervisors put up with open drug use, alcoholism, very low production, and even questionable time cards. They get a bit more worked up about poor performance and time theft, but you can get away with almost anything if your performance is reasonable.

Reply
qwertyu (Jan 26, 2013 - 10:13 am)

Great information, kyakka.

I live in Japan, but I sometimes think of returning to the States for the sake of my kids. I'm pretty sure my Japanese is good enough for doc review -- I've done a fair amount of translation and written articles in Japanese with help -- but I've never taken any of the tests. Is there some way other than the ALTA test to estimate? Since I've been thinking about taking the JPLT 1 anyway, would that be a good indicator?

Reply
kyakka (Jan 27, 2013 - 9:43 am)

qwertyu:
From your description your Japanese is more than up to the task. Review is not the same as translating - and most of us reviewers turn down offers to be translators. There are many professional translators out there - quite a few of which do review work as well. Translation is serious mental heavy lifting (review is not, though it does have its challenges). I can't think of a single Japanese doc review attorney that would take a translation job.

Since no agencies understand what JLPT is, it won't be used to assess you. Of Japanese reviewers I know, I can only think of one who has passed JLPT1 (though I may know others).

The ALTA test is hard, but I'm pretty sure you'll do fine.

Reply
qwertyu (Jan 27, 2013 - 10:05 am)

I do translation jobs on the side -- its always been pretty good extra money -- but I think full-time translation work would get old very fast.

I don't have any experience doing doc review, so this is probably a stupid question, but does the Japanese doc review require one to be barred in the state where the review is conducted?

Reply
kyakka (Jan 30, 2013 - 11:15 am)

Reviews sometimes insist on certain licensing requirements. Whether they'll get them is based in market factors. I have the distinct feeling that some reviews have gone this way, and this would probably only be for big projects: Ads are posted "XX State Bar Attorneys only," then, a week later, "Any Bar Welcome!" then, in another week, "JDs welcome" (mostly aimed at the population of Japanese people in the US who are law school graduates but didn't take, or didn't pass, any bar exam), then "translators welcome." This is not as much of a joke as it may appear.

That said, in DC at least - and this is true of all reviews, not just Japanese - more and more firms are leaning towards "DC Barred" or "DC pending" (which last I've never seen defined). I think if you intend to do Japanese doc review in DC, you should seriously consider applying for the DC bar. It's easy to waive in, but if you are more than two years after your last bar exam then your MBEs have expired (if I understand correctly) and your waive-in route is then to wait until you have "practiced law for 5 years." Or, take the bar again (in which case I'd recommend taking a non-DC jurisdiction, so you can get a twofer). DC requires one CLE course ever, with no ongoing CLE requirements. So, it's basically a taxation/fee-raising scheme.

A recent review has required, for instance, CA bar, where the project was staffed out of LA. But I know of another there where they were taking any Bar, so long as you had one. In NYC it seems that the firms prefer to go with NY-barred folks. I think it depends on the firm.

Reply
bengoshi (Jan 27, 2013 - 10:57 am)

Qwertyu,

How is the legal market in Japan?

Reply
qwertyu (Jan 27, 2013 - 11:54 am)

I work at a Japanese university teaching undergrads law and history classes so my situation is a bit different from most. I used to be more active in the foreign legal community than I am now. However, to answer you question, I've met a few foreign attorneys who seemed to be doing pretty well. On the other hand, I've also been approached by several foreign attorneys looking for some way to combine their interest in Japan with their legal education. On the whole, I think it is a difficult place to get started.

Japan is different from the U.S. in that there are a number of level of legal professionals, all of which require different licenses. Recent reforms have increased the number of law school graduates (those at the highest level) and seems to have flooded the market. A few law schools have closed their doors and the rumor is to expect more.

Reply
kyakka (Jan 31, 2013 - 12:15 am)

I'll jump in here - though you didn't ask me.

Japanese law firms, even big ones, typically only keep one, maybe two, "foreign attorneys" on staff. The picture is complicated, however, by the presence in the firm's hierarchy of the US-admitted Japanese who are not Japanese bengoshi. Among the Japanese staff, they are, in my opinion, treated as "2nd-class lawyers." This stems from them not having passed the extremely difficult Japanese bar exam - but instead going the LLM route and passing the NY bar exam (it used to be NY, typically, anyhow).

The hierarchy in the larger Japanese firms appears to be: bengoshi > benrishi > Japanese nationals admitted only in the US >= foreign attorneys > "legal editors" (who may be admitted in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, etc., but are not considered "foreign attorneys" and who do tasks like translation editing, correspondence with foreign counsel, etc., and do not meet with clients). "Foreign attorneys" are paid quite a bit better than the legal editor type attorneys.

Outside of this hierarchy are the foreign law firms (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Linklaters, Morrison | Foerster, etc.). Practice in these firms is essentially identical to that of their offices elsewhere. In my belief, attorneys in foreign firms look down, a bit, on fellow foreigners working in Japanese firms, even if they are "foreign attorneys" but this is not because these people are seen as lacking in smarts, diligence or the like. It's because Japanese law firms restrict these "foreign attorneys" access to opportunities to practice substantive law. (Not to mention that it seems lawyers the world over always think their firm is uniquely awesome at providing them with challenging and broad practice opportunities.)

Also, in my experience, attorneys from abroad (meaning in foreign firms like those above), see Japanese bengoshi, very often, as sloppy practitioners, because, in my opinion, they find that the practice of law in Japan is more forgiving of attorney sloppiness than it is in the US.

The in-house experience is very different, and I have no insight into what it's like in a purely Japanese company's legal department. I can say, with confidence, that the attorneys that work in large foreign companies, even ones that are very Japanized (like, say, IBM Japan), are highly competent and as good as any you'll find anywhere. But it remains true that many large multinationals have no or only one admitted attorney in their legal departments in Japan. The companies you have heard of which have no admitted attorneys in their Legal Departments would really surprise you.

Some foreigners get good positions as in-house counsel in local companies with an international eye. These are not the types of in-house positions you'd find at large multinationals, though. I have little idea what this type of practice is like. One of my teachers in Japan was responsible for all non-Japanese clients contracts. He traveled like a madman and reported to a Japanese bengoshi whose job was ... all domestic contracts. Quite the worksharing arrangement...

I know attorneys admitted in the US who have only practiced in Japan, and it has really worked out great for them. I know attorneys in Japan who practiced in the US and are dying to get more substantive work on their desks. Some of them worry that when they do get back to the US they'll have little to show on their resumes in terms of substantive experience compared to their compatriots at foreign firms.

It also seems to be true that there are few foreign attorneys that are highly proficient in Japanese. Perhaps those that are can achieve different things in Japan?

Reply
nyjpjd (Jan 26, 2013 - 10:44 am)

I have done a fair amount of Japanese document review and I also manage and staff cases. The one thing I would caution against is relying on the work as a full time career. The work can undoubtedly be incredibly lucrative at times but it is driven by several factors affecting the limited supply of Japanese reviewers in the states. Most of the work is in response to investigations by the Justice Department which has been focusing on Japanese companies for antitrust violations in the last two years. This trend may or may not continue. Some of the larger civil lawsuits that have absorbed many J-reviewers for years are slowly coming to an end. I know some people who have steadily done J-review work for years but some of them may be out of work for several months at a time without knowing when they will work again. Conflicts are the main problem as much of this work is interrelated.

Reply
kyakka (Jan 27, 2013 - 9:51 am)

Yes, it is true that the work can have dry spells. I think there are also more small little projects going on that are not advertised, than we realize. For instance I was called in for 6 days on one recently, as the only "reviewer." The job wasn't actually review, it was just that the firm needed a fluent attorney to help their case team understand their repository better. At most there were two other attorneys who knew of this opportunity and it was not advertised.

I think the US Fed'l Gov't will continue to press Antitrust cases because now they see how big a revenue stream it is. (As an analogy: I heard from an attorney here in DC that FCPA fines were the US Fed'l Gov't's 3rd largest revenue stream! If there's one thing I believe to be true about gov't it's that once it finds a source of money, it will shake that tree until all the leaves, and a few branches, are gone.) I think also that because DOJ is essentially criminalizing Asian cultural habits, the work will persist.

But back to the dry spells - who cares? If you're worried pick up an English gig in between Japanese projects. As for me, I relish my time off.

Reply
jc19 (Jan 26, 2013 - 11:01 am)

They will test you

Reply
kyakka (Mar 7, 2013 - 1:35 am)

UPDATE:
Yes they will!

Recently I took two of the new ALTA tests for Japanese. What was before 45 minutes is now 30 - which was an unexpected, and unwelcome, surprise. Also, they now have a 60-minute exam, and it's tough. Hard to finish on time, and difficult to prepare for. It tests your reading ability across such a wide spectrum of reading material that it's significantly harder than doing doc review itself.

I asked the recruiter who sent it along about it afterwards and was told, "We take these things with a grain of salt."

My guess is that this will make it harder for some new people to enter into the line of work, and perhaps move jobs towards translators. Older hands who have experience will be able to rely on their track record, hopefully.

Ironically, it may make agencies use the test less, or not want to assign it as often, because it could mean rejecting otherwise solid candidates.

Reply
kyakka (Jan 27, 2013 - 10:00 am)

Re: Conflicts

Conflicts is a concern that nyjpjd is right to raise. My overall advice would be: do not work for the "other side" ever (fed'l gov't, particularly DOJ, though I'm pretty sure the more aggressive DAs that get involved in enforcement in ways that have global reach would do bad things to your conflicts, too (NYC being the obvious one here)); try and pick projects that promise longer reviews (you don't want to get conf'd out of a large investigation by gigs that only last a week or a few days).

For instance, there are still "wire harness" investigations going on now and many of us are conflicted out of the overall investigation by this time - but of those many, some got multi-month gigs and some of us have worked over two years on the same gig!

Toyota appears to be winding down, but then again, if flat-screen is any indication, these things go on to secondary, tertiary and quaternary litigations which take years to work their way through. Some Japanese reviewers still haven't worked on flat-screen, so there's still people available to do that work.

Reply
bengoshi (Jan 27, 2013 - 10:56 am)

Kyakka,

How long have you been studying/ learning Japanese?

Also, what are some of the common difficulties that you face during the translation part of document review?

Thanks. Your reponses have been very informative.

Reply
kyakka (Jan 30, 2013 - 11:31 am)

I started studying Japanese at age 19 in college and kept studying for about 5 years straight, when I passed JLPT1. I ended up living there for 4 years, teaching English at first. I did undergrad and law school study abroad in Tokyo, as well. In fact, a significant portion of the Japanese doc review community has cycled through the Temple Law semester in Tokyo. Even with JLTP1 and lots of study, I have found that one year of Japanese doc review improved my reading immeasurably. Now I keep thinking I can read very well, and then I'll pick up a novel and find it quite hard. I guess that reading corporate emails and excel spreadsheets, as good as the training has been, hasn't taught me how to read Soseki or Tanizaki. Ah well...

As for translation, I have refused the work when asked to do it as part of review. There are various reasons, but mainly it's because it's harder work than review and also there are many professional translators who have much more experience, and I know that they would be better at it than me. Also, as an aside, I wonder that if I translate and make a mistake, whether that would be a bigger problem since I'm admitted. Most translation work comes near the end of the review, unless it's a very big project, when they have a tidy pool of "hot documents." So, the gig is probably almost up anyhow.

Reputationally, it's also easier to mess yourself up translating: "does this really mean he meant to bribe the guy or does this simply mean he was giving a seasonal gift?" So, do you want to be on the wrong side of this judgment call, as an attorney?

Reply
bengoshi (Jan 31, 2013 - 8:55 am)

Kyakka,

Thank you for the responses including your insight on the Japanese legal market (likewise Qwertyu).

Sorry to follow up with more questions but I was curious about the following:

1. Is it possible to gain substantive work in Japanese document review since it is only a select few that perform the work? Or is document review the same for everyone?

2. What are your exit options after document review? What is the next step that you hope to take in your legal career? Performing J-review means you are making BigLaw money without the hours/ stress. So, that would be difficult to pass up. Have you tried going in house with Japanese companies in New York/ California/ Michigan?

3. How did you study for the JLPT 1? I do not plan on taking the exam but I am always trying to improve my Japanese language skills. Did you put an emphasis on grammar points and Kanji?

thanks

Reply
kyakka (Jan 31, 2013 - 9:49 pm)

1 - I think doc review is pretty much doc review everywhere. You might be asked, after establishing a reputation at a firm or with an agency, to do additional tasks (translation being the most likely).

That said, I do know a couple of Japanese doc reviewers that traveled with their firm's case team to trial and spent a month in a hotel, reading the opposing side's exhibits and such, even talking about different documents during the trial itself (front row seats), but I think this is quite unusual. I'd love to have that kind of experience myself. I have met with associates, and occasionally partners, to talk about "hot documents" or discuss ways to better search a repository. These meetings are not so common, though.

2 - The exit option is a toughie, in a way. I find that there seem to be two types of attorneys doing Japanese doc review: A) refugees from BigLaw-type partner-track jobs who never want to go back; B) attorneys with no such experience who want to try it (or at least are probably curious about it). Trying to go in-house with a Japanese company is actually a pretty cool idea - hadn't considered that. I know there are firms that have Japanese business-oriented practices. I would imagine that such firms might hire people with Japanese doc review experience.

3 - The test is very different today, I think, than when I took it. So, I don't feel that I can give really useful advice. However, my interest in the test was peripheral to my interest in being "good at Japanese." First of all let's acknowledge here that it's a badly designed test - and probably was even worse then. It used to be the case that Chinese natives that didn't speak Japanese at all well could pass it, skating along on their knowledge of Chinese characters. Meanwhile people who weren't from a culture where they grew up learning Chinese characters could speak well, and fail the test.

I never emphasized kanji. I picked them up slowly here and there. At my best, at that time, I could read the Nikkei. If you want to be proficient, in my view, you have to record your lessons and listen to them. I also know another person who memorized TV characters' lines and acted them out. That's a great way to do it. It's very helpful to be of the disposition where when you don't understand something it just bugs you. For mastery of modern Japanese outside of writing (i.e., grammatical patterns in speech), you must refer to Professor Eleanor Jorden's 'Japanese: The Spoken Language' series. In my long experience, there's simply no comparison. Students of her books are better speakers, period. For learning the "bumpou" weirdness that is tested in JLPT1, just buy a book that teaches the words and work through it.

Reply
secondcareerlawyer (Feb 1, 2013 - 10:15 am)

Kyakka, I am curious. How hard is it to learn Japanese if one already knows traditional Chinese characters?

Slightly off topic, when I was in undergrad I met some Japanese exchange students from South America. Neither they or I knew any Japanese and their English was negligible. So we communicated in Spanish or Portuguese. Passerby thought it was amusing to see a group of Asian people all talking together in those languages.

Reply
tkjdf4sbe (Feb 1, 2013 - 10:47 am)

....

Reply
kyakka (Feb 1, 2013 - 12:33 pm)

There is a population of Chinese-fluent reviewers that find their way into Japanese review (for pay reasons). Frequently they don't speak Japanese, though sometimes they do. I have reservations about their ability to follow the nuances of the language, however. In some projects this doesn't matter most of the time, I'll grant.

Knowing the traditional characters would be helpful, but wouldn't help at all in acquiring the grammar. Japanese grammar is utterly different from Chinese grammar. For instance: wo shi meiguo ren [lit. 'I be-verb america person'], would be 'watashi wa amerikajin desu' [lit. 'I, at least, america-person (politely).'] In the Japanese sentence, the Chinese-fluent reader could probably decipher the character being used as "I" - or at least would figure it out quickly, and then see no be-verb. The grammatical elements would be in hiragana. The sentence 'watashi wa amerikajin ja nai desu.' [I, at least, america-person not (politely)] would appear the same, to the person who knew no Japanese grammar but could read Chinese characters.

Japanese grammar has a different way of handling time than Chinese, though counters/classifiers are roughly the same and many 4-character phrases (si zi cheng yu) are shared (though the young don't seem to use these very much). Politeness is very refined and quite complex in Japanese, and Chinese comes nowhere near this level of complexity. There are huge cultural gaps between the two languages, and failure to grasp Japanese culture will greatly limit the student's ability to advance beyond intermediate levels.

Japanese has "particles," abstract grammatical words that indicate the function of a word in a sentence. Proper grasp of them is essential to advanced skill, and knowledge of Chinese would be of no assistance here.

Reply
tkjdf4sbe (Jan 31, 2013 - 9:30 am)

....

Reply
rlerma21 (Jan 30, 2014 - 11:59 pm)

Hey I was wondering if u could answer a question for me. I took japanese for two years in highschoolbut never really paid attention. I'm 27 now and currently doing english doc review work. I'm fluent in tagalog (filipino) and am seriously considering studying japanese to become fluent enough to do jap doc reviews. I love watching anime and I have a jap rosetta stone. Do u think I could start with the rosetta stone and work my way from there to passing the alta test? If not what method do u recommend using to become fluent and how long do u think it would take?

Reply
kyakka (Nov 19, 2015 - 4:16 pm)

This is so old as to be probably irrelevant now, but I'll reply here. I'd say Rosetta stone won't do - the approach is too far from the work (and the ALTA test).

Regarding time I can't say. You're already multi-lingual so I'd expect decent progress. Grab a good textbook (good luck finding one!), and then start reading newspaper articles until you have a generally broad ability to read.

Reply
mm1917 (Mar 13, 2015 - 4:03 pm)

Is it harder to get Japanese doc review jobs if you are not of Japanese descent? I learned Japanese while my father was in the military and have done English document review for about six months now. I didn't realize there was a market for Japanese document review and I didn't think I would be clickign documents this long. I am trying to break into this market, but not sure if they will take me seriously (I am Hispanic). I have passed the ALTA test and feel comfortable with my skill set. Any feedback?

Reply
kyakka (Apr 29, 2015 - 2:43 pm)

There are comparatively few JDoc reviewers that are of Japanese descent. That is never an obstacle. Which city are you in?

Reply
nyctemp (May 1, 2015 - 2:14 pm)

If you don't mind me asking -how much do the top performers make a year?

Reply
kyakka (Jun 2, 2015 - 11:37 am)

Pay has only gone up in the last few years. This is because of steady work in fed'l gov't antitrust investigations, on top of the regular load of patent and contract cases. A few large projects have continued to staff, taking the market to an essentially "no one available" state, from which new projects struggle to staff at all. To my knowledge, all existing projects are looking for people. It is a "seller's market."

In DC, projects are commanding anywhere from the now-legacy $85 (with O/T), to $100 (no O/T). I believe that pay will only increase in the next couple of years because of a looming set of Japanese cases in antitrust (as well as the airbag recall case(s?) which may be a very big deal). Meanwhile, new projects continue to try and staff. Some are the product of unprofessional outfits' "dynamic" sales teams, which have sold a bill of goods to law firms ("Yeah, we'll get you a team of locally admitted attorneys clicking Japanese documents starting next Monday!" - what must recently have been the conversation for a Friday-evening ad promising a Monday start [the mind boggles]). Few are apparently willing to tell partners that they can't staff according to their usual "whatever we want is the way it's going to be" approach. Professional outfits will not oversell.

As to whether there are any "top performers" in our field: There are some who are better than others, but in the end, it's "just doc review" after all. If your language skills are up to snuff, and you are capable of understanding and applying guidance, then the only significant difference is reading speed. (There's a reason doc review is only done by 1st- and 2nd-year associates: it ain't rocket science). Some have commanded $120/hr, but we're not that far from there now, and we'll likely see it again, considering that LIBOR may also blow up. If a big M&A case hits in this environment (30-day deadlines, right?) all hell could break loose.

If you passed the ALTA test, the doc review world could be your oyster. But staff with agencies that are professional. Don't just respond to any old ad. Reach out and try and find out who's good in your city. My own recommendation is to stay away from "translation agencies" that run reviews. One of the largest ones, in particular, is a beehive of management mediocrity.

Reply
therealness (Jul 4, 2015 - 8:45 am)

I am not sure if you are familiar with the recent JLPT exams but what reading level do you think is enough to pass ALTA? If I were to pass the reading section on a N3 exam, do you think I would be able to pass ALTA or should I aim for a N2 level of reading proficiency?

What kind of books or study tips would you recommend for someone who has completed an intermediate Japanese textbook like Tobira or An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese? Should I just start reading N3 level reading materials as much as I can? Or should I find another Japanese level textbook to get to a N2 level (and if so, which book?)?

Is it necessary to be able to actually speak Japanese for these projects? I have done some Portuguese document review and while the vast majority of clients just need people to read it, there are some clients that request document reviewers to actually speak it.

What is your rate of reading Japanese like? I have heard from some non native Japanese language readers/translators that they can only read Japanese at 60-70% of their English reading speed. Is that normal? I am curious because I can read Spanish and Portuguese about 90 -95% of my rate of reading English and I don't want to discourage myself from taking the exam if I read Japanese slow.

Reply
kyakka (Aug 4, 2015 - 3:29 pm)

Didn't check here for a while, so sorry for the delay.

I don't know the current JLPT. I would think, though, that what I used to know as 2級 would not be enough. If the test is like it used to be, the gap in difficulty between 2級 & 1級 was pretty severe. (Even the 漢字検定 has this problem, that's why they have stuff like 準1級).

Regarding speaking, there are reviewers that don't speak well, or don't speak comfortably. Some "refuse" to speak. On the other hand, I know there are some reviewers who tend to find this a bit "suspicious."

Clients may ask for speaking ability, but it's a meaningless thing. Only a very few of us would take on, for instance, interpreting requests. Actually, it's not worth it to take these on. Interpreting is a specialized skill, very different from review, requiring a certain type of language ability quite beyond that needed for review.

Regarding reading speed, that's always going to be slower for non-natives (with the possible exceptions of Korean and Chinese natives). I don't know how much more slowly I read in Japanese, but I know it is considerably slower. Even so, I could pass the test.

Regarding the test, the only way to know is to take it!

Reply
kp1776 (Jul 5, 2015 - 7:55 am)

I'd also like to know the answer to this question. Got my Bar admittance a couple years back, and have been living in Japan the last few years teaching English. I'm heading back to the States next month, hoping to get one of these Japanese doc. review jobs. I can read a Japanese newspaper pretty well (enough to get the gist, at least), but there's usually quite a few words I don't know yet, and I therefore usually need a dictionary to get all the details. Grammar-wise, I feel I'm solid; but I struggle a little with detailed vocabulary. Trying to learn as much business and legal vocab as possible through flashcards and stuff, though; but it's really hard to know how much is enough.

It's really frustrating not knowing much about what the ALTA test is like, since that test is obviously the gateway to these jobs, but there doesn't seem to be any way to prepare for it, or to even know much about what's on it or how much vocab you need to pass it. I feel like I'm studying for the bar exam all over again, but this time without having any idea of what the test is like or what's going to be tested.

So any more info about the test or what your Japanese level needs to be to pass it would be very much appreciated!

Reply
kyakka (Aug 4, 2015 - 3:35 pm)

If you can read the newspaper, you should be OK. The test is kinda hard, but really, you should just take it, again and again, until you pass. The agencies have no other way to evaluate your ability. Also, the test is weird - the stuff they ask about is odd. It's hard, but you should just take it and keep taking it until you pass. Really, the alternative should be unacceptable if you're that close. JUST DO IT.

Legal vocab won't get you through the test, so don't bother with that. They changed the test about 18 months ago - though I haven't take it in a while - and it's more a general test of your ability to read broadly (think, 'words a college graduate would have seen').

The agencies know it's unfair. Also, some agencies don't test! JUST TAKE IT.

Reply
therealness (Jul 6, 2015 - 8:54 am)

I have taken ALTA for Spanish and Portuguese. If you can read at an intermediate/high intermediate level, that is enough to pass. And if you can read a newspaper in your target language you should definitely take it. ALTA is 8 passages, 25 questions, 1 hour to complete. There are two forms of the test. There's the standard test which only tests your ability to read and is pretty fair. Then there is the legal reading test which is more difficult. The passages you read aren't court cases or anything like that. They are typically editorials or newspaper articles. You don't need to know a lot of business or legal terms. You don 'to even need to know a lot of business and legal terms for document review itself since you are mostly reading e-mails and have access to the internet. You don't have to get 100 percent on the exam. More like a 70 or 75 or higher. It depends on the client. If you fail, no big deal. Japanese projects come along so frequently you'll have plenty of opportunities to take it again.

Reply
kp1776 (Jul 7, 2015 - 7:57 am)

Thanks. That's very helpful. I've heard the Japanese Test is a little different, however. One of the commentators in this thread says the Japanese test they use for legal doc. reviewers is several blurbs from US Supreme Court cases, translated into Japanese, and that they give you more like 35-40 min or so. Which is why I'm anxious. Also, I don't know what level of detail they'll demand in the questions--because that could be a potential problem for me.

I suspect you're right that the test is probably much harder than it needs to be considering what they usually have you doing in doc. review (reading emails and so on)--though I wouldn't know: I've never done doc. review before, even in English.

I've started sending out resumes for these jobs, and so far I got one response declining my application, while explicitly telling me that the mere ability to read a newspaper in Japanese does not rise to the lofty level of fluency they demand of their reviewers. I'm not sure what level of fluency in Japanese they think they're going to get, or how many of such lawyers they think are out there, but whatever. Like you say, there's always more Japanese jobs to apply to. I wrote "Proficient in Business Japanese" on my resume (not wanting to oversell myself); I guess I'll just change that to "Fluent in Japanese" the next time I apply so they'll let me sit for the test.

Reply
kyakka (Aug 4, 2015 - 3:40 pm)

The newer test is not the one with the three SCOTUS squibs. It's longer and harder now.

Yes, Doc Review is easier than the test - and you can also rely on online dictionaries, or take one to work, for most reviews. Because of work requirements, Japanese reviewers usually are granted full and free internet access.

Any agency that says "the mere ability to read a newspaper in Japanese does not rise to the lofty level of fluency [we] demand of [our] reviewers" is full of it! Skip this outfit. There are good agencies and they know the work. Go to the quality shops (don't use the translation shops). Most of the work is in DC, though NYC and SF have big projects, too. My suggestion is pick one of these three and register with the bigger local outfits.

Whoever it is, tell them you're ready for the test. In this environment, they'd be utter fools to not test you. You've seen the ads, right?

Reply
kp1776 (Jul 11, 2015 - 3:28 am)

Just took one of the tests online, and damn it was hard. You were right, it is a bunch of newspaper and news article material (at least the one I took); but, at 8 passages in 60 minutes, it was all I could do just to read them all within the allotted time, let alone answer 3-4 very hard questions on each.

The time limit was really tough to keep up with, and the questions were not simple find-the-answer-in-the-text type questions. Rather, they were like: "What do you think the author's occupation is?"--stuff you have to really understand the whole piece in order to answer correctly. They didn't show me my score at the end (that gets sent directly to the employer and it's up to them to get back to you), so I don't know how I did, but I'm not terribly optimistic.

Reply
therealness (Jul 12, 2015 - 9:12 am)

Yes, that sounds about right. Even if you know what the article is saying, the questions are a pain because they don't ask you direct questions from the text. Rather, you have to read between the lines and find out what the author is inferring.

If the recruiter doesn't respond back to you, it usually means that you failed. However, I would e-mail them to find out the score. If you scored high, but missed the cut off my two or three points, it will at least will inspire you to take the test again.

Also keep in mind that if you pass the exam for one agency, you won't have to take the exam with that agency again. And some Japanese document review projects last for years. In fact, if you keep proof of your passing score, other agencies may not require you to take it again since it costs them money to administer ALTA.

Reply
kyakka (Aug 4, 2015 - 3:44 pm)

In the current environment, you could go and take the test again at another agency very quickly - probably even the same day.

Don't be discouraged. Keep trying. I know good reviewers who have a hard time passing the test. They do find work, but it's harder.

In the current environment, though, with way too much work to go around, you might be able to find an agency that won't test you. Continue registering with as many agencies as you can.

Reply
kp1776 (Aug 8, 2015 - 2:25 am)

Thanks for all the advice and encouragement! The agency I tested for got back to me and said I got a 60% on the test, which they described as "passing" but not high. I've heard from other agencies that they like to see at least a 70%. However, the agency said they might still have some work for me at the end of this month, even in spite of my relatively low score. It could just be something they say to everyone, but I'm hopeful.

Also, I'm moving from Japan to NY next week, and am due to take the test again at another agency in Manhattan. If I pass, I've been offered a job that's likely to go on for a year or more at $88 an hour (which seems a bit low, but considering the length of the gig and that it's my first doc review job, I'm happy to take it). Been studying kanji and reading newspaper articles and stuff like that as much as possible to prepare, but things are hectic with the big move ahead in a few days. Ganbarimasu!

Reply
kyakka (Nov 19, 2015 - 4:19 pm)

So, did you take it again since August? You're close - if you're still struggling, keep at it, it's only a matter of time. Either 1) You'll get on a review through an agency that doesn't test, 2) you'll pass the test, or 3) you'll get put on a project anyhow. Either way you'll learn that review is different from the test and you'll get one under your belt.

Reply
jmck2105 (Sep 5, 2015 - 1:39 pm)

Hi everyone, sorry to jump in and hijack someone else's thread but I'm also a Japanese Learner. Licensed in one state so far - not NYC, DC or CA. So far I've got almost 2 years of review experience.

I looked for other stuff previously, but all the job offers I got had ridiculously low rates of pay. I'd make MORE doing Doc Review, even English language without OT or special skills.

So I did DR for a while on the east coast in the $25/hr markets, then went to Japan for 9 months in an immersion program. Just got back, and am finishing up with みんなのにほんご and have already passed JLPTN4. I took the ALTA test for 2 firms so far and scored a 56 on one of them, scoring it at a level 8. They say "some" projects might take that score, but "most" want level 9 or higher - which I heard was around 70-80? One of the firms I took it for said that they check for ALTA levels 8-10. "Some" projects will take an 8, "most" will take a 9, and "all" will take a 10.

My overall opinion is that - Doc Review or not - Japanese is a valuable skill that can get me higher pay and better opportunities in and out of DR.

I'm here to ask you guys a question or two.

Near as I can figure, another 6 months of immersive study - which I'll have to work and save for a year to afford - would get me to a Level 9. At which point I'd be able to reliably get J-language reviews and might get in the door to some real positions too. But in the course of that year, daily independent study might raise me up to that level anyway. Especially if I get a tutor once a week.

Tutors and night classes seem to be readily available in DC, NYC, etc. The big, expensive cities. Not so much in the areas I've been working. I've got all the books for Genki and Minna no Nihongo, and have ordered Intermediate and Advanced and JLPT study books to continue my private study. I can study for about an hour or two a day when I'm on-project, and I'm currently traveling for short-term work while trying to find a solid, long-term multiple-month project which will allow me to save money.

Here's where the question comes. Is it better to go ahead and - if I can get a solid long-term project paying enough (I figure 50 hours a week should be enough to save money and still have time to study) is it better to go ahead to NYC/DC area since that's where the foreign work is anyway? Or to stay in the lower-cost areas on a 45 hour week while I study?

Best thing, I know, would be to go back on immersion. But I can't afford it right now. I figure there's no reason not to continue study while I'm working to save up to go back. Either I hit Level 9 while saving up, or I save up and go back and learn enough to hit Level 9 when I go back.

I'd really appreciate any advice as I try to figure out the best way to make it work.

Reply
jmck2105 (Nov 19, 2015 - 9:52 pm)

I have saved a few thousand and am going to take the winter off to study full-time while staying with family. I'm going to try and advance until Spring, maybe Summer depending on how things go, and take the ALTA again without going back to Japan.

Studying while working has not allowed me to progress much - I just don't have enough time to devote. I've only completed four new lessons in 2 months. I would have completed that in 2 weeks in Japan.

Current plan: Work my current project, when it ends go home and study for Level 9. Work Level 9 - use the money to get licensed in NY and CA and use those scores to waive into DC. Use the money to fund going back to Japan if I want to master it further. Use the money to fund a private practice and build a specialty in import/export and shipping, and try to land some clients in that area.

Reply
kyakka (Nov 20, 2015 - 2:51 pm)

Your dedication is admirable. 頑張ってください。

Regarding NY & CA licensure, you may decide later it's not really necessary. There are some situations where you might not get hired for review, but in the end, it's being admitted somewhere that's most important. Keep in mind how tight our labor market is. At any rate, focus on the Japanese skills for the moment.

Reply
jmck2105 (Nov 20, 2015 - 3:50 pm)

The licenses are more for the non review work I want to do on the side to build experience that can lead to a successful import/export practice or a State Department job.

Reply
jmck2105 (Dec 25, 2015 - 12:42 pm)

Project starting Jan 4 projected for multiple years. $23 per hour. Take it and study 10 hours a week or take 3-6 months off to study full time 40+ hours a week so I can do Japanese work? Thoughts?

Reply
jpdoc1 (Sep 22, 2015 - 4:37 pm)

I'm at a Catch-22. How do you get Japanese doc review experience when no one in the industry is willing to give you a doc review because you lack experience.

Reply
bittersweet (Sep 23, 2015 - 6:43 pm)

The same way that English doc reviewers get experience when employers are demanding experience - you wait for them to be busy enough to waive that restriction.

Reply
kyakka (Dec 2, 2015 - 3:45 pm)

I don't know which market you are in, but I doubt this is an issue. There is such tightness in the labor market that if you register in enough places, you'll get hired if you pass the ALTA test. It really is that simple. If you insist on working or living in a location not known for JDoc, then your opportunities will be reduced, possibly very significantly.

Reply
therealness (Sep 24, 2015 - 7:33 am)

"Just got back, and am finishing up with みんなのにほんご and have already passed JLPTN4. I took the ALTA test for 2 firms so far and scored a 56 on one of them, scoring it at a level 8."

You can score that high only off of a N4 level of reading? I am just trying to get an idea how difficult the ALTA exam is for this.

Reply
jmck2105 (Oct 3, 2015 - 3:57 pm)

*I* did, but I admit now I couldn't have translated a lot of what I was reading. I was able to get the general meaning based on what I already know of the documents and question/answers and make educated guesses.

I'll be honest, I'm not actually far enough that *I* feel comfortable (though I've found one or two projects that would have taken me) doing it yet, but I am right now studying about an hour a day while doing English review and saving to go back. I'm hoping to save enough to go back for another 6 months by mid-2016.

But it's really KANJI heavy, and right now Kanji is a relatively weak point for me. My spoken is much better.

Reply
therealness (Oct 5, 2015 - 3:41 pm)

What other Japanese language related jobs were you looking for? Firm jobs? I thought about going to Japan to improve my speaking but am uncertain how useful it would be if all I am doing is document review. Document review seems to be the vast majority of Japanese language attorney jobs I see posted online. I don't think I would need to go abroad if all I wanted to do is read a foreign language.

Reply
jmck2105 (Oct 7, 2015 - 1:25 pm)

I'm not specifically looking at openings right now, but there are several areas I'm interested in working in. Working with the federal government, the State Dept, the UN, or firms doing international transactions work would be interesting and lucrative.

You have to be licensed with 3 years to get permission to practice in Japan as a foreign consulting attorney. You can look up the info online if you're interested. My opinion is that, depending on where you're starting from, it's possible to learn through self-study here (but hard to advance as quickly while you're working or otherwise can't study full-time) if all you need is the reading. But to master the use of it - particularly in speaking? You'll never advance as fast as you will in immersion, and studying by yourself here (even with a tutor) will not help you master using it like immersion.

Reply
jmck2105 (Oct 9, 2015 - 12:17 am)

I feel like I need to clarify something. My prior post may have given a mistaken impression.

*I* am not a "N4 level". I have PASSED N4 and studying for the N3 level - it would be more accurate to say that you can get a Level 8, reasonably, with an N3 level. An N2, from what I can tell, should get you a Level 9.

Reply
jpdoc1 (Sep 24, 2015 - 12:55 pm)

therealness > are there any past / practice ALTA tests i can find online to get a better idea what kind of questions they have?

Reply
therealness (Sep 24, 2015 - 6:27 pm)

There aren't any. The only way to get a feel of what alta is like is by taking it. You should be able to pass with an intermediate reading level. However, the test is poorly written and even many native speakers cannot understand it and often fail it. Even if you can read well, you may need to take it a few (or several) times to pass it.

Reply
jorgedeclaro (Oct 9, 2015 - 12:53 am)

Under The ALTA tests, how much does it help to know Supreme Court decisions? I know zero Japanese and will never take the ALTA test, but is there a tip off about the content? For example, if I could determine that the Alta question was abut "Hill v. Colorado" because there is no Japanese word for Colorado, I could figure out that the questions are likely about content neutral v. viewpoint discrimination and time place and manner and intermediate scrutiny v, strict scrutiny.

Is this helpful or does the test mask this problem in some regard?

Reply
jmck2105 (Oct 9, 2015 - 8:20 pm)

It really doesn't. The current test won't have you looking at cases, but things like letters and articles and news announcements. It won't be asking you about the law, but looking for your ability to understand the meaning of what is being said and what is being asked when you read a document. Heavily, heavily kanji-oriented. I actually am convinced it's possible to pass it with a relatively limited true vocabulary and grammar command, as long as you know sufficient Kanji.

Reply
parkym77 (Dec 24, 2015 - 12:30 pm)

deleted

Reply
parkym77 (Dec 24, 2015 - 12:31 pm)

Does anyone know if you have access to internet as well as Google translator while working on Japanese document reviews? I passed Japanese ALTA test, but I still feel like my Japanese is not proficent enough, so using Google translator is really inevitable for me. I know Google translator does not translate well at all, but that would help alot at the same time. I've heard that some firms block reviewers from using Internet or Google translator. Please let me know if any of you know the answer. Thank you so so much in advance!

Reply
shithead (Dec 24, 2015 - 2:03 pm)

The only foreign-language doc reviews I've done that haven't permitted online translation machines (e.g., Google, Linguee) have been a few Spanish ones, where coders are almost as fungible as they are on English reviews.

Reply
kyakka (Feb 25, 2016 - 5:13 pm)

Some projects do have access like this, but you won't pass ALTA if you need this as backup. Some of the sketchier agencies will place you without testing you, but ...

Also, some review platforms block Cut-and-Paste, so how would you enter the characters anyhow? You wouldn't know the readings, in that case.

Generally, though, internet access is allowed for Japanese reviewers.

Reply
jmck2105 (Mar 4, 2016 - 2:52 pm)

Got contacted about a short term remote Japanese review today, but when I got the documents it wasn't standard Document Review. It was "Here's the English document, and the Japanese document, we need you to verify the translation is correct and make any changes/corrections."

I'm having to write them back and inform them that while I might be able to do standard type document review, I'm not able to do that kind of foreign language editing in Japanese. Especially not on the timetable in question. If anyone else is online and wants it, though, respond and I'll give you the company and person to contact to do it.

Reply
kyakka (Mar 4, 2016 - 3:32 pm)

Is the translation 和英 or 英和?

Reply
jmck2105 (Mar 4, 2016 - 3:41 pm)

The source file is English, the translation is into Japanese.

Reply
kyakka (Mar 4, 2016 - 3:43 pm)

Yeah, that's a mess. Most of us are non-natives - they should hire a translator instead.

Reply
jmck2105 (Mar 4, 2016 - 3:50 pm)

I was feeling like I could maybe do some simple responsiveness/issue reviewing, since my skills have been growing as I've been studying and it couldn't be THAT complicated a matter if they were on that timetable, but I am definitely not comfortable reviewing a translation for changes/corrections. I had to e-mail them back letting them know that, I hope it doesn't shoot me in the foot for future review work.

Would have been better if they'd been clearer up front about what they were looking for.

I think they want a live person to go over a machine translated document for corrections.

Reply
kkenji (Mar 12, 2016 - 7:06 pm)

Hi jmck2105

I'm interested in the jog if it's still open. Please let me know the contact information.
Thanks for your help.

Reply
jmck2105 (Mar 22, 2016 - 11:19 am)

Sorry, Kenji, by the time you responded it was closed. It was a next-day kind of thing.

Reply
parkym77 (Jan 14, 2016 - 10:56 am)

deleted

Reply
baxter (Feb 5, 2016 - 2:45 pm)

Hello everyone,

I've skimmed this conversation and it looks like I'm in the right place for my question.

Is there a PDF or something I can use to study for ALTA?

I'm suddenly on my way to a great JD review position and I want to be sure I can pass that test, but I've never heard of ALTA or seen it before.

My Japanese skill is pretty strong, but I don't have a lot of experience with japanese legal terms. I just want to walk in there and make it clear I'm a good choice for the position.

Thanks in advance for your guidance!

Reply
Guest (Feb 5, 2016 - 3:04 pm)

I don't think so but if you can read of a major newpaper in the language quick enough while understanding the gist of the article you will do fine.

Reply
akichan (Mar 22, 2016 - 3:24 pm)

Hi, I have been reading the thread since early this year and hope you don't mind I join, though I am not an attorney or JD. I am originally from Japan and moved to Southern California many years ago. I was a full-time tax accountant for a long time to make my living here as a CPA. My English isn't perfect, I admit. I am working on my paralegal certificate now and trying to get document review jobs in the future.
jmck2105, I received the same translation assignment on 3/4/16 via email from the east coast. I was looking at the doc late night for an hour, but the lady who emailed me a little later "don't do it because you are not an attorney." I thought it was so strange because it did not look like a legal project at all to begin with. The Japanese translation was not good at all either. Probably it was done by a machine. It was so hard to understand and did not make sense.

Reply
jmck2105 (Mar 22, 2016 - 5:56 pm)

That's what I think. They ran it through a machine translation and were looking for someone to check the original vs the translation for accuracy. What I got wasn't well translated, while that type of work itself is also beyond my ability. It was not what I think of when I think of "Document Review" - analyzing for responsiveness, confidentiality, potential privilege, issue tagging, etc.

Re-took the ALTA test today for Inspired Review, who have a project starting soon. Scored an 8, again, so not high enough for their project. I'm taking time off to study full-time in hopes of getting up to a 9, but I need a lot of Kanji.

Reply
akichan (Mar 23, 2016 - 11:18 pm)

Inspired Review sounds so familiar.... That's it!

Reply
therealness (Mar 25, 2016 - 12:44 pm)

Correct me if I am wrong but you have taken and passed the JLPT N4 exam thus far?

And you mentioned the ALTA exam itself is very kanji heavy with relatively simple grammar and vocabulary?

I am trying to get a sense of the level needed to pass the exam. Would you say that someone who can understand NHK News Easy articles or JLPT N3 level passages could pass the exam or is ALTA more difficult?

I finished reading Genki 1 and 2 and A dictionary of basic japanese grammar and have knowledge of 800-900 kanji, 2000+ word vocabulary and am currently studying for JLPT N3. I probably wouldn't pass ALTA if I took it today but, at the rate I'm going, probably by the end of this year. Just trying to gauge when I should take this exam.

Reply
jmck2105 (Mar 31, 2016 - 3:00 pm)

My opinion is based on taking the test several times and not on working Japanese reviews.

Jlptn2 = definitely able to pass level 9. Maybe 10.

Jlptn3 =maybe able to get level 9 but probably level 8. Need more kanji.

Doesn't mean either reflects your ability to do the work. Ask one of the guys doing it about that.

I'm about to take a 60 hr/ weekly project for three months for a good OT rate and will then spend the back half of the year studying full time to learn enough more to try and hit level 9. I would say you seem more advanced than me.

Reply
lic2016 (Apr 6, 2016 - 11:32 pm)

Hi, I came across this site while looking for information about ALTA test. I need to take the test soon to work on a Japanese document review project. I have some document review experiences in my previous job. I am a native Japanese speaker and have a master's degree (business related, not legal related) from the university in the US.

Not very confident in taking a legal related exam without preparation... If anyone can advise me below, I would much appreciate it.

-How can I prepare for the test? Maybe read some Japanese/English legal documents?
-If I fail once, will the agent give me a second chance?

Reply
reviewx (Aug 13, 2017 - 12:19 am)

I know this is a really old thread but I was looking for some input. What is the best resource to learn how to read Japanese for doc review? I keep finding programs that want to tell me how to say "Hello?" or "How do I get a taxi?"

I just want to learn to read Japanese in order to get a doc review gig. I have learned several languages over the years (and forgot them due to nonuse!). I pick up languages easily if I apply the effort so this seems like a viable endeavor, but I want to focus on reading and not speaking.

Reply
kp1776 (Sep 11, 2017 - 12:04 am)

I've been doing Japanese doc review for 2 years now, and my advice is that it's not worth it to try to learn Japanese just to do doc review. If you've already got some Japanese under your belt and would consider yourself at an intermediate level or a little "rusty" then, sure, it could be worth it to put in the extra effort to become proficient enough to pass the test (this is what I did, and it took 3 years living in Japan and more studying than I want to remember to do it). The fact is, Japanese doc review is boring as dirt, it's a dead end job with no prospects for advancement, and it teaches you no skills that you could use to build your resume for other, more satisfying jobs or careers. It's just a gig to make some money while it lasts (though the pay is admittedly quite high). In this economy, I can totally understand that people are looking for any way to make some decent money, and Japanese doc review can seem quite lucrative. But once you get it, you may find that it's an unsatisfying gig that leaves you searching for an exit strategy. I'm currently trying to find the time and willpower to take on some pro bono legal work on the side to build my skill set, so that I can transition out of doc review eventually into something more meaningful. I know money can seem to be the solution to a lot of problems when you don't have it (I was in that boat myself not too long ago). But my advice is that all the time and effort you're going to spend learning enough Japanese to do doc review (and Japanese IS objectively one of the hardest languages that a native English speaker can try to learn) will be better spent building skill sets that will aid your long term career ambitions, whatever those might be.

If, however, you are not dissuaded by my advice, or you have more confidence in your language learning abilities than I have in mine, 'Remembering The Kanji', by James Heisig, was absolutely the best resource I ever found for learning all those damn kanji characters, which is key for comprehending written Japanese. Heisig takes a very different and much more systematic approach to studying kanji than everyone else, which is extremely tedious but highly effective if you follow his recommendations. There's three books in the series, and it took me about a year to work through just the first book that deals only with the meanings of the kanji (rather than their pronunciations, which is dealt with in book 2). Working through that book will give you some sense of the enormity of the task before you in undertaking to learn to read Japanese proficiently. When you can read Japanese newspaper articles and get the gist of their meanings, then you've got a good shot at passing the ALTA test. Best of luck in whatever path you take.

Reply
boon (Jul 13, 2018 - 8:13 pm)

I wonder if someone could posts a simple primer about how to minimize conflicts for US Based Japanese Document Review. It's not clear to me if working for government agencies is good or bad with regard to this. I want to be a little bit strategic about this before I accept my first Japanese Review. Furthermore, I am hoping to be able to do this as a viable job for years to come. So for those of you who respond, please assume and write as if I don't have any experience in any Doc Review. Thank you in advance for those of you who can help me to better understand and create a strategy to avoid being conflicted out of Japanese Document Review Projects once "in" the field.

Reply
kp1776 (Jul 20, 2018 - 10:03 pm)

My experience based on 3 years of doc review in NYC (most of it Japanese) is that there usually aren't enough Japanese gigs staffing at any one time to make picking and choosing gigs based on who the client is something to worry too much about. Others with a different experience of the job market may have a different perspective, though. I haven't worked for the government yet, and I'd also be really interested to know what other Japanese doc reviewers think about whether that's advisable (I'm not too clear on how conflicts rules work, actually). Maybe it's becasue I'm in NYC that I haven't gotten any government gigs yet--maybe that might be more of an occupational hazard for DC reviewers.

Reply
kspk (Jul 26, 2018 - 3:49 pm)

There are hardly any japanese doc review projects lately in NYC. Is this trend here to stay? Does anyone know anything about this. I've heard some rumors that the legal agencies have been setting up shop in Japan and hiring natives and paying them cheap rates. Thus, this is resulting in a scarcity of japanese doc review gigs in NYC. Any truth to this? I'd appreciate it if anyone knows what's going on. Thanks~

Reply
nobrainer765 (Nov 8, 2018 - 2:24 am)

I'm a Japanese reviewer. I work mostly in LA and Chicago, but I can say that the trend has been decreasing Japanese reviews, or at least shorter ones. There used to be large auto-related litigation that demanded LARGE teams of reviewers thus keeping everyone busy for the whole year, but nowadays reviews go to Japan where they can conduct the review at much less cost than the $90-$95/hour fees that U.S. attorneys cost. Also, since it's the highest-paying language out there, Chinese and Korean reviewers have flocked to the market and increased the supply of reviewers out there.

I think for the next few years there were still be some Japanese reviews but not as many as before and not for the length of time it used to be, possibly at a lower rate, and eventually being outsourced by predictive coding/ technology.

Reply
triplesix (Nov 8, 2018 - 9:20 am)

Most foreign languages saw reduced volumes over the last few years.

Reply
Post a message in this thread