When it comes to music, we Japanese use completely different languages depending on our background. Most of us would go with Italian (Do-Re-Mi) when singing at elementary school, we might go with German or Japanese when taught classically, calling sonatas and concertos by H-Moll (ロ短調/B minor) and Es-Dur (変ホ長調/E-flat major); and you might end up screaming out the chord progressions and keys in English at rehearsals if you happened to study contemporary music in the United States like I did. People with different music backgrounds can’t even communicate in Japanese, since they know the same terminology in different languages. Finding the right translator who can deliver your message precisely to your target audience could be tricky.

Localizing music-related content into Japanese requires a very case-specific yet versatile skillset. From live-feeding Japanese subtitles at your webinars or Zoom lessons to translating English lyrics to Japanese to be sung with the same melody, conveying accurate information without losing any of your intention, connotation, and charm, doesn’t always mean being square and literal to a T.

People in Japan are known for being polite and modest, but they can be as fussy as everyone else in the world, if not worse! When dealing with Japanese people, you will need someone who can decipher what is really going on and offer you the best option to make things happen.

You could have your Japanese ex-students or musician friends translate your precious works, or you could team up with a local who knows the culture, how people think inside out, and gives you all the information you need for both your and your client’s best interest.

I’m on your side.