Clients and projects
A selection of my work in the sake industry, including event support, translation, interpreting, subtitling, and writing and editing in English.
Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association (JSS)
Umbrella organisation representing all Japanese sake and shochu producers.
Project: Japanese to English translation of a revised version of the 1991 “Japanese Sake: Service and Knowledge“, also called “The Sake Manual”, released to increase awareness of sake and food pairing outside of Japan.
Contact: Hitoshi Utsunomiya, Director
Date: November 2021
The Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association (JSS) is a non-profit organization that brings together sake, honkaku shōchū, awamori and hon-mirin producers throughout Japan. The JSS support their members through developing brewing and distilling technology, analysing and sharing market information, advising on export and distribution, helping to secure government assistance, and providing guidance and representation for matters concerning labelling, taxation and food safety. They also take an active role in promoting Japanese drinks at home and abroad, including sponsorship, hosting events and courses and publishing educational material.
While translating, I also advised on sections that should be updated, adapted or removed for a non-Japanese audience, trademarks and food/drink equivalents, and international health and safety standards. Part of my role is going beyond ‘just translation’ to provide an international context for the client’s material, ensuring their message is properly heard and understood outside Japan.
Brewing Society of Japan (BSJ)
Founded in 1906, the BSJ is currently responsible for brewing-related research and development, publishing the Journal of the Brewing Society of Japan, providing technical advice to brewers, publishing books, holding training courses, selling agents for treating sake, collecting and storing microorganisms relevant to brewing, and providing yeast strains with defined characteristics in ampoules and packs.
Project: This course provides basic background knowledge of sake brewing to new brewery employees, and is currently available in Japanese only. The project was technically challenging, as the course uses videos of timed presentations incorporating slides, still images, embedded videos and graphs, and required voiceover. The content is equal to and in many areas beyond the most advanced sake courses currently available in English.
I worked with the BSJ to make less familiar aspects of sake brewing easily understandable to a non-Japanese audience, including researching current practice at sake breweries outside Japan. I also developed a multilingual terminology list, and made suggestions for improving the structure and delivery of the course in its translated form.
Date: February 2021 – ongoing
Site: Brewing Society of Japan (EN)
Ireland’s first and only dedicated importer of premium sake.
Project: Writing a series of blog-style articles in English to educate wine-savvy customers on the types of sake available.
Contact: Colly Murray, Principal Director
Date: August 2021
Retrovino have been importing high quality European and New World wines into Ireland since 2009. Their passion for sourcing quality wines made by independent producers has led them to build up an extensive list of exceptional wines that never make their way to supermarket shelves. They supply restaurants, licensed premises, events and individual wine collectors.
Knowing that RetroSake has an existing wine-savvy customer base, I worked with them to create a series of blog posts introducing sake in all its different forms to wine lovers. I also reviewed the range of sake in their online shop and provided links to suitable sake so readers could purchase directly from each post.
Boutique sake PR and marketing company based in Hiroshima and Hawaii.
Project: Video subtitle translation, English editing of existing text, content writing in English (promotional and educational articles)
Contact: Yoko Suganami, CEO
Date: April 2021
Yoko Suganami founded Rainbow Sake in 2013 with the aim of creating a beautiful, colourful bridge between her homeland of Japan and second home of Hawaii through traditional Japanese fermented foods – including sake – and crafts. Her new site, launched in May 2021, includes brand new and exclusive video interviews with brewers and brewery owners, subtitled for her English-speaking audience.
As well as translating the timed subtitles into concise English, I edited the existing site content and wrote a series of educational articles to make the site more engaging and give readers ideas on how to get started drinking and pairing sake.
Site: Rainbow Sake
Setting up the Rainbow Sake site
Yoko Suganami founded Rainbow Sake in 2013 to create a bridge that could carry the soul of Japan to the world through the experience of sake and Japanese culture. She chose the rainbow, beautiful and full of colour, as her symbol of that bridge.
The company initially focused on B2B when it launched in the USA and Singapore, where Yoko focused on building direct relationships with Japan-friendly wholesalers, restaurants and retailers.
In April 2021 she created an online presence in the form of the Rainbow Sake site, which focuses on sake, Japanese traditional crafts and fermented foods. It reflects genuine demand from local consumers, giving them a space to communicate, and contributes to the spread and acceptance of Japanese culture.
Sake Future Summit
Hugely successful online summit featuring sake brewers and promoters in conversation on a variety of topics relevant to the industry.
Project: I was contacted to translate timed subtitles in English for several sessions recorded in Japanese, as the project required a Japanese to English translator with deep knowledge of the sake industry. I also advised the organisers on how to ensure translations were the right length to fit on screen.
Contact: Justin Potts, Sake On Air
Date: November 2020
Translated time subtitles for four conversations between sake brewers, whisky and shochu distillers, and sake promoters.
- Recipe for the Future of Sake
- Local Creations and Creative Business
- The Role of a Sake Brewery in the Local Community
- Barley Shochu vs Japanese Whisky (parts only)
Site: Sake Future Summit
Kōji for Life
Bilingual book on kōji and its applications by a seminal Japanese kōji educator.
Project: I edited the English translation of Nakaji Minami’s book on cultivating kōji at home for everyone, ensuring it was easy to understand and put into practice.
Contact: Haruko Uchishiba, translator, kōji educator
Date: February 2020
Salon du Sake
Interpreting for presentations by the Japan National Tax Agency (NTA) on sake and sake pairing at the Salon du Sake 2019.
Project: I interpreted for a technical officer of the NTA who gave a seminar on the professional-only day of Salon du Sake 2019. The presentation covered both the scientific and sensory aspects of sake flavour profile and pairing.
Contact: Sylvain Huet, organiser, Salon du Sake
Date: October 2021
Europe’s largest and most prestigious sake event, held over three days in Paris and normally attended by a large number of sake brewers who come over from Japan. It offers both a forum for sake lovers and the opportunity to taste hundreds of sake while talking to the brewers or brewery representatives. The weekend is open to the public, with the Monday open to professionals only.
Site: Salon du Sake
Representing the small craft sake brewery Iwamura Jōzō, based in the village of Iwamura, Gifu Prefecture, Japan.
Project: Representing a sake brewery at ProWein 2019.
Contact: Mitsuteru Watarai, owner/kuramoto, Iwamura Jōzō
Date: March 2021
The largest wine and spirits fair in the world, normally held annually in Dusseldorf, Germany. The Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association (JSS) sponsored a Japan Pavilion with a number of sake breweries and shōchū and awamori distilleries.
Representing Iwamura Jōzō, I explained sake to wine and spirits professionals, offered tastings and collected leads for the brewery to find new export channels.
Site: Iwamura Jōzō