English to Japanese translation: FoE Japan’s report on carbon marketsCategory: Language
Client: FoE Japan
Carbon markets and climate justice
In October 2021, Friend of the Earth (FoE) Japan published the Japanese translation of the report “Chasing Carbon Unicorns: The Deception of Carbon Markets and ‘Net Zero.’”
In recent years we have seen the terms “carbon neutral,” “zero emissions,” “virtually zero,” and “net zero” used more and more in various situations. However, the report cautions us that these terms are in fact used to distract attention from the undeniable and urgent need to eliminate emissions from fossil fuels.
The report unpacks net-zero strategies of large emitters, as it analyzes and explains: what is fundamentally wrong with the net-zero concept, concerns raised by carbon markets and nature-based solutions embedded in these strategies, and large emitting companies’ plans to scale up carbon markets. And the report provides a roadmap for achieving climate justice without relying on carbon offsetting or carbon markets.
We translated the report under the supervision of FoE Japan.
Capture ever-evolving language
New terminology related to climate change are constantly emerging, and their translations also change over time. For example, “climate justice” could be translated to “kiko-no-kouheisei (‘equity concerning climate’ in Japanese)” or to “kiko-seigi (‘justice concerning climate’ in Japanese).” However, the latter, “kiko-seigi,” has now become the mainstream.
This can be seen as a reflection of the growing societal awareness that the climate issue is a global human rights issue, as those least responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions — developing countries living in poverty, marginalized communities and future generations — suffer the most from climate crisis.
Taking into account such social trends, our translators team revised the translations of important terms, and worked to ensure consistency of the terminology in the entire report.
The translated document caught Japanese media’s attention
The Japanese version of the report was published before COP26 in Glasgow, UK, and was introduced to the Japanese press. As a result, a Japanese journalist Masato Kimura wrote an article about the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) based on the report and interview with Yuri Onodera, Advisor at FoE Japan. The article says that we must keep a close eye on the financial assets of more than ten quadrillion yen held by the Financial Alliance to be used to reduce emissions through shifting to renewables, not through carbon offsetting schemes that colonize developing countries.
The Demands for Real Zero on the last page of the report refer not only to transforming our energy system, but also to advocating the rights of Indigenous Peoples, small farmers and local communities, and to the transition towards a new economics for people and planet. We strongly hope that this report will reach to those many people who wish to solve climate problems and are working towards a climate-just world.
Press release: Japanese translation of the report “Chasing Carbon Unicorns: The deception of carbon markets and ‘net zero’” (FoE Japan, 25 October, 2021)
Press release: Chasing Carbon Unicorns: The deception of carbon markets and “net zero” (FoE International, 22 February, 2021)
Financial Assets of Financial Alliance For Net Zero Reach 14.8 Quadrillion Yen, London Declares Net-Zero Financial Market (Newsweek Japan, Nov. 4, 2021, in Japanese)
English to Japanese translation: WWF report on responsible investmentCategory: Language
Keyword: Research report / Guidelines、Translation
Client: WWF Singapore
In January 2021, WWF published the results of its 2021 report on responsible investment practices, titled RESPOND (Resilient and Sustainable Portfolios that Protect Nature and Drive Decarbonization).
We translated the report into Japanese under the supervision of a Japanese-native editor from WWF.
We did thorough research on technical terms on responsible investment, and ensured consistency in the entire report. Japanese language has three types of letters: hiragana, katakana and kanji. Our first draft used terms in kanji for “asset manager(s)” and “asset owner(s)” because it is reader-friendly in general.
The supervisor changed them into katakana, which is used primarily for foreign words and names of persons from countries other than Japan. He explained the reason that as the target readers of the report are financial professionals, who are more familiar with those terms in English, they would clearly understand the relationship between asset owners, asset managers and portfolio companies. We shared this feedback with our translation team members, which reminded us of the importance of clearly understanding the target audience to choose words that best fit the context.
Aiming for smooth communication with the authors of the report, we did all exchange of emails and comments in English.
The RESPOND report is based on a TCFD-aligned framework developed by WWF to help Asia-based asset managers strengthen their responsible investment practices to meet their clients’ expectations both now, and in the future. The report accompanies an update to the RESPOND online interactive platform that lets stakeholders explore the analysis in more detail. By using the RESPOND tool and framework, asset managers can better play a pivotal role in the transition towards a sustainable and net-zero economy.
The report shows that while Japanese asset managers lead the way in Asia, Asian asset managers fall behind European peers in their ESG practices.
We believe that the Japanese version of the report will be useful to Japanese investors who are seeking to enhance their responsible investment practices. Through their investments, they can shift financial flows away from unsustainable activities and towards climate-resilient and nature-positive business models that align with the Paris Agreement, contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and overall support the protection and restoration of natural capital.
Press Release: ASIA ASSET MANAGERS NEED TO DO MORE TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURE LOSS, ACCORDING TO WWF REPORT (January 27, 2021, WWF Singapore)
Photo by JAY PARK via Pixabay
Translation into Japanese: Report on coal power and biomass in JapanCategory: Language
Client: Mighty Earth
We translated the report Sumitomo Corporation’s Dirty Energy Trade: Biomass, Coal, and Japan’s Future, published by Mighty Earth, a global campaign organization that works to protect the environment, focusing on the big issues: conserving threatened landscape like tropical forests, oceans, and solving climate change.
While utilizing our knowledge of terminology accumulated through many years’ works in the area of climate change and energy, we also referred to credible sources in translating all the new terms and names of companies and specialized agencies that appeared frequently in the report. When submitting our translation, we made sure to share the information with the client.
We paid particular attention to numbers, checking the cited sources, and suggested accurate and clear ways of writing in Japanese. For example, when the report said something “increased by XX %” while the source said it was “X.X times more” in addition to the percentage, we included both numbers in our translation.
Aiming for smooth communication, we did all exchange of emails and comments in English with the person in charge of the report who was a native English speaker.
According to this report, Japan’s energy policies result in the development of new coal power plants, and also allow existing inefficient coal power plants to keep running by burning biomass together with coal, a practice known as cofiring. The report depicts Japan as the world’s major consumer of biomass, which had not been addressed much before, and reports in detail how Japan’s energy policies are contributing to the destruction of valuable ecosystems such as rare wetlands and forests around the world.
In order to realize a decarbonized society, it is crucial that all businesses exit from or phase out all kinds of coal business, including coal development, construction of new coal power plants home or abroad, and investments in these projects. International investors consider investments in such projects as a risk; continuing with these businesses might result in damaging their corporate value as well as their corporate sustainability.
Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that Covid-19 has an zoonotic source: an ecological origin in bat populations, while environmental organizations and experts point out that the virus spreading to humans from an animal host has much to do with climate change and environmental destruction as well (Tokyo Shimbun, April 9, 2020, in Japanese).
We strongly expect a radical change of course in Japan’s energy policies in order to stop the degradation of the environment, which is the foundation of our society and economy.
New Investigation: Sumitomo Corporation’s Dirty Energy Investments Highlight Japan’s Failure to Act on Climate (Mighty Earth)
Media release (Mighty Earth, December 10, 2019, in Japanese)
Translation into Japanese: Report on human rights abuses in cobalt mining (Summary)Category: Language
Client: Amnesty International Japan
Japanese edition of Time to Recharge:
Corporate Action and Inaction to Tackle Abuses in the Cobalt Supply Chain
Published by Amnesty International
Background: Aiming for truly “clean” energy
In recent years, the market price of cobalt has been experiencing a boom. Cobalt is essential for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries powering various things from portable electronic devices, such as smartphones and laptop computers, to electric vehicles. As the “clean energy revolution” takes place globally and the use of renewable energy grows rapidly, super-sized rechargeable batteries are attracting more interest, which is leading to the boom in cobalt prices.
In January 2016, Amnesty International and African Resources Watch (Afrewatch) jointly published a report entitled This is What We Die For: Human Rights Abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Power the Global Trade in Cobalt (in English, Chinese and French). The report revealed human rights abuses in artisanal cobalt mining in southern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and assessed the extent to which 26 companies had put in place human rights due diligence measures relating to the cobalt in their products.
Under the supervision of Amnesty International Japan, we translated the Executive Summary in the report Time to Recharge: Corporate Action and Inaction to Tackle Abuses in the Cobalt Supply Chain into Japanese.
In this second report in the series, they investigated and assessed improvements achieved over the last two years in the cobalt mining in DRC and companies’ approach to due diligence.
Our approach: Analyzing thoroughly the first report to refine ideas
As we were working on translation, we learned and employed terms used in the first report in full as well as referred to various sources to do an extensive research on general terms in human rights and supply chain contexts.
Outcome: Improving social issues with the “eyes” of civil societies
There are approximately 110,000 to 150,000 artisanal cobalt miners in southern DRC, who have been working in poor work environment where human rights abuses prevail. All stakeholders throughout the supply chain need to clearly recognize the current problematic situation and take action for improvement as soon as possible. The DRC government should also enhance regulations to make the country’s pillar industries clean.
Companies have been acknowledging that it is meaningful and significant to fully investigate and assess the current situation and progress and that the civil societies can be responsible for such initiatives as a third party. Not only cobalt mining companies but also manufacturers of electronic devices, automobiles and batteries are expected to improve their business practices, communicating actively with the civil societies.
We consumers can also keep these issues in mind to make better choices when we buy products. As the first step, you can read the report to know the current situation of cobalt mining supply chain and companies’ attitudes toward it.
Translation into Japanese: Guide to Greener ElectronicsCategory: Language
Client: Greenpeace Japan
Background: Respect to Greenpeace’s efforts to continue their research for reduction of environmental impacts
Greenpeace announced the publication of its 19th edition of the Guide to Greener Electronics, which assesses the efforts of 17 global IT companies that manufacture and sell smartphones and other IT devices. This guide evaluates the corporate efforts from three perspectives: CO2 emission reductions from the introduction of renewable energy, resource use including recycled materials, and the elimination of hazardous substances.
The international environmental NGO Greenpeace Japan released the same guide in Japanese regularly from 2006 to 2012, and as a result saw steady progress in the elimination of hazardous substances and an increase in energy efficiency of electronic devices.
Working under the guidance of Greenpeace, EcoNetworks assisted with the translation of the 19th edition into Japanese.
Our approach: Real time discussions about accurate translations of specialized terminology
While referring to end notes and past reports, we chose the most appropriate terminology.
At EcoNetworks, when we work on a project with multiple translators, we use Google spreadsheets to share and discuss the results of each translator’s research into terminology, and decide quickly on the best translation of each term. At the same time we aim to unify the use of the terminology.
As soon as the English manuscript is ready, through team discussions that also include people working as checkers, we create Japanese translations that are accurate and readable.
Outcome: Shifting industry toward circular business models based on clean energy
Some innovative companies like Google and Apple are using renewable energy to run their data centers. It is crucial to shift from the linear business model of extracting, producing, and disposing, which has reached its limits, to the circular business model that effectively uses resources to the maximum and significantly reduces electronic device waste (e-waste). There are huge expectations for IT companies in Japan and worldwide to act as leaders as they mobilize to use advanced technologies.
Greenpeace Japan Press Release:
Greenpeace announces release of “Guide to Greener Electronics”: Launches campaign calling on Samsung to protect the climate and increase renewables from current 1% (in Japanese)
Japanese translation: The Environmental Risks of Neonicotinoid PesticidesCategory: Language
Client: Greenpeace Japan
Background: Updating risk awareness using the latest scientific research
Neonicotinoid pesticides are seen as a problem due to their impacts on bees.
While regulations are being put in place in other countries, awareness of the environmental risks of agricultural chemicals is low in Japan, and there are no regulations yet on the use of neonicotinoids.
EcoNetworks assisted with the English-to-Japanese translation of the report the Environmental Risks of Neonicotinoid Pesticides that was commissioned to the Sussex University in the UK.
Our approach: Discussion of special terminology in real time
This report collated and reviewed key scientific evidence (based on papers published since 2013) regarding studies on the impacts of neonicotinoids on non-target organisms.
The literature uses a large amount of special terminology, so it takes time and effort to research the materials from the client and the relevant expert organizations to do our translations.
Our approach was to discuss key terms and use Google spreadsheets to share the results of the translation team’s findings, then quickly decide on the best translations. At the same time we unified the terminology used in our translations.
Outcome: We expect our translations to help with decision making based on clear information
Timed with the announcement of the Japanese version of this report, Greenpeace also submitted a letter to the Japan’s Ministry of the Environment calling for proper regulation of harmful pesticides.
We expect there to be robust public debate and proper decisions made on this important issue affecting ecosystem conservation and agricultural safety.
* * * * * *
The Environmental Risks of Neonicotinoid Pesticides
by Greenpeace International 12 January 2017
References – Trends in other countries:
European Union implements temporary ban on three types of neonicotinoids and one type of systemic pesticides starting in 2014, and total ban was expected in 2017.
In the United States, besides having mandatory labeling to indicate Class 4 neonicotinoids are harmful to bees, the state of Maryland passed legislation with a total ban on this pesticide, expected to take effect in 2018.
Workshop for better reporting for global audienceCategory: Language
Client: Japanese companies
In December 2016, EcoNetworks held a workshop in Tokyo on the subject of Five Things You Can Do for Better English Reporting. This was intended for Japanese companies to discuss how they should structure their reports, not about what they should report.
Participants picked up several reports written in English and compared the contents in terms of the design, volume of text per page, and overall balance in layout.
Practical know-how that we built through many translation projects was introduced as Five Things You Can Do, a list of things that companies should keep in mind when working with a translation company.
Five Things You Can Do for Better English Reporting
- Be simple
- Make titles short to convey just the essence
- Check from different viewpoints
- Agree in advance on writing styles
- Fine-tune for readers from different backgrounds
The fifth point, especially, attracted participants’ attention. We talked about what to be careful about when expressing something in a different language, and how to adjust translation for readers with different cultural backgrounds.
The small-group workshop encouraged open discussion. Participants actively exchanged information; for example, how to get internal buy-in for the content and how to effectively express key messages in English.
Japanese edition of Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 (GBO4)Category: Language
Keyword: Research report / Guidelines、Translation
Client: Japan's Ministry of the Environment
In October 2014, the Convention on Biological Diversity published Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 (GBO-4), a periodic report that summarizes the latest data on the status and trends of biodiversity. EcoNetworks supported its English-to-Japanese translation. The Japanese report is available online here.
Translation of the book on climate risks and adaptationCategory: Language
Keyword: Research report / Guidelines、Translation
Client: Sompo Environmental Foundation
In March 2014, Sompo Environmental Foundation (Former Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Environmental Foundation) published a book titled “How Should We Adapt Climate Change Risks?: Smart Adaptation for Businesses, Governments, and Grassroots Organizations.” EcoNetworks supported abridged Japanese to English translation of the book.
This book introduces initiatives toward climate change risks taken by a wide variety of stakeholders. It also explains about weather derivatives (weather index insurance), financial instruments developed based on a risk financing approach and adaptation to climate change by insurance companies.
– Initiatives in the Insurance Sector: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Efforts by Sompo Japan
– The Task Ahead for Japan
There are excellent examples in Japan to reduce climate change risks by integrating practical measures into the economic systems. See the abridged English translation at: https://www.sompo-ef.org/about/pdf/all.pdf
UNEP (CBD) Japanese websiteCategory: Language
Keyword: Sustainability website、Translation
Client: UNEP (CBD)
If you are looking for professional language team, chances are that we can be of your help. Here let us share with you our brief case study.
The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) (Montreal, Canada)
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was signed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992 and entered into force on 29 December 1993. It is the first global agreement to cover all aspects of biological diversity: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
Crafting Japanese website contents in adherence to global English contents
[How EcoNetworks was chosen as a partner]
Our expertise and experience of language in biodiversity policy were recognized by UNEP, based on our English to Japanese translation work for “CBD Global Biodiversity Outlook 3” (Japan’s Ministry of the Environment).
For inquiry, please contact here.