Jonathan Paton

BA Japanese Studies graduate
Current Job: in-house translator and liaison officer

Where are you working now?
I am now working as an in-house translator and liaison officer for an alternative investment company, splitting my time between offices in Manchester and Tokyo. It is a bit of a dream come true getting hired so quickly and, considering the current job market, I feel very lucky to be employed in a role which is directly related to my degree, but also a job which is one that I enjoy and is allowing me to improve the language skills that I acquired during my time at Sheffield. I coordinate various functions between Tokyo and Manchester, working mainly in Japanese and preparing and translating products and documents for Japanese investors. It can be stressful, especially the translations. However, the trips to Tokyo balance this out and make the stress worthwhile!

What is you favourite memory of studying Japanese at Sheffield?
I personally believe the best time of the degree is the year abroad. The language tutors and professors will have prepared you over two years for this and the year abroad is where you will see your language really take off and improve dramatically, and of course you will have the experience of living and socialising in Japan. The advice I would give for the year abroad is to throw yourself into everything and don’t turn down opportunities that come your way, as making friends, socialising and communicating in Japanese with native Japanese people is when you will really build and improve your language skills.

Do you have any advice for our students?
My time at SEAS was a lot of fun, with a lot of opportunities and, admittedly, a lot of stress – however the fun times outweighed the stressful ones! Japanese is a language that many people would love to be able to learn and speak, but not a language that many have the chance to do so in-depth. My advice to any current or prospective student about to start their journey at SEAS is to take advantage of the opportunities that you are given doing such a unique degree. These opportunities begin right away; the language tutors do a remarkable job at rapidly taking your level of Japanese from absolute beginner, to being able to make a really good go at communicating in the language in just one year. It is hard, and you will often hear that Japanese isn’t a language you can study and have a social life, and although elements of this are true – you will have to study hard – you can still reap the rewards and have an amazing time as a student. As long as you get your green homework in on time.