Translation can be lonely. You spend hours of hours at home starring at your screen and working on your project. If you enjoy talking to your coworkers, here are 10 tips to enjoy freelance translation in Japan:
1) Visit coworking spaces
A coworking space is an office, where you can meet other freelancers and work. You have fast internet and sometimes free coffee. Some coworking spaces even organize free events on useful topics. Tokyo Cheapo wrote a great article on where to find coworking spaces in Japan. More information: https://tokyocheapo.com/business/drop-in-coworking-spaces-tokyo/
2) Visit the local library
That's what I did. Japan has great public libraries in almost every city. My local one has a free Wi-Fi and a spaces for computers. Many Japanese go there to study for exams or to read books and newspaper. If you get bored, you can enjoy reading books or the latest fashion magazines. You can find local libraries by researching on Google Maps the Japanese word "図書館" (library) and your location by using GPS.
3) Visit the local Starbucks
Starbucks has a free Wi-Fi for 1 hour. It's a nice living atmosphere there and the coffee is great. The downside is that you cannot use the Wi-Fi for more than 1 hour. However, if you need to concentrate that's a great way to actually get stuff done.
4) Join Translation & Interpretation Networking Events
You find many networking events in Japan. For example, the homepage of Japan Association of Translators (https://jat.org/) or the homepage of Japan Association of Conference Interpreters (http://www.japan-interpreters.org/en/)is a great source. Official organized events are more expensive and then private one. You find cheaper events in translation related Facebook groups. Just search for keywords such as Translation, Interpretation in Japan.
5) Visit Exhibitions
There are many interesting Exhibitions at the Tokyo Big Sight (http://www.bigsight.jp/english/) or the Makuhari Messe in Chiba (https://www.m-messe.co.jp/en/). Many companies look for exhibition interpreters. Just go there and introduce yourself. By giving them your translation business card, you can find new direct clients and further learn more about the new trends in that industry.
6) Meet other Translators for Lunch
LinkedIn is a great network for finding other freelance interpreter and translators. It takes a lot of courage at first, but you can find new friends in the industry by asking them for lunch. Even after living in Japan for a years, I still don't understand why Japanese eat alone. They are so many great people to eat lunch with.
7) Visit Translation Companies
By visiting the translation agencies, you can increase the quality of work you get. It's important to know the people, you work with in person. Keep in mind that email communication is very efficient, but not everything.
8) Attend Seminars
As freelance translator you need to know more about business. Why don't you take the time and attend an seminar on marketing or sales? Seminars on translation can help you to learn more about different fields such as skills of literature translation, patent translation or medical translation.
9) Live in a Share-House
Living alone and working alone is sometime snot the best option. You can save rent by living in a share-house. It's so interesting, you can find share-houses especially designed for freelancers with a working space. Some of them even offer free cleaning service or events. Regard more here: https://www.social-apartment.com/
10) Job-Search for In-House Positions
Working as freelancer is not for everyone. You can always apply for In-house positions. You can find recruiter on LinkedIn or apply direct to translation companies.
I hope you enjoyed reading. Please let me know your strategies as well. What do you do to avoid social isolation?