We specialize in translating complex medical and technical documents or interpreting for scientists, engineers and government officials. We are currently supporting local and international high-tech companies from the UK and will be attending BioJapan in 2018. We are available to assist any companies that will be attending. Please get in touch via email.
Here are 10 simple tips to get the most out of BioJapan
Top Ten Tips for BioJapan 2018.
1. How close is too close?
Personal space is highly valued in Japan. Give stand visitors, clients or a potential business partner more room than you would with a Western businessperson. Communication tends to be more subdued than in the West. So it is important not to talk too loudly or use too many gestures when talking to a Japanese businessperson.
Business card etiquette
Business cards are revered in Japan. Hand over your business card by taking it out of an attractive business card holder rather than from your suit pocket. Present your business card with both hands, with your name facing the recipient. Take their card with two hands and place it either on the desk in front of you or look at it and read their name before placing it respectfully in your cardholder.
What to translate into Japanese?
It is advisable to have a bilingual business card with your details in Japanese on one side. Include your qualifications and, where appropriate, your University. Ensure that Japanese language materials are available as a downloadable pdf or printed flier. You are more likely to make a good first impression if your cards and promotional materials are accurately translated into Japanese.
It is also important to have a Japanese speaker on your stand to assist with enquiries.
Who is in charge?
Japanese businesses are hierarchical. When talking to a client always address the most senior member of the team. They may be less responsive or less communicative than more junior staff so it is easy to be misled into addressing the wrong people. Arrange their business cards in front of you in the order that they are seated to keep reminding yourself of who is leading the away team.
Do I need to speak the Language?
Your hosts will not expect you to speak Japanese. But they will greatly appreciate your effort to master a few basic phrases such as how to introduce yourself in Japanese. To avoid complications have a professional interpreter present at all meetings, however informal. Remember that your interpreter is just like you; they will perform better in meetings if briefed in advance and allowed time to prepare.
How polite are the Japanese?
The Japanese are exquisitely polite and considerate. They respect hierarchy and formality in negotiations. Ease the way by address your Japanese business partner formally using their family name or full name. If you want to impress them, attach the honorific sama to their family name. So Ms. Suzuki would be Suzuki sama.
The sound of silence
You may feel uncomfortable in conversation with Japanese delegates when they fall silent after you have spoken. Do not be. This is a mark of respect, a sign that they are absorbing and reflecting on what you have said. Don’t be tempted to fill gaps in the conversation. Give them the time to respond to you.
How much is British English Internationally–understood?
We tend to forget how localized and culturally-specific our daily language is. What works at home may not travel well. Neutralizing how you speak, using unambiguous English and internationally–understood expressions, will help those using English as a second language.
What are the current Japanese social media trends?
According to the Japanese Social Media Lab(June 2018), Facebook and Twitter are still the leading platforms. Twitter has about 40 Million users nationally with the majority being between 20 and 50 years of age. Next most popular is the LINEmessenger app with a usage rate of over 60% of those in their forties. It is worthwhile having this app installed on your smartphone. Similarly, many Japanese business people are signed up to the Business card app Eight. They can use this to scan cards; the app then scans for that person’s online profile. Again, one to add to your smartphone apps.
LinkedIn is also popular in Japan and ranks as number 6 in terms of network popularity with a 17% market share. In comparison it is ranked 10thin the UK with a 33% market share [Avocado Social (Jan 2018)].
Giving and receiving gifts
An exchange of gifts is usual when visiting Japanese clients. Give the gift at the end of the visit. Always make sure that you have plenty of beautifully wrappedgifts. These need not be of particularly high value and personal gifts should be avoided. Green, white or cream papers are a good choice. Suitable gift ideas would be foods from your local region such as sweets or biscuits. High quality alcohol is also a good choice. Don’t expect the recipient to open the gift in front of you as this could cause a loss of face. Similarly you are not expected to open any gifts that you may be given. Simply say thank you and place the gift in a suitable bag to take back with you.