My name is Caleb, and I translate print/digital media from Japanese to English.
I’m credited as translator by VIZ Media, Yen Press, Udon Entertainment, and others on a steadily increasing amount of manga, a healthy number of art/tribute books, a few video games, and at least one book with more words than pictures.
My degree from Dartmouth College prepared me to work on Wall Street and hate myself extra hard forever, but the Japanese classes I took for seemingly no cold, hard, practical reason provided an escape route from that dark fate.
Escape routes are rarely as direct and easily navigated as one would hope, though, and mine led me first to two years of icy, crushing, emotional isolation in the rural reaches of northern Japan, where I taught English to the teenage sons and daughters of rice farmers and lived in a perpetually frozen shoe box made of rice paper. With no sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, or indeed any outlets at all, I eschewed most human interaction, turned inward, and discovered a stoic passion for self-study of the Japanese language, motivated further by Japan’s elegant ladder of elective standardized tests for lonely, obsessive adults. The dark[er] rings under my eyes and blisters on my fingers from copying 2,500 kanji characters thousands of times seemed like rewards enough for my efforts, but the payoff continued when I returned home to New York and learned that I might apply my new (and only) practical skillset to work in an industry that would pay me cash money for reading comic books and re-imagining their dialogue in my native language.
What at first seemed like a side business on the road to who-knows-what has morphed into a career (how many years determine a career? Or is it a state of mind?) and this is what’s happening for me until Japan runs out of people to create media, the English-speaking demographic loses all interest in said media, or nuclear holocaust kills us all.
In my spare time, I’m an avid video gamer who can never quite play Japanese-made video games the same anymore (much like the hot dog factory worker who forever views the supermarket’s hot dog section knowingly), and I hope someday to play a greater role myself in the creative process behind those scrumptious digital sausages.
I also create derivative, nerdtastic art, enjoy long solo bike rides, and am an unabashed AFOL.