AL&L Career Panel Helps Students Put Language Skills to Work

Submitted by Geoffrey R. Waring on

On Thursday, January 19th, the Department of Asian Languages & Literature and the East Asian Library hosted a career panel for students majoring in Asian Languages & Literature. Speakers included Joel Petersen, Assistant Manager in the Language Services Department of Nintendo of America, Koh Shimizu, a freelance Japanese-English interpreter and translator, and Michael Joyce, an entrepreneur and owner of Nature Nuts Adventure Travel, a company aimed at providing outdoor adventures and tours to Chinese-speaking tourists visiting the Pacific Northwest. The event, moderated by Department Chair Paul S. Atkins, drew more than fifty students.

Speakers focused on the practical application of Asian languages in a variety of careers. Koh Shimizu shared her experience as a translator and interpreter, gave advice to fledgling interpreters for developing interpreting skills, and gave concrete steps to students wanting to start building a portfolio of work. Michael Joyce emphasized that knowing a foreign language in the modern world opens new opportunities, and described his journey from learning Mandarin and Japanese in college to getting business experience in China and, finally, about monetizing language skills in private business ventures. Joel Petersen, representing Nintendo of America, described what he looks for when hiring language service personnel for the company, discussed the day-to-day experience of working at Nintendo in great detail, and took questions from interested students about what it would take to get a job at the video game giant.

The event was followed by an enthusiastic question and answer session and a mixer, where students and the speakers spoke at great length about career opportunities and ways to harness language skills in the job market. The event was the first in a series of upcoming events sponsored by the Department of Asian Languages & Literature aimed at providing career-centered knowledge and skills for tackling the job market for Asian language majors.

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