Hello, my name is Rieko.
(It rhymes with San Diego.) I’m a Tokyo-born and New-York-raised translator, interpreter, and localization consultant bringing Japan’s most inspiring nonfiction authors to global audiences.
How I can help
My mission is to help you surmount every single obstacle that literature in translation faces. As a genuinely bilingual, bicultural bookworm, I provide truly seamless Japanese-to-English translations that respectfully preserve the author’s voice yet are localized in consultation with the editor and author.
When I’m on the project, you have access to a responsive and receptive translator, based in the US and well-versed in the US and UK publishing landscape—no more garbled and over-simplified correspondence that drags on forever during the production stage!
Furthermore, as an experienced interpreter and promotional copywriter, I can help unleash the full gamut of publicity and marketing opportunities, at publication and beyond, that have traditionally been unavailable for works in translation. Together we can translate, polish, and promote the crème de la crème from Japan.
Translation & localization
- Book manuscript
- Book proposals
- Sample materials
- Promotional materials
- Digital content
- Email interviews
- English website copywriting
- Public appearances
- Author-publisher communication
A little more about me
I was born in Tokyo to Japanese parents who shared a passion for the English language. When I was just two months old, we moved to the suburbs of Washington DC, and bounced back and forth from the US to Japan for the rest of my childhood. Thanks to such a well-traveled upbringing, I’m able to communicate in English and Japanese with equal fluency while being deeply cognizant of cultural contexts and subtle nuances.
Growing up this way also made me feel a bit like an island, however, stuck living between two different worlds that didn’t quite understand each other fully. This is why I translate: to create a bridge between those two worlds, to show everyone that underneath our superficial differences—our different languages, cultures, and bodies—we are one people. We have so much more in common in our humanity than we realize, and translation opens up new voices and perspectives to us all, ultimately bringing us a little closer together every time.
I first began translating professionally to help promote minimalist Fumio Sasaki and his best-selling manifesto Goodbye, Things. The incredible reader response to Goodbye, Things revealed how hungry readers are for fresh ideas from diverse voices. I’ve since helped some of Japan’s leading non-fiction authors with book and digital content translation as well as publicity and media appearances. My ongoing mission is to shine a light on uplifting Japanese titles that show us all how to live happier, more meaningful lives.
Rieko Yamanaka is a Tokyo-born and New-York-raised translator, interpreter, and localization consultant bringing Japan’s most inspiring thought leaders to global audiences. A genuinely bilingual, bicultural bookworm, she is known not only for her seamless Japanese-to-English translation work but a holistic and collaborative approach in championing the author and their message.
Rieko began translating professionally to help promote minimalist Fumio Sasaki and his best-selling manifesto Goodbye, Things. The incredible reader response to Goodbye, Things revealed how hungry readers are for fresh ideas from diverse voices. Soon she found herself helping Japan’s leading non-fiction authors with book and digital content translation as well as publicity and media appearances. Her ongoing mission is to shine a light on uplifting Japanese titles that show us all how to live happier, more meaningful lives.
Rieko’s clients have sold millions of copies of their books around the world. They have been featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, and the Guardian; and have appeared on Good Morning America, Today Show, the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the Ellen Show, BBC, and many others.
Rieko grew up on J-Rock, has VERY strong opinions about ramen, and if you look very closely you can spot her in the movie College Road Trip.
Need a quote for your next Japanese translation project? Feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org — I look forward to connecting with you!
© Rieko Yamanaka