Coordinator for International Relations (CIR)

As Coordinators for International Relations (国際交流員), CIRs are tasked with translation, interpretation, and cultural exchange. They are placed in various regions, and may work in a prefectural office/city hall, or even at a BoE.


As a CIR, most of your time will be spent in an office, rather than a classroom. At many workplaces, the office is set up as an “open office.” Instead of cubicles, staff members will be grouped into “islands,” usually based on the division or section you work for. These islands may have plexiglass dividers to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but overall encourages collaboration and open communication between employees. However, you’ll see that even in an open office setup, there will be a level of hierarchy within each department. For example, the higher the position you are, the closer you will be placed to the window or back wall of a room. CIRs will most likely be placed closest to the doors.


Translation work is all about research. The more time you put into researching for your translation, the better the translation will get. One thing that you’ll have to learn to be okay with early on is that no matter how much time you put into it, a translation will never be perfect. As a general rule of thumb, you should be given at least 2 weeks to work on a translation, although this may differ depending on the length of the translation request. If you feel you’re given too many last minute translation requests, please consult with your supervisor about managing your workload.

Also, don’t be afraid to use the resources available to you! There is a possibility you’ll be the only native speaker in your office, so it’s always good to double-check with an outside source, even if you feel confident in your translation. There will also most definitely be times when, suddenly, the right word or phrase doesn’t want to come to you, even though you’re sure you almost have it. Here is a list of some websites that could be helpful for translations:


Interpretation can seem daunting at first (well, to be honest, it can be daunting no matter how much experience you get), but know that preparation is key. You can’t possibly improve your Japanese significantly in the one or two weeks you get to prepare for it, but you can research as much as possible about the topic at hand. Hopefully, you’ll receive information on the attendee names, job positions, seating arrangement, etc, or some other document that outlines what you’ll be interpreting for. This should serve as a guide for when you’re researching for the big day.

Along with your documents, you should also bring the following: