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Eibig
August 6th, 2016, 09:56
How many CIRs are sent from each consulate each year?

Is it possible for a CIR to be NNS N2-level without having ever studied the language in Japan?

Zolrak 22
August 6th, 2016, 11:01
Is it possible for a CIR to be NNS N2-level without having ever studied the language in Japan?


http://33.media.tumblr.com/47199a9e97ec3fc88ac5b4fc06c1dfbf/tumblr_n6svkplOxC1r34qiso1_500.gif

elmaldito
August 7th, 2016, 00:10
How many CIRs are sent from each consulate each year?

Is it possible for a CIR to be NNS N2-level without having ever studied the language in Japan?

What is your current Japanese level?

I got C2 level in Spanish (which is actually one level higher than N1, according to Common European Framework of Reference for Languages - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_European_Framework_of_Reference_for_Languages#Language-specific_scales)) and got close to 90% on the C2 exam without having lived in Spain by watching Spanish news, movies, interviews, documentaries, reading the newspaper and Spanish/Latin American literature more or less every single day. I went from about a B2 to C2 in under a year. I'm not bragging here, I'm just making the point that I worked my socks off and it paid dividends. However, to reach the same level in Japanese (for an English native speaker) takes a lot lot longer. According to the FSI (Wikibooks:Language Learning Difficulty for English Speakers - Wikibooks, open books for an open world (https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Wikibooks:Language_Learning_Difficulty_for_English_Speakers)) Spanish should take 600 class hours whereas Japanese is a whopping 2,200 class hours. Here it states that about half that time is preferably spent studying in-country. So, in a nutshell, the FSI, at least, would say no to your question.

Of course, it's worth pointing out that everyone is different and not everyone learns at the same pace, so this could probably be viewed as a kind of average. Also, it's worth stating that N1 is like C1, not C2 so by that implication to reach N1 should take fewer than 2,200 hours.

Eibig
August 7th, 2016, 01:10
Thx Zolrak 22

elmaldito: Weak N3/B1.

Easy_money
August 7th, 2016, 20:05
N3 is probably fine, just make sure you tick that 'also consider ALT' box.

I interviewed as a CIR and the passage I had to read and answer questions on was quite easy. I was probably N3 at best at the time yet I coped with it easily. Also, the questions they asked weren't difficult to understand but I think I had trouble articulating myself when answering as my Japanese was gash and my answers were brief. Hence I wasn't selected as a CIR and was put in an ALT role.

On the other hand there was a CIR in the neighboring city to me when I was on JET and she seemingly couldn't speak a lick of Japanese. For example, couldn't read menus, order properly etc. and a guy I met on pre-departure orientation attended the "advanced" Japanese mini-lesson and couldn't even change verbs into plain form (maybe nervous). However, he gave no other indication of being remotely competent. Anyways, I think the "benchmark" of N2 is bullshit and if you have N3 Japanese there is a chance you can get in as a CIR.

mothy
August 7th, 2016, 20:14
I imagine few enough people apply for CIR that a little bit of luck based on number of openings comes into play.

elmaldito
August 8th, 2016, 00:47
Thx Zolrak 22

elmaldito: Weak N3/B1.

So, what is it you are aiming for? Going from a weak N3 to N2 for the upcoming application procedure? The interviews would be in January/February 2017, so it would probably not give you much time honestly. But, as mentioned why not apply (and as recommended ticking the ALT box), study hard and hope for the best!

Doing a quick google here are the responsibilities of a CIR


international exchange programmes, primary and secondary school visits, language classes, cooking classes, cultural lectures, as well as translating and interpreting

Would you be comfortable doing any of that?

Eibig
August 8th, 2016, 02:06
.

I would prefer CIR though, and if I don't get it I want to try again for 2018. The JET website makes me think that if I were offered an ALT position and turned it down, then I would have to wait to apply for 2019.

I'm willing to bet that those people you spoke with had little to no experience actually using day to day Japanese in a completely immersive environment, so they took some time to pull it out of the attic and get used to using it. I had the same problem when I first went to live in Latin America, even though I had been reading the news and college-level scientific papers in Spanish daily.


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Right. I hear that that goes both ways though, and if your consulate/embassy doesn't have any openings, then you'll be going through the application process for nothing. I guess that an opening would be more likely at an embassy rather than a consulate?


.
I would love to do those things, and I already have experience doing a lot of that in Spanish and English.

A jump from weak N3 to N2 is my goal, not a very realistic one, but at least I'll get experience with the application process. I'm going to take a class with a native-speaking teacher this quarter so hopefully that will help a lot.

Easy_money
August 8th, 2016, 16:43
I would prefer CIR though, and if I don't get it I want to try again for 2018. The JET website makes me think that if I were offered an ALT position and turned it down, then I would have to wait to apply for 2019.

I think that only applies if you pull out after you have been given your placement. Could be wrong though.

GodInStrafeMode
August 8th, 2016, 17:20
N2 is fine! As for the numbers from each consulate, it's a bit of a gamble but somewhere around 10% or less of how many ALTs they send is a fairly good ballpark estimate I think (i.e. if they send 20 ALTs, you could expect around 1-2 CIRs) although it's not concrete and you'll want to be conservative.
Start here: The JET Programme--Official Homepage of The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (http://jetpro.ssd.web-contents.com/e/introduction/statistics.html) to look at individual figures for your country which will give you a clearer idea of overall numbers. Larger states, as a whole, usually pump out bigger numbers but you also have to factor in the number of people leaving which is very hard to judge. Yes, those 25 5th years are going to leave but beyond that it's anyone's guess really. Also take into account the COs that are increasing the number of CIR positions (double in some instances) as well as the prefectures who are slashing CIR positions like they're going out of style. Saying you are willing to be an ALT shows flexibility and do be aware that some prefectures do offer ALT → CIR upgrades for the right candidate.

Eibig
August 17th, 2016, 02:00
Looks like a lot of CIRs come from my country, which is good news.

I'm not sure that I want to pray for an ALT->CIR change while already there, it seems really risky.

Isola
August 17th, 2016, 09:37
Looks like a lot of CIRs come from my country, which is good news.

I'm not sure that I want to pray for an ALT->CIR change while already there, it seems really risky.

They're pretty rare (happens a lot in Hokkaido, though). Though if you're not interested in ALT work at all, be forewarned that some CIR jobs are basically glorified ALTs...

elmaldito
August 18th, 2016, 02:16
They're pretty rare (happens a lot in Hokkaido, though). Though if you're not interested in ALT work at all, be forewarned that some CIR jobs are basically glorified ALTs...

Yeah, I mean if you look at what I wrote earlier regarding a CIR's duties:


international exchange programmes, primary and secondary school visits, language classes, cooking classes, cultural lectures, as well as translating and interpreting

The ones highlighted above sound quite ALT-ish! And btw, how's your cooking? LOL. Oh, Eibig-san please cook us American hamburger! :p But, actually the cooking class could simply be teaching English again on a more specialised level. Maybe you want to be clear you want to be a CIR before getting on it and realising it's like an ALT with a few add-ons! However, I wonder if there are many people on here who have been a CIR to give us a run down of what they did and how much teaching they did etc. As we all know, ESID, but who knows it could be mainly teaching and translating the odd document here and there and that's not what you are signing up for. But, as I have never done CIR it would be good to hear from people who have first-hand experience at it!

BifCarbet
August 19th, 2016, 19:38
I wonder if there are many people on here who have been a CIR to give us a run down of what they did and how much teaching they did etc.

Current CIR. Never teach. Basically a desk job with occasional events, guest reception, interpretation, etc.
Almost all CIRs I've met are in public offices, though some do teach. Not sure about how to try to avoid that, but the odds seem to be low, based on conversations with peers.

BifCarbet
August 19th, 2016, 19:55
I think that only applies if you pull out after you have been given your placement. Could be wrong though.

That's right.


N2 is fine!

N2 is fine.
The test portion of my interview was absurdly short and easy. They may go more in depth if you can't provide a passing certificate of N2 or N1.

mrcharisma
August 20th, 2016, 07:51
Out of the 2 CIRs in my locality one did a mix of desky, touristy and schmoozing stuff, while the other did literally fuck all. Either of those seemed decent enough options.

Eibig
August 21st, 2016, 12:50
That's right.



N2 is fine.
The test portion of my interview was absurdly short and easy. They may go more in depth if you can't provide a passing certificate of N2 or N1.
Did you have N2 or N1?

I don't have NNS any level, so I'm crossing my fingers that I'll even get an interview. If I take the test in December, I don't know if I'll get the results before February to show them at the interview.

GodInStrafeMode
August 23rd, 2016, 11:54
They're pretty rare (happens a lot in Hokkaido, though). Though if you're not interested in ALT work at all, be forewarned that some CIR jobs are basically glorified ALTs...
Yeah for some prefectures it's a given but probably not worth the overall risk. But yeah, what are you gunna do OP if you get given Kochi (notorious for hiring CIRs to be ALTs) for example?
Think of this way: if it came down to you and one other person and you said you weren't flexible and they said they were, who do you think is going to get the job?
End of the day all CIRs will teach in some capacity so I wouldn't be too violently opposed to the idea.

Eibig
August 23rd, 2016, 23:08
Yeah for some prefectures it's a given but probably not worth the overall risk. But yeah, what are you gunna do OP if you get given Kochi (notorious for hiring CIRs to be ALTs) for example?
Deal with it, since I wouldn't know what the position entails until I get there.

Think of this way: if it came down to you and one other person and you said you weren't flexible and they said they were, who do you think is going to get the job?
Probably the other person. I'd rather come off as inflexible than have to wait two years to reapply.

End of the day all CIRs will teach in some capacity so I wouldn't be too violently opposed to the idea.
I am not against teaching at all, I just want to do something that is more likely to be related to what I want to do in the future.

elmaldito
August 24th, 2016, 03:46
Current CIR. Never teach. Basically a desk job with occasional events, guest reception, interpretation, etc.
Almost all CIRs I've met are in public offices, though some do teach. Not sure about how to try to avoid that, but the odds seem to be low, based on conversations with peers.

Good to know. Thanks BifCarbet!


Did you have N2 or N1?

I don't have NNS any level, so I'm crossing my fingers that I'll even get an interview. If I take the test in December, I don't know if I'll get the results before February to show them at the interview.

But which JLPT test would you do in December? I mean if your level is currently a weak N3, doing an N2 exam in 4 months sounds quite the task to me. How many hours are you planning on spending per day? Are you the type to study for 20 minutes and go on Facebook/YouTube for 40 and so on? I'm not having a go, I'm just saying that to go to the level you want by December would require real dedication.

Why not apply for CIR, then tick the ALT button and go there and if only accepted as an ALT think about that opportunity primarily as a way to improve your Japanese? Think to yourself this is my chance to pass N1 after so long in Japan and let's say if you can't transfer don't renew, go home then apply for CIR later and that way your Japanese would be higher? As that linked article states to reach proficiency in Asian languages you really need to spend half that time in country.

Eibig
August 24th, 2016, 04:12
Good to know. Thanks BifCarbet!



But which JLPT test would you do in December? I mean if your level is currently a weak N3, doing an N2 exam in 4 months sounds quite the task to me. How many hours are you planning on spending per day? Are you the type to study for 20 minutes and go on Facebook/YouTube for 40 and so on? I'm not having a go, I'm just saying that to go to the level you want by December would require real dedication.

Why not apply for CIR, then tick the ALT button and go there and if only accepted as an ALT think about that opportunity primarily as a way to improve your Japanese? Think to yourself this is my chance to pass N1 after so long in Japan and let's say if you can't transfer don't renew, go home then apply for CIR later and that way your Japanese would be higher? As that linked article states to reach proficiency in Asian languages you really need to spend half that time in country.
I study like 6 hours a day, I hardly sleep anymore.

I have thought about that, but I don't know if that year or more would be better spent there teaching, or here working at my paid interpreting job. I'll make that decision if I get selected to be an ALT.

mrcharisma
August 24th, 2016, 07:06
Deal with it, since I wouldn't know what the position entails until I get there.

Probably the other person. I'd rather come off as inflexible than have to wait two years to reapply.

I am not against teaching at all, I just want to do something that is more likely to be related to what I want to do in the future.

If your attitude in real life is anything like it is when a former JET gives you fairly realistic advice, you won't have to worry about being offered either position.

Eibig
August 24th, 2016, 07:48
If your attitude in real life is anything like it is when a former JET gives you fairly realistic advice, you won't have to worry about being offered either position.
Are you referring to something I said?

mrcharisma
August 24th, 2016, 08:31
Yes. If you come across in the interview as too inflexible or arrogant to consider an ALT position (as you do here), you'll be left dreaming of green tea and onsens from afar.

JET more or less demands that applicants be flexible about their potential working situation. Being anything but will prove an enormous red flag.

webstaa
August 24th, 2016, 08:37
ALT-ing is a great way to study the language, if you are motivated to study in the first place. Plenty of ALTs come over with little to N4 levels of Japanese and get up to N2 or N1 in a year or two. But if you aren't disciplined enough to study, you'll probably not make much progress. Plenty of ALTs come over with really good, functional Japanese and never really build it into fluency.

I'm fairly conversational - I can carry on a good conversation about most general topics. I can also read decently - but my writing ability is awful - especially kanji. I'll remember kanji when I see them, but ask me to write simple or common kanji (most recently I forgot how to write 阪 when writing Osaka) and I'll blank out. Disciplined study could correct that, but I don't.

Also, as an ALT you can make connections that will help later if you want to get into international relations as a career. JET is ostensibly about internationalization and international exchange more than just teaching English.

GodInStrafeMode
August 24th, 2016, 09:28
If your attitude in real life is anything like it is when a former JET gives you fairly realistic advice, you won't have to worry about being offered either position.
I don't usually agree with mrcharisma but he's on point with this one. I interview ex-JETs all the time and the specific personality traits that most Japanese companies admire in them (especially in the case of CIRs) is their ability to be fluid and flexible. What is it that you want to do in the future if you don't mind me asking?

elmaldito
August 24th, 2016, 17:12
I study like 6 hours a day, I hardly sleep anymore.

I have thought about that, but I don't know if that year or more would be better spent there teaching, or here working at my paid interpreting job. I'll make that decision if I get selected to be an ALT.

Are you currently working as a Spanish interpreter? If you are it's worth considering whether the experience as an interpreter albeit in another language is worth more than saying ALT-ing. I guess the option is applying for CIR, if you fail, continue with your interpreting job, improve your Japanese and apply again in 2017.



I study like 6 hours a day, I hardly sleep anymore.

Thanks for letting me know.


I have thought about that, but I don't know if that year or more would be better spent there teaching, or here working at my paid interpreting job. I'll make that decision if I get selected to be an ALT.



As mentioned you can build connections whilst in Japan as an ALT and you could volunteer to translate/interpret for schools. Who knows, they might take you up on the offer?

I do think living in Japan for 1-2 years with your desire and current low N3 would be great to get N1. And let's face it to be an interpreter/translator in any language needs way more than an intermediate level. I currently have the equivalent of a high N2 in French and wouldn't dream of being an interpreter in this language.

BifCarbet
August 24th, 2016, 21:48
Yes. If you come across in the interview as too inflexible or arrogant to consider an ALT position

I don't think not considering a job you don't want is arrogant.

Eibig
August 25th, 2016, 07:07
I don't usually agree with mrcharisma but he's on point with this one. I interview ex-JETs all the time and the specific personality traits that most Japanese companies admire in them (especially in the case of CIRs) is their ability to be fluid and flexible. What is it that you want to do in the future if you don't mind me asking?
Interpreting and translating, especially conference interpreting.

Being an ALT in Japan would definitely help my language ability immeasurably, but I don't know if it's worth taking years off of gaining experience in the field. But at the same time I'd have to be in Japan for a long time anyway before translating out of it. I know that there are some ALT positions that involve translating and interpreting. Deadline isn't for a couple of months, so I'm going to use that time to think about it.

I e-mailed the program coordinators and confirmed that the year wait time only applies if you bow out of the program after getting a placement, so that's not an issue anymore. That was the main reason I didn't want to apply to both, but I was mistaken.

elmaldito
August 25th, 2016, 21:17
BifCarbet, what was your Japanese level when you arrived to work as a CIR? I just wonder if people are CIRs and their level is like a low N2 what actual interpreting/tasks they would be given?



Interpreting and translating, especially conference interpreting.

Being an ALT in Japan would definitely help my language ability immeasurably, but I don't know if it's worth taking years off of gaining experience in the field.


As mentioned there is a possibility you are a CIR and are essentially a glorified ALT, so in such a case you'd also be losing a year of translation experience, but like you say you have time to consider it. If I were you I'd tick the ALT box and if you get on the programme make the most of it (and offer your services), but of course you're not me :D

GodInStrafeMode
August 26th, 2016, 09:06
BifCarbet, what was your Japanese level when you arrived to work as a CIR? I just wonder if people are CIRs and their level is like a low N2 what actual interpreting/tasks they would be given?

Pretty sure no one actually cares what level you are after you've arrived and settled in; you get given a job, you do it! Some of them are within your capacity and some aren't.

elmaldito
August 26th, 2016, 22:08
Pretty sure no one actually cares what level you are after you've arrived and settled in; you get given a job, you do it! Some of them are within your capacity and some aren't.



Well, I'm asking that because I have worked as a translator and interpreter before and if someone had a not so high level I would not want to trust them with any kind of serious translation or interpreting work for fear that they translate incorrectly or change the meaning of something incorrectly. Translation/interpreting is quite tricky as I'm sure we all know. Frankly, a low N2 is nowhere near high enough to be a proper translator.

BifCarbet
August 27th, 2016, 00:27
Interpreting and translating, especially conference interpreting.

You have never interpreted Japanese before and you want to make a career out of it? I'd say that's worth a rethink.


I e-mailed the program coordinators and confirmed that the year wait time only applies if you bow out of the program after getting a placement.

You didn't believe me?


BifCarbet, what was your Japanese level when you arrived to work as a CIR? I just wonder if people are CIRs and their level is like a low N2 what actual interpreting/tasks they would be given?

My Japanese level was tour guide interpreter sober and native drunk. If you are the only CIR in your office, you get the CIR work. If there are others, you'll get some of it. Receiving interpretation gigs is not a "mehh if he/she can do it, sure" thing. It's the job. If you have a few real failures, they'll decide not to recontract you. If you do alright most of the time and never drop the ball in a way the screws over your organization, you'll be ok. You don't need to be a native speaker, but you need to be resourceful enough to be able to interpret. There is almost always prep time, so if you can get the jargon down and be ready to go, you're good. If you are banking on getting a CIR gig and not interpreting, you should wait until your Japanese is better.

EDIT: No edit.

EDIT 3: Low N2 is probably ballpark for surviving a good amount of CIR interpretations.

Pretty sure no one actually cares what level you are after you've arrived and settled in; you get given a job, you do it! Some of them are within your capacity and some aren't.

Correct.


Well, I'm asking that because I have worked as a translator and interpreter before and if someone had a not so high level I would not want to trust them with any kind of serious translation or interpreting work for fear that they translate incorrectly or change the meaning of something incorrectly. Translation/interpreting is quite tricky as I'm sure we all know. Frankly, a low N2 is nowhere near high enough to be a proper translator.

Translator? N2 is probably OK. If you have time and jisho.org, you can ask a few questions to your supervisor here and there and string it together, at least J to E. Interpreter? You're going to want to have a pretty good command of sentence structure and spoken language, as well as the ability to learn new words on the spot. If you know 自分, 政治, and 団体, but you can't figure out what 自治体 is, you might have trouble.

elmaldito
August 28th, 2016, 00:42
You have never interpreted Japanese before and you want to make a career out of it? I'd say that's worth a rethink.


I know a Japanese native with 10 years' experience being a translator/interpreter in Madrid (SP-JP) whose Spanish level is second to none and she finds it tough. There are some good periods followed by periods of feeding on the scraps on jobs here and jobs there. Often she'll get an email at 3pm demanding the translation be done before midnight (they know when she reads the message so she can't say oh sorry I didn't get the email on time). And that's it in a nutshell: not a very stable profession. Also, I'd imagine there is a lot of competition, with Spanish-Japanese it might be a bit harder to find someone native in one of the language and native-like in the other.

GodInStrafeMode
August 29th, 2016, 09:06
Well, I'm asking that because I have worked as a translator and interpreter before and if someone had a not so high level I would not want to trust them with any kind of serious translation or interpreting work for fear that they translate incorrectly or change the meaning of something incorrectly. Translation/interpreting is quite tricky as I'm sure we all know. Frankly, a low N2 is nowhere near high enough to be a proper translator.
Yes ... but, and this is a big but(t), we are talking about the Japanese public sector here; an entity that has no qualms whatsoever about outsourcing translations to a local "agencies" who simply google translate said documents and then charge city hall for the privilege. Low N2 equivalent is WAY above what most local translation agencies have in terms of skills. In short: it's highly unlikely that anyone will be checking your level of translations and even if they did you'd still be producing a lot better than any local 業者 could ;)

elmaldito
August 30th, 2016, 01:02
Thanks GodInStrafeMode ;)