「商人」と「職人」の違いとは? The Difference in Views Between Merchants and Artisans




On September 3 (Saturday), I participated in the Asset Management Expo in Osaka for the first time. Approximately 5,000 people joined the event in total during these three days.




At the entrance, I reluctantly selected my name tag of Corporate Manager/Investor because no Sole Proprietor or Freelance tags were found. This tag seemingly encouraged salespeople to introduce high-priced financial products to me.



Salespeople showed an atmosphere of earning more money by growing sales and reducing costs. As a corporate manager, there is nothing wrong with this attitude: a correct answer as a merchant. However, something lingered on my mind.



Translation companies purchase translations from freelance translators, edit them internally, and sell them to clients. In this process, the expenses paid to translators are considered as costs technically.



If companies reduce costs, or translation fees for freelancers, the quality drops significantly as a matter of course. This phenomenon is typical of introducing machine translations, the actor producing inferior goods. Though they can deliver much better translations, merchants dare to control the quality at a moderate level to maximize profits.




Meanwhile, artisans are eager to unlock their potential to deliver the best quality. I am one of those translation artisans. This difference in mindsets was the cause of my uncomfortable feeling.



Translation services are business and require earning profits. This presents me with a dilemma. I prefer the ratio of “merchant vs. artisan = 2 vs. 8.”



My preferred style is controlling sales to the volume I can take care of and cutting indirect costs for delivering translations; while receiving corresponding fees from clients, recruiting only skillful artisans and honing my translation skills as an artisan.





The Asset Management Expo displayed various financial instruments and was good for a laugh. Exchanging of business cards was welcomed. On my way home, in Kintetsu Department Store at Osaka Uehonmachi Station, a signboard read “utmost tempura (deep-fried food) of Japanese black beef topped with sea urchin eggs” caught my eyes. This unusual combination was convincing, and the meat melted in my mouth.