Poorly-understood job titles in Japan

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Here’s a quick ranking survery from goo Ranking to squeeze in as my entry to the September 2008 Japan Blog Matsuri on poorly-understood job titles in Japan. As the theme of this month’s Matsuri is language, I’ll list the original Japanese too. I’ll bet many of my readers will be stumped by some of the translations too!

Demographics

Between the 25th and 28th of July 2008 1,072 members of the goo Research online monitor panel completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 50.3% of the sample were male, 5.7% in their teens, 14.4% in their twenties, 31,0% in their thirties, 28.1% in their forties, 10.5% in their fifties, and 10.4% aged sixty or older. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.
It’s interesting that most of the confusing job titles are English ones. Number 7, Vice-President, refers not to people like Dick Cheney, but to something I notice in start-ups, where everyone in at the founding and/or with substantial shareholdings gets an honorary vice-presidentship for their troubles. I’m not sure what number 14 is doing on the list – an orchestra conductor is a 指揮者, shikisha – do they mean bus conductor?

I used to have an unofficial job title of Transcontinental Code Monkey (I might even still have the T-shirt somewhere), but that’s another story.

Oh, and for the Blog Matsuri I though this or this would have been much more appropriate, but the translation defeated me!

Ranking result

Q: What job title do you not really know the meaning of? (Sample size=1,072)

Rank 日本語 Reading English Score
1 エバンジェリスト Ebanjerisuto Evangelist 100
2 董事 Touji Board Member (Chinese/Taiwanese) 89.5
3 パブリシスト Paburishisuto Publisist 85.6
4 インテグレーター Integure-ta- Integrator 81.1
5 フェロー Fero- Fellow 80.3
6 アーキテクト A-kitekuto Architect 76.6
7 バイスプレジデント Baisupurejidento Vice-President 73.2
8 マーチャンダイザー Ma-chandaiza- Merchandiser 70.2
9 リードトレーナー Ri-dotore-na- Lead Trainer 69.9
10 アソシエイト Asoshieito Associate 66.9
11 参事 Sanji Councillor 60.7
12 スーパーバイザー Su-pa-baiza- Supervisor 52.2
13 主事 Juji Manager 50.2
14 コンダクター Kondakuta- Conductor 42.9
15 アナリスト Anarisuto Analyst 39.5
16 シニアスタッフ Shiniastaffu Senior Staff 37.1
17 次長 Jichou Vice-director 31.3
18 プロフェッショナル Purofesshonaru Professional 29.8
19 最高情報責任者(CIO) Saikou Jouhou Sekininsha Chief Information Officer 26.0
20 スペシャリスト Supesharisuto Specialist 25.4
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