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ISSUE 23 - February 2018

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The Japanese Experience of the NameExoWorlds Competition: Translating Official Information into Japanese to Enable Domestic Groups to Participate in a Global Event (page 13)
Kumiko Usuda-Sato, Reiko Iizuka, Hitoshi Yamaoka, Toshihiro Handa

Global astronomy events, translation, public engagement networking


Translation of information from English is an essential step toward ensuring the involvement of non-English speakers in global events. The NameExoWorlds competition, led by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), was held from 9 July 2014 to 15 December 2015. It was a unique event that invited the public to name celestial bodies. In Japan, language acts as a significant barrier for amateur astronomers and school students to participate in global events hosted in English. To address this concern, we established a domestic working group to set up a Japanese website and provided a translation of the IAU’s official site for the NameExoWorlds competition. We also developed additional original information in Japanese when needed and sent announcements to a mailing lists of astronomy societies in Japan. As a result, 28% of the registered groups and 47% of proposals for names were from Japan, making Japan the most active country for these stages of the competition. After the competition had ended, we carried out a survey in the Japanese astronomy community and received 124 responses. We found that most of the Japanese participants referred to our official Japanese website in order to overcome the language barrier and participate in the competition. This article explores our work of translating the competition information into Japanese and our evaluation of the impact of this action on the uptake by Japanese astronomy enthusiasts.