Natalie Hamilton studied Japanese in high school in Sydney. However, despite having loved the language and getting good marks, she dropped it for the Higher School Certificate, fearing that she would not be able to learn the large amount of kanji required.
She went on to complete a Bachelor of Communication at the University of Technology Sydney, and has worked as a writer in one form or another for 20 years. In 2004 she followed her dream of learning a foreign language, moving to rural Oita Prefecture in Japan to teach English on the JET Programme. She stayed for four years and while there not only fell in love with the people and culture, she realised she loved teaching and became obsessed with kanji characters.
It was during this period of intensive kanji study for the JLPT and Kanji Kentei tests that Natalie identified a number of phonetic components and visual patterns that could be linked to kanji ON readings. As a result of this knowledge, her Japanese reading skills improved dramatically. Natalie wrote The Kanji Code textbook as a way to share what she learned with today’s students of Japanese.
When she returned to Australia Natalie undertook a Master of Translating & Interpreting at Macquarie University part-time, while working as a Translator at Fujitsu and Technical Writer of elearning materials at software company Infomedia. Upon graduation, she attained NAATI Certification for Professional translation from Japanese to English, and started her freelance translation business Ocha Translations.
She has translated content for companies including MUJI, ANA and Sony. She specializes in software localisation and marketing translation or ‘transcreation’, and especially enjoys translating social science academic papers. She is currently teaching translation studies at Western Sydney University.