2022 Year in Review

Happy New Year from London, Tokyo & Aomori! 2022 is over, and what a year it’s been! Every January, I write a message to friends and stakeholders to reflect on the previous year and anticipate developments in the year to come.
2022 Year in Review

In 2022, we rolled out the most robust iteration of Honyaku Cloud yet—adding plenty of new features—in addition to launching our new vacation rental property at Yakeyama House and opening a new Tokyo Office. We also celebrated five years of our non-profit community space at 14-54, where our pizzeria continues to feed the local community in Towada. As we continue to support a growing network of friends and partners in Japan and overseas, I established Queen & Co UK in London in April, which has enabled us to serve and connect our clients seamlessly across different countries and time zones.

Photo captions (clockwise from left): Yakeyama House; Tokyo Office in Kuramae; London skyline (the Queen & Co UK office might be visible if you squint hard enough); and 14-54 on the eve of its fifth anniversary

We recognize 2022 was also a chaotic year for many throughout the world. As a mission-driven company, we aim to contribute to causes that align with our values. We are proud to have given to Doctors Without Borders during the war in Ukraine and to have provided financial support through our client Kyushu University for refugees who have escaped from Afghanistan and are beginning new lives in Japan. I'm also proud of all we do to support community and individual rights. In 2022, more than 60% of our staff were women. We continue to offer a flexible working environment suited to our employees across a diverse age group ranging from 19 to 69. In addition, 50% of our leadership team are working parents and 25% are female, a figure we will strive to increase to 50% by 2024.

In 2023, we will unroll even more powerful termbases and translation memories on the Honyaku Cloud platform and expand our suite of digital solutions while continuing to grow our business both in Japan and abroad. After nearly three years of relative remoteness and reclusivity, I'm looking forward to reconnecting in 2023.

Honyaku Cloud

2022 has been a year of incredible progress for our Honyaku Cloud platform. We welcomed Harry Brammer as Senior Project Manager in April, and together with Michael Warren as CTO, we have made huge strides in transforming Honyaku Cloud into a more comprehensive translation management platform. Some highlights include:

  • An algorithm-driven billable character analysis, which saves our clients 15–20% on average
  • An incredibly intuitive, easy-to-use translator portal, which has saved us hundreds of hours in translation preparation
  • Multi-file projects, which allows us to work on large-scale projects with hundreds of files simultaneously
  • Same-day quotation feature to expedite the translation process
  • Additional language pairs for Chinese and Korean
  • A rigorous, three-tiered quality assurance process backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee

In 2023, we aim to give our clients direct access to powerful termbases and translation memories on the Honyaku Cloud platform in addition to integrated digital automation and marketing solutions to ensure that our clients’ messages reach their intended audience, wherever they are in the world.

Visit Honyaku Cloud for more information

Engaging with the International Translation Industry

We joined three international professional translation bodies—the ITI, JTF, and JAT—to stay engaged with the industry and share information on the latest trends. In May, I attended the annual conference of the Institute of Translation & Interpreting (ITI), the UK’s leading translation and interpreting body, in Brighton. Later, in August, I was assessed for and granted certified membership (MITI) and gained ISO 17100 Qualified status. In November, Harry supported the annual conference of the Japan Association of Translators (JAT) in Tokyo.

March 2022- 14-54 Celebrates Its Fifth Anniversary

Our non-profit community space 14-54 celebrated five years in March, with a commemorative performance by butoh dancer Shoichi Fukushi, who performed five years ago in 2017 when we first opened the space. Due to the pandemic, we postponed large-scale festivities until August, when we celebrated with clients and friends from the local community and beyond. We fired up the ovens in our pizzeria to cater the event and our wall-wide projector to showcase vintage photos of 14-54 and the streets around Towada dating back to the Taisho period (1912-1924), many of which had been found in the attics of 14-54. Later in the evening, Michael continued the celebratory atmosphere with a fun, pop-infused DJ set.

May 2022 - Establishment of Queen & Co UK

A bit of personal news — my wife and I had a baby in March! As I start to establish my life in the UK, I realize that the work of Queen & Co. transcends borders and that we can and should have a global presence. As such, I established Queen & Co UK, a corporate entity for our work outside of Japan. I’m happy to say that we’ve already started doing more business with clients outside of Japan, a trend that we will continue in 2023.

August 2022 - Yakeyama House Opens Near the Oirase Gorge

I’m proud to announce that after a year of renovations, Yakeyama House is now open and available to stay overnight! Amid the pandemic and supply chain setbacks, Noriko powered through the paperwork to make sure we were able to have a successful open house in August, and we welcomed our first overnight guests in October and have continued to see high occupancy rates. Yakeyama House is just one way we show our commitment to bringing people into rural communities like Towada in Aomori.

Located in a secluded village in the foothills of the Hakkoda Mountains, Yakeyama House is the perfect spot to get away and relax for a few days, with several beautiful onsen and a ski slope just a short walk away. Inside is a bath with 100% natural hot spring water that flows straight from Sarukura Onsen, one of the best springs in the Hakkoda Mountains. Our good friend Genki Hattori helped us repurpose wood from 14-54 and local Akita cedar for a beautifully finished cottage look on the first floor and traditional Japanese tatami on the second floor. Oirase Gorge is just a 5-minute drive away, and Lake Towada is less than 30 minutes by car.

Book a stay at Yakeyama House

September 2022 - Tokyo Office Opens in Kuramae

Being based in Aomori comes with many benefits but as we expand we try to meet our clients wherever they are, both digitally and physically. And so we’ve opened our Tokyo Office, which is located in Kuramae, just minutes south of Tokyo's famed Asakusa district. We held our opening party in early September, where we welcomed friends, partners, affiliates, and clients to our corner of this vibrant city. Feel free to stop by and say hello!

We hope to see you again in the new year, both online and in person. On behalf of everyone here at Queen & Co., I wish you a Happy New Year!

Alex Queen
CEO & Founder, Queen & Co.