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 and educator 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 Japan’s grass roots localisation program, 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 a global software company. Upon graduation, she attained NAATI Certification for Professional translation from Japanese to English, and worked in freelance translation for several years as Ocha Translations. During this period she translated content for companies including MUJI, ANA and Sony. She specialized in software localisation and marketing translation or ‘transcreation’, and especially enjoyed translating social science academic papers.
More recently Natalie was employed as a sessional academic at Western Sydney University, where she taught Translation Technology, Text Analysis for Translation and Translation Practicum. In late 2020 she began studying to become a high school Japanese and English teacher, and is due to graduate with a Master of Secondary Teaching in August 2022.