SWET began with an informal gathering held in Tokyo in November 1980. More than 100 attended, and their enthusiastic interest in forming a continuing association prompted further meetings and the publishing of a newsletter.
- November 1980: Informal gathering in Tokyo
- February 1981: First issue of SWET Newsletter is published
- 1983: First SWET book, The Japan Style Sheet, published
- 1991: Second SWET book, Wordcraft: English Writing, Editing, and Translation in Japan, published; founding of SWET Kansai chapter
- May 1996: SWET-L mailing list first opened
- October 1996: SWET Web site (webmaster Paul Findon) first opened
- October 1998: SWET Newsletter (No. 82) redesign launched with No. 82
- 1998: Revised edition of the Japan Style Sheet published by Stone Bridge Press
- 2000: 20th anniversary celebrated; SWET Website revamped and opened (webmaster Sako Eaton)
- 2004: SWET Newsletter, second redesign launched with No. 104
- 2005: 25th anniversary
- 2010: 30th anniversary
- 2012: SWET Website redesign; SWET Newsletter ceased print publication (No. 130)
SWET is a community of writers, editors, and translators, as well as copyeditors, proofreaders, book designers, copywriters, teachers, researchers, rewriters, and others working mainly between Japanese and English, and mainly in Japan or for Japanese clients. With members throughout Japan as well as in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries, SWET supports people who work with English words internationally in these professions. The organization holds events mainly in Tokyo, the Kansai area (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe), and the San Francisco Bay area, featuring speakers, discussions, or information of interest to members and provides meeting places for offline networking for members and interested non-members. SWET’s website is a hub for resources, networking, and news, and SWET maintains an online and print archive of articles and other resources for professionals. The SWET Newsletter, published in print from 1981 to 2012, is a repository of decades of professional experience and know-how; selected articles and columns are available to non-members at Professional Resources.
The Japan Style Sheet, published by SWET, is the authoritative guide to use of romanized Japanese in English text based on the accumulated experience and advice of Japan-based professionals since the 1950s. SWET has also published Wordcraft, a collection of articles, selected from the SWET Newsletter, about professionalism, English usage, approaches to translation, and other information useful to Japan-related wordsmiths. The book is now out of print, but selected parts are available online.
For a full history up to the year 2000, see the article The History of SWET.
SWET promotes the sharing of know-how and experience among professional wordsmiths, supports the accumulation of professional knowledge and skills, and provides a vehicle for increased contact among people working in related fields. SWET seeks higher standards of expertise in the many activities—translation, rewriting, publishing, editing, copywriting, book and magazine design or work in allied fields—that relate to the use of written English in Japan-related materials.
Workshops and other activities are held throughout the year, organized at the initiative of members and coordinated by the SWET Steering Committee. See Events for upcoming events and Past Events for a list of past activities.
SWET Steering Committee
The SWET Steering Committee consists of a dozen or so people who participate on a volunteer basis in the planning and organization of SWET projects and activities. Committee planning and coordination are conducted primarily through the SWET-SC mailing list.
SWET-L, a networking mailing list for professionals maintained by SWET, is available to anyone whose work involves communicating in written English or Japanese. SWET-L topics include points of English style and grammar, handling Japanese words in English, advice about dictionaries, style manuals, and other topics of interest to international wordsmiths. There are also job offers and requests for professional help and advice, discussions of electronic-writing and electronic-publishing tools, suggestions on dealing with clients and getting work, especially in Japan, guidelines to getting qualified, and, of course, professional networking.