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Present for Clients for 50 Years: The TOIN Story

"Once a man happened to lose a tooth. As a result, he became a Buddhist monk." 

- Hyakuzo Kurata, Philosopher


When I was a student, I read this passage and took it to mean that even the smallest thing may lead to a chain of events that redirects a person's fate. The passage is memorable and meaningful to me because it captures something of the way TOIN came to exist.

As a young adult just out of school, I had worked as an English teacher, and I had no immediate interest in business. However, a few years later, I decided to start an English language typing service. Those were still conservative times. Yet, as unusual as it was for a woman to own a business, I had good fortune.

By chance, an acquaintance of my father offered me an office for my typing service. This acquaintance also happened to be the president of a company that made fire extinguishers. They had moved their office in order to build a large building in the city, and they would not receive the deposit back on the old office if no one were there, so they just needed someone to be in the old office.

Under the circumstances, he did not need any rent from me so it was a welcome offer. It was a small office but was close to Tokyo Shimbashi station. As they say, business is often about location, location, location. I bought a used typewriter and put up a sign, and TOIN was born.

It was 1963 and the Tokyo Olympics were coming up the very next year. There was a feeling of growth and excitement in the air in Japan and it was the beginning of a wave of economic expansion. For TOIN, work poured in beyond anything I had imagined, and I soon went from expecting to be the typist myself to actually hiring typists to fill all the orders.

Within about three months of TOIN's founding, we already had our first multilingual project, translating documents from a source language into several other languages, editing the documents, printing them, and delivering them in a bound book for an international conference.

From those early days, we have never looked back, growing the company, adapting to technology and industry changes, and now achieving a status as perhaps the longest serving Asian language service provider, with tremendous strength in Asia and global reach.

Today, TOIN supports many European languages and remains known for helping clients with Asian localization needs, which requires expertise in some of the most challenging languages. The U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Institute ranks Japanese, Chinese and Korean, for instance, as Category V languages, the most difficult for native English speakers to learn, requiring at least 2200 hours of study.

I am proud of how TOIN has grown and transformed alongside a field that began in the days of pens, paper and typewriters and is today a multibillion-dollar industry characterized by global computing networks, databases and machine translation.

I am just as proud of the people who make this company great. One of our clients in the mobile device and personal computer industry recently told us that 'every single TOIN employee is extremely present' to meet his needs. We have always placed a premium on having talented people on our team. Clients have come to expect it, and we will continue to deliver for the next 50 years.

Mihoko Katsuta

Founder + Chairwoman
TOIN Corporation

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