For the past four decades, after the lights dim and curtains go up at cinemas around Japan, the credits that have flashed on screens at the start of hundreds of foreign films have acknowledged subtitle translator Natsuko Toda.

At age 78, Toda is the doyen in her field, and she has also served as the interpreter during Japan visits by such Hollywood luminaries as "The Godfather" director Francis Ford Coppola, among others.

In the May 5 issue of Sankei Shimbun Toda offered her views in an opinion piece titled 日本語が貧しくなっている ("Nihongo ga mazushiku natte iru," "The Japanese language is becoming impoverished"), in which she offered a somewhat pessimistic view of the changing conditions of her work. Portions have been excerpted below with the Sankei's kind permission.