Specialization for Chinese-English translation
מפרסם התגובה: Lauren Higgins

Lauren Higgins
ארצות הברית
Local time: 22:07
מסינית לאנגלית
Jan 8

I am almost as green as it gets when it comes to translation. I did my undergrad in international studies, but having always loved languages, I studied Chinese as well and spend a couple years teaching in China after that. The few unpaid translation projects that I've done have convinced me to attempt going full-time, and I feel that combing through the forums has prepared me to face the requisite period of rejection.

One of the (many) things I'm unsure of at the outset is whether
... See more
I am almost as green as it gets when it comes to translation. I did my undergrad in international studies, but having always loved languages, I studied Chinese as well and spend a couple years teaching in China after that. The few unpaid translation projects that I've done have convinced me to attempt going full-time, and I feel that combing through the forums has prepared me to face the requisite period of rejection.

One of the (many) things I'm unsure of at the outset is whether and how to lock in to a specialization. The projects I've done dealt mostly with special education, but there were a few interesting outliers as well, and I don't really want to limit myself to that area just yet. I know the things I'm interested in (e.g. journalism on international affairs), but without formal qualifications or experience, how can I convince a potential employer that I understand the subject better than the average person? Is it dishonest to even attempt this?

Would I be better off just taking jobs in a variety of fields until I find something I'd like to consider a specialization?

Lastly, I don't know that a specialization will be much use if I get paid next to nothing for it. What are some common specializations for those of you working in the same language combination?
Collapse


 

Laurent Mercky
צרפת
Local time: 05:07
חבר (2019)
מסינית לצרפתית
+ ...
look at the market Jan 9

Hi there
At first, you could try to work in general field to get money and professional experience, then you may consider to specialize your abilities for getting the best from your potential clients.
But anyway, never rush.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 04:07
חבר (2014)
מיפנית לאנגלית
Some desirable characteristics Jan 9

Lauren Higgins wrote:
One of the (many) things I'm unsure of at the outset is whether and how to lock in to a specialization.

I'm glad to see that this is at the front of your mind, because a solid specialisation is likely to be key to your future success. I have previously argued that your specialisation should not be easy to obtain, that it should be in a "serious" area, that it should be relatively stable and that you need to aim at the very top.

I would add that, as well as having one or two specialisations that you focus on because they are are lucrative, it is probably good for the soul to have a couple that you do just because you enjoy them.

Regards,
Dan


Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Laura Kingdon
 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
גרמניה
Local time: 05:07
חבר (2016)
מאנגלית לגרמנית
Focus on areas where native English is a must Jan 9

Dan Lucas wrote:
I have previously argued that your specialisation should not be easy to obtain, that it should be in a "serious" area, that it should be relatively stable and that you need to aim at the very top.


Let me second that. I work at the "edge" of this market (mostly with game content that was originally Chinese) and my impression is that most Chinese companies still think they can do the English version of their content themselves, instead of assigning it to professional native speakers of English. And in the gaming world this seems to work, it seems that the end users (gamers) accept the low quality of the English version. The same will probably be true for any kind of low end products, where consumers are used to reading cr*p instructions and such. So this is no market for you. The market would be fields where you simply cannot get away with poor content quality. Complex, high end products, for example.


 

Lauren Higgins
ארצות הברית
Local time: 22:07
מסינית לאנגלית
TOPIC STARTER
Message received Jan 10

Thanks for your prompt replies. It makes sense to try to find something niche. Kay-Viktor, I have the same general impression of Chinese companies. From what I've seen, they don't always put a premium on quality work ("passable" or just under it is considered good enough), not to mention I've heard the average rates are abysmal. I'm still wondering whether it wouldn't be wiser to try to find a full-time position at an agency and gain more experience before diving into freelancing. But for now I'... See more
Thanks for your prompt replies. It makes sense to try to find something niche. Kay-Viktor, I have the same general impression of Chinese companies. From what I've seen, they don't always put a premium on quality work ("passable" or just under it is considered good enough), not to mention I've heard the average rates are abysmal. I'm still wondering whether it wouldn't be wiser to try to find a full-time position at an agency and gain more experience before diving into freelancing. But for now I'm going start by applying to agencies as a freelancer and see how things look in a couple months.Collapse


 

Laurent Mercky
צרפת
Local time: 05:07
חבר (2019)
מסינית לצרפתית
+ ...
Not true Jan 10

Lauren Higgins wrote:

Thanks for your prompt replies. It makes sense to try to find something niche. Kay-Viktor, I have the same general impression of Chinese companies. From what I've seen, they don't always put a premium on quality work ("passable" or just under it is considered good enough), not to mention I've heard the average rates are abysmal. I'm still wondering whether it wouldn't be wiser to try to find a full-time position at an agency and gain more experience before diving into freelancing. But for now I'm going start by applying to agencies as a freelancer and see how things look in a couple months.


You are wrong about Chinese agencies and clients.
Lately, they have become very requiring concerning translation quality and I can tell you, they may ask to 2 ou 3 proofreaders to find your potential mistakes.
And when they are able to find your pseudo-mistakes, be ready to make a ton of QA reports.


 

Lauren Higgins
ארצות הברית
Local time: 22:07
מסינית לאנגלית
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the correction Jan 11

I see. Sounds like a good thing as long as they are willing to pay what a good translation is worth. And if they're really going to go over my finished work with a fine-tooth comb, I suppose that's all the more motivation to hone my translation skills!

Laurent Mercky
 


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Specialization for Chinese-English translation

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