Interview with a Professional Chinese Translator

American Language Services has worked with some of the same language professionals for 10+ years and beyond. Our Project Managers know the strengths of each linguist and place projects with our language experts according to the project’s specifications. Although we know our translators and interpreters very well, we realize that our clients may not. Because of this, we’ve decided to share some of our linguist’s insight with our clients periodically via a short survey they’ve filled out including their background and overall view of the language industry. Contact our customer service team for any questions you’d like to see answered in the future.

Survey # 1 – Chinese <> English Translator

Q: How long have you been a professional translator?

A: 8 years

Q: What language pairings do you work with?

A: English and Chinese

Q: What type of translation project do you enjoy working on the most and why?

A:

1. Legal—my previous legal education in international law

2. Business—my personal interest

3. Government—my previous employment as a service servant

Q: Do you prefer working alone or with other translators?

A: I prefer working alone.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most challenging aspect of being a translator?

A: I don’t envision significant technical problems in translation per se except for the vicissitude of the translation business.

Q: What aspects of translating do you find most rewarding?

A: Being able to bridge the gap between the Chinese and English environments so that clients can have a better sense of the meaning of the original documents.

Q: Many people would say translation is an art form. Would you agree? Why or why not?

A: Partly agree. There can be several equally powerful and adequate versions of translation for the same source texts at the same time and the only question is your discretion.

Q: How would you go about translating creative text like a poem or a song?

A: I don’t dabble in translation of high class literature materials.

Q: What do you feel are the biggest misconceptions regarding translation?

A: Translation is a highly professional line of work and simply can’t be handled by anyone who happens to know both source and target languages. Some people don’t appreciate why poor translation may lead to damages.

Q: If you come across a word or phrase during translation that you are not familiar with, how do you handle those obstacles?

A: I would turn to both online and offline (traditional sources like dictionaries) for help. Sometimes, there is no established or matching translation that can convey the implication of the source texts due to cultural or socioeconomic differences between China and America, you’ll have to improvise to the best of your abilities.

Q: What attracted you to working with languages?

A: My personal interest in the English language during my college education and the possibility of working as my own boss conspired to my chosen line of work as a translator.

Q: Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

A: I believe that, despite the inevitable trend of globalization and wage arbitrage, there is always a niche market for high quality translation for companies with a high stake in serious and professional translation.

Keep reading for additional translator surveys to come!

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