Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

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Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby Jialin » 10 Apr 2012, 12:36

Hi everyone. Do you need a work permit to do freelance translation work in Taiwan? Is there a market for this for native English speakers fluent in Chinese? with limited experience can one do this? (i.e.haven't done it professionally, won a few undergrad translation contests, did some working at an NGO, for school administration at Shandong university...)

I'd like to do this to supplement my work/salary as a buxiban teacher. Can a person pretty easily pick up a second job like translation or modeling to supplement buxiban work?

Thanks!
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Re: Freelance translation?

Postby sandman » 10 Apr 2012, 12:44

Can do. But if you're on a work permit-based ARC, make sure you get a local ren-tou (a local who will sign for you for any work you do) otherwise you might get screwed when tax time comes around.
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Re: Freelance translation?

Postby tsukinodeynatsu » 10 Apr 2012, 13:27

The translation contests should help somewhat!

There are plenty of translation agencies in Taiwan, look around. Or if you have the right contacts you should be able to find your own cases directly. Or a mix of the two.

I'd recommend trying to get cases from overseas as well, as most jobs in Taiwan are quite low paid because there are plenty of English grads who 'translate' willing to do it for a pittance.
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Re: Freelance translation?

Postby StuartCa » 10 Apr 2012, 13:28

Do a search these questions have been answered before.
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Re: Freelance translation?

Postby Jialin » 10 Apr 2012, 13:55

StuartCa wrote:Do a search these questions have been answered before.


Yeah, I just wanted to ask given my circumstances/experience...and what the market for it looks like now. thanks.
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Re: Freelance translation?

Postby Jialin » 10 Apr 2012, 13:56

tsukinodeynatsu wrote:The translation contests should help somewhat!

There are plenty of translation agencies in Taiwan, look around. Or if you have the right contacts you should be able to find your own cases directly. Or a mix of the two.

I'd recommend trying to get cases from overseas as well, as most jobs in Taiwan are quite low paid because there are plenty of English grads who 'translate' willing to do it for a pittance.


Thanks for the info! It's encouraging. I'm willing to do it for really cheap. Esp seeing as how buxiban jobs only offer 14-20 hours a week on average -- I'll have lots of spare time!
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Re: Freelance translation?

Postby tsukinodeynatsu » 10 Apr 2012, 15:07

Jialin wrote:
tsukinodeynatsu wrote:The translation contests should help somewhat!

There are plenty of translation agencies in Taiwan, look around. Or if you have the right contacts you should be able to find your own cases directly. Or a mix of the two.

I'd recommend trying to get cases from overseas as well, as most jobs in Taiwan are quite low paid because there are plenty of English grads who 'translate' willing to do it for a pittance.


Thanks for the info! It's encouraging. I'm willing to do it for really cheap. Esp seeing as how buxiban jobs only offer 14-20 hours a week on average -- I'll have lots of spare time!


Please don't do it for really cheap if you've got a quality product. You'll be dragging down prices for the rest of us and fucking yourself over if you ever want to do it full time further down the line.
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby Chris » 10 Apr 2012, 15:18

Some advice:

Since English is your native language, do Chinese-to-English translation only.

Charge by the Chinese character, not the English word.

You're inexperienced, but don't do it for "super cheap". You'll harm yourself and the industry (which has seen enough harm from cheapskates hiring native Chinese speakers translating into English for pennies, resulting in horrendous Chinglish).

Insist on checking the final draft, because the Big Boss will make his own changes, messing up your work.
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby ironlady » 10 Apr 2012, 20:51

If you are good enough to translate for money, you are professional. If you are professional, you are member of our industry, and if that is true, you should care enough to build our industry, not cut it down. That includes not undercutting people who translate for a living. We do not take kindly to that sort of behavior. Everyone is free to set his own price, but those who seriously undercut are generally not welcomed. This is particularly true in translation because, even with "computer assisted translation" tools available, there is often not a significant savings in time or brain energy in using them. Translation still takes approximately the same amount of time, so it is difficult to discount. And, as I said, if you are good enough to do this professionally, you are good enough to be paid a professional wage. If not, it's time to get more volunteer experience (not necessarily in Taiwan -- perhaps via the Internet).

You need to be asking yourself whether you can write English in all the styles and registers required for the document you are handling, and whether you can completely comprehend Chinese for those documents and registers. If the answer is no, I'd consider private English students instead...er, I mean, I'd make some friends, help them with their English from time to time in a non-formal manner, and occasionally accept cash tokens of their appreciation.
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby sandman » 10 Apr 2012, 21:18

Most clients here are perfectly happy with Chinglish. The ones who aren't won't hire you without seeing credentials, so I wouldn't worry about dragging down prices. The people who pay silly money generally would not be interested in hiring a true professional, while the serious ones will be quite happy to pay a premium -- as long as you show you can deliver.
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