Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby ironlady » 07 May 2012, 01:52

Teddoman wrote:I worked at Elite back in the day, next to a couple of older foreign dudes who barely glanced up when I would come in. I was probably sitting right next to a couple of Forumosans and didn't even know it. The "editor" was an older Chinese or Taiwanese guy who had lived in the US and come back. Their clients were all serious companies, many of them public. I did a lot of financial reports, speeches, and contracts.


Elite was one of the better ones, and Arthur (I think that was his name) was a great guy to work with. I think he'd been illegal in the US for like 15 years or something, if I recall. I did a lot of freelance work for them in the 90s as well. Don't know what they're like now.
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby riceworm » 07 May 2012, 15:43

Elite is now Linguitronics.
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby sandman » 07 May 2012, 15:56

ironlady wrote:Native English speaker into English in Taiwan (competent translator)? More like NT$2 per word, with clients going up to NT$3-4 depending on their pockets and sponsorship.

Anything under NT$1 is definitely for the non-native speaking college crowd or wannabes. Might as well run it through Google Translate and then spell-check it for that price, because that's what the end user will probably expect (and possibly even like :eek: )

So strange! Different worlds, I guess. My old lady won't answer the phone for less than NT$7 per. And she turns down WAY more than she accepts. That's only for translation. Interpretation, she's like around NT$20,000 per diem, and that means around 2 hours of actual onstage work. Simultaneous is WAY more than that, and her diary is booked solid until 2017. She works for all kinds of people, from UNESCO to the Fiddly Bumfucks of the Taiwan International Bureau of Wasting Taxpayers Money. I think that if you want to know how these gigs work, it would possibly be better to talk to the people involved. The people who are ACTUALLY making a living from it. But then, they tend to be too busy to fuck around on bulletin boards. If bulletin boards is your apogee, then, dude! Get back to the buxiban!
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby tsukinodeynatsu » 07 May 2012, 22:08

sandman wrote:
ironlady wrote:Native English speaker into English in Taiwan (competent translator)? More like NT$2 per word, with clients going up to NT$3-4 depending on their pockets and sponsorship.

Anything under NT$1 is definitely for the non-native speaking college crowd or wannabes. Might as well run it through Google Translate and then spell-check it for that price, because that's what the end user will probably expect (and possibly even like :eek: )

So strange! Different worlds, I guess. My old lady won't answer the phone for less than NT$7 per. And she turns down WAY more than she accepts. That's only for translation. Interpretation, she's like around NT$20,000 per diem, and that means around 2 hours of actual onstage work. Simultaneous is WAY more than that, and her diary is booked solid until 2017. She works for all kinds of people, from UNESCO to the Fiddly Bumfucks of the Taiwan International Bureau of Wasting Taxpayers Money. I think that if you want to know how these gigs work, it would possibly be better to talk to the people involved. The people who are ACTUALLY making a living from it. But then, they tend to be too busy to fuck around on bulletin boards. If bulletin boards is your apogee, then, dude! Get back to the buxiban!


I think ironlady both translates and teaches, but I translate full time. Working at home does give me a little time to mess about on bulletin boards, too!

I'm going to take a random guess at assume that for $7 per word she's working on specialised texts in a few fields? And I'm sure she didn't START charging $7 per word; I'm sure that happened after she had experience, clients and a reputation.

Interpretation's a whole different bucket, those prices sound about right for the amount of work you need to put in to pull off conference interpretation. You need to really, really, REALLY know the field (in two languages!) to do that.

Actually, I'm really curious about what type of translation she does. I mostly do more general stuff (business type things) and patents (though really, I've been doing so much chemical work I should take a chemistry course and start charging as a specialised chemistry translator @.@), charging between 2 and 5NT a word (I think...I don't actually work with TW companies because I don't translate Chinese). But then I don't take direct clients and don't have a paper qualification yet.
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby Teddoman » 07 May 2012, 22:14

riceworm wrote:Elite is now Linguitronics.

Puke. Hate it.
sandman wrote:
ironlady wrote:Native English speaker into English in Taiwan (competent translator)? More like NT$2 per word, with clients going up to NT$3-4 depending on their pockets and sponsorship.

Anything under NT$1 is definitely for the non-native speaking college crowd or wannabes. Might as well run it through Google Translate and then spell-check it for that price, because that's what the end user will probably expect (and possibly even like :eek: )

So strange! Different worlds, I guess. My old lady won't answer the phone for less than NT$7 per. And she turns down WAY more than she accepts. That's only for translation.

I think the Chi->Eng rates are diff than Eng-->Chi rates. English is a more verbose language. Or maybe she has direct connections to the client? Going through an agency basically cuts your pay in half, since the agency takes their cut.
sandman wrote:Interpretation, she's like around NT$20,000 per diem, and that means around 2 hours of actual onstage work.

Wow, looks like I should have done translation gigs. That's like half a month of English teaching in two hours? Wait, you mean being bilingual can actually pay money?
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby ironlady » 07 May 2012, 23:26

sandman wrote:[I think that if you want to know how these gigs work, it would possibly be better to talk to the people involved. The people who are ACTUALLY making a living from it. But then, they tend to be too busy to fuck around on bulletin boards.


The tax authority in my country of residence is of the opinion that I make my living as a translator and interpreter. Not all my clients are in Taiwan, but I am in regular contact with Taiwanese clients and with other translators who have Taiwanese clients.
But by all means, sandman knows best. Sorry I spoke.
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby ironlady » 08 May 2012, 01:06

Teddoman wrote:
sandman wrote:Interpretation, she's like around NT$20,000 per diem, and that means around 2 hours of actual onstage work.

Wow, looks like I should have done translation gigs. That's like half a month of English teaching in two hours? Wait, you mean being bilingual can actually pay money?


Good interpreting takes a lot more preparation time than you'd think. It's certainly not just about the hours of "onstage time". And anyway, if you have to sit around all day, you're not available to do other things with those hours. All you are selling is your time, so any unit of time that's taken up by a client is time they have to pay for -- and time that needs to be divided into the total you get for the job to give the "actual" amount you're getting. (Not to mention the costs of self-employment.)
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...although his father beat him every day, wishing him to learn the speech of Ts'e, it will be impossible for him [at least using current methods]...-Mencius
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby tsukinodeynatsu » 08 May 2012, 01:53

ironlady wrote:
Teddoman wrote:
sandman wrote:Interpretation, she's like around NT$20,000 per diem, and that means around 2 hours of actual onstage work.

Wow, looks like I should have done translation gigs. That's like half a month of English teaching in two hours? Wait, you mean being bilingual can actually pay money?


Good interpreting takes a lot more preparation time than you'd think. It's certainly not just about the hours of "onstage time". And anyway, if you have to sit around all day, you're not available to do other things with those hours. All you are selling is your time, so any unit of time that's taken up by a client is time they have to pay for -- and time that needs to be divided into the total you get for the job to give the "actual" amount you're getting. (Not to mention the costs of self-employment.)


I remember someone once telling me that conference interpreters effectively have to memorize a textbook of terms before they can interpret. It has to be all down to subconscious memory, because even the most fluent bilinguals occasionally get stuck and can't for the life of them remember how to say the colour 'red' in their mother tongue @.@;

Can you imagine that happening in the middle of a UN meeting? "We are sorry, but can the speaker please repeat the last two minutes as the delegate from China's interpreter became tongue-tied and missed a section." Not gonna happen.

Interpreting's stressful stuff. I much prefer sitting on the couch in my undies on my lap top, regardless of how much you can get paid in a suit at a microphone somewhere.
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby Teddoman » 08 May 2012, 05:58

ironlady wrote:Good interpreting takes a lot more preparation time than you'd think. It's certainly not just about the hours of "onstage time". And anyway, if you have to sit around all day, you're not available to do other things with those hours. All you are selling is your time, so any unit of time that's taken up by a client is time they have to pay for -- and time that needs to be divided into the total you get for the job to give the "actual" amount you're getting. (Not to mention the costs of self-employment.)

Ok maybe not quite the tree of money I imagined, but still, earning 1-2 weeks English teaching salary in one day, while mostly sitting around reviewing your Mandarin vocab words, eating conference pastries, maybe surfing the web on your laptop, check out some youtube videos, catch up on emails and forumosa, maybe chat and network with bored attendees, oh and do interp work for a couple hours where neither party has any way of knowing if you did a good job...not too bad :)

tsukinodeynatsu wrote:Can you imagine that happening in the middle of a UN meeting? "We are sorry, but can the speaker please repeat the last two minutes as the delegate from China's interpreter became tongue-tied and missed a section." Not gonna happen.

Not trying to encourage a raft of incompetent interpreters joining the ranks, but if I had to wager, I'd be about 70% sure that maybe 62% of what is interpreted is improperly interpreted and no one ever knows the difference. There are so many ways to be sort of right in translation, and anyways, the reader only sees either the Mandarin or the English version. Seems the same lack of accountability would also apply in interpretation. You could just kind of muddle through and no one would notice. Even more so because there's no record of it.

tsukinodeynatsu wrote:Interpreting's stressful stuff. I much prefer sitting on the couch in my undies on my lap top, regardless of how much you can get paid in a suit at a microphone somewhere.

Yes, there need to be more well paying jobs where you get to sit in your undies. How about interpretation on the couch in one's undies via webcam? In my case, I wouldn't even get paid for that. I'd probably owe them money.
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby the bear » 08 May 2012, 11:08

Sandman's wife is obviously an extreme case and it's a waste of time for a newcomer to drool over her massive earnings. :cool: To get those prices you have to know people, cut out the middleman, have a real specialization, do great work, have an outstanding word of mouth reputation etc. etc. For anyone starting out in translation you have to accept that you won't get anywhere waiting for the phone to ring with NTD4 per character jobs. Linguitronics for example doesn't charge clients more than NTD3, and while their quality isn't perfect it's still a cut above the standard translation mill.
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