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Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby jdsmith » 10 Apr 2012, 21:46

Like one guy could drag down prices... :lol:

I used to do Chinglish to English translation for kids going to grad school. Harvard, Yale and Princeton have read my words. :thumbsup: :roll:
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby Jialin » 10 Apr 2012, 22:41

Thanks for the info. I apologize for the misunderstanding. I did not put two and two together and realize what accepting low pay meant.

I'd be far more interested in doing this kind of work that tutoring English - I'll already be doing that in the buxiban. And really, I want to go to Taiwan to be more immersed in the language and have exposure to the language.

Thanks again for the info.
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby shengou » 17 Apr 2012, 13:08

How much should newbies charge? And what companies are good? I've found Elite Translations for Asia through a google search, but their job application requires filling out how much you charge per word in USD$. I'd love to get into this field. I always loved getting homework in my Chinese classes that involved translating, especially my classical chinese class. What books would you recommend for translation work? I have a grammar book that I just bought but I don't know what else I might need.

I'm starting to translate a book I have just for practice as well as translating online articles and hope to actually apply for some translation work at the end of the buxiban school semester.
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby ironlady » 17 Apr 2012, 20:53

Translation is one of those things that is difficult to teach.
It really has to do more (IMO) with two separate processes: reading and comprehending a Chinese text, and being able to state that meaning in English in a way that is not overly tied to the Chinese original in structure. Most people never get the point where they are able to separate the meaning from the structure of the original, which means very awkward translations.
Of course, in Taiwan if you do write native-sounding English, many times whoever "reviews" the work will claim the English is poor, because it is not what they would have written in Chinglish.
Books on translation tend either to flog theories (which are not really very useful in commercial translation, where we don't have weeks to agonize over a single word -- that job has to go out) or provide enormous lists of "equivalents" which can be useful sometimes, but are available for free on the Internet if you have reasonable translation-oriented research skills. I translated professionally for 15 years before ever taking a class in translation theory, and I can say that taking that class did not change my workflow or philosophy of translation one bit in the 10 years since I took it.
Which is another facet -- research skills are really important, particularly the ability to Google efficiently to find term equivalents and source documents that will help with a translation.
As for pricing -- no man is an island. If you want to become a translator (as opposed to an occasional dabbler), meet some translators. Join professional organizations. Do informational interviews with translators. It's not just about filling out an Internet form, as much as the agencies would like to promote that idea.
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby tsukinodeynatsu » 17 Apr 2012, 22:24

iron lady, good advice on joining organisations and such. Need to get on that.

For the pricing... I really don't know how Chinese prices work, but $0.08?
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby ironlady » 18 Apr 2012, 05:22

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: )
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby Jialin » 19 Apr 2012, 02:05

I am someone who would way prefer to do some translation work than tutoring English...looks like it will be an interesting and maybe, at times, frustrating experience "dabbling" in the world of translation in Taiwan. we'll see!
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby John Yu » 19 Apr 2012, 08:13

Of course, in Taiwan if you do write native-sounding English, many times whoever "reviews" the work will claim the English is poor, because it is not what they would have written in Chinglish


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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby Teddoman » 05 May 2012, 03:55

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.

I didn't submit anything online. Who had access to the Internet or a computer in the 90s? I just walked in and asked for a job.

I was good compared to language school kids but probably not good enough to be a translator professionally. I made it work. Probably took me twice as long to translate since I had to look up so many words. But for me I was willing to do it because it was like being paid to study Mandarin, which I was already doing for free! I don't know if I was underpaid. I just took what they offered me. Sorry ironlady!

At least Elite seemed to understand the value of a native speaker doing Chinese to English. I had various agencies calling me who didn't seem to understand the difference.

But it's pretty grueling if you do it full time and your Mandarin is good but not amazing. Requires a lot of concentration. For me, I preferred doing it part time. For me, it was like practicing and studying Mandarin for 3-4 hours straight.
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Re: Freelance translation?/supplement buxiban work?

Postby shengou » 06 May 2012, 16:15

Teddoman wrote:But it's pretty grueling if you do it full time and your Mandarin is good but not amazing. Requires a lot of concentration. For me, I preferred doing it part time. For me, it was like practicing and studying Mandarin for 3-4 hours straight.


Cool, that sounds perfect. Do it part time and get paid to improve my Mandarin.
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