Getting A Handle On Chinese Translation

The Chinese economy is the second largest in the world after the US’s. The total value of the goods and services traded between these two economic giants was a humongous $648.2 billion in 2016. Not many would, of course, attribute this to the role played by something as the seemingly run-of-the-mill as a Chinese translation service. But if one were to think carefully, would any trade at all be possible between these two leading economies of the world, were it not for the services rendered by Chinese translation services and Chinese interpreters?

It, therefore, follows that companies in the US that want to expand their customer-base in the vast Chinese market, and Chinese businesses who seek greater access to the US market, would certainly want to invest in quality English Chinese translator services and Chinese English translator services. In fact, Chinese translation services are in great demand due to a large number of businesses in the US and China selling goods and services in each other’s countries.

However, considering that so much is at stake, most businesses would hire the services of only those translation companies who are known for their competence and efficiency. Here’s how one can assess the standard of a Chinese translation service.

Specialized Knowledge-It is not just the fact that a translator knows a foreign language and his or her mother tongue well. He or she must also have specialized knowledge in the area, in which they are offering translation services. For instance, a translator may specialize in Chinese law and be able to translate as well as interpret Chinese legal documents for his or her American wpients.

There are a number of specializations that a Chinese translation service may offer-legal, business, medical and official (pertaining to patents, birth certificate, death certificate, marriage certificate, graduation certificates, visa translation, book translation transcripts and so on).
One can determine the level of competence of such a translator by referring to his or her relevant educational and professional qualifications, and also the extent of his or her experience.

Ability To Proofread And Edit Source Material- Not only should a Chinese translation expert be good at translation, he should also be able to point out any errors and if possible, improve the original Chinese translation source material (and vice versa). To that extent, a translator may need to be deeply involved in the nuances of the wpient’s business.

Credentials- Again, with documentation being such an integral part of international trade and business, the credentials of the translators have to be out of the top drawer. For instance, the Managing Director of Capital Linguists, one of the most reputed Chinese translation companies, holds an M.A. in Chinese Conference Interpreting from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in Monterrey, CA, apart from other formidable academic qualifications. That apart, he has lived in China and Taiwan for several years.

Type Of Chinese Translator- Chinese is not one language, but an umbrella group of many languages. The most well-known of Chinese languages are of course Mandarin and Cantonese, but there are other important languages such as Taiwanese and Hakka.

So the choice of a Chinese translation service will be dictated by which Chinese region the wpient has business interests in. For example, the people of Hong Kong would be more amenable to transacting business in Cantonese than the more widely-used Mandarin. So a translation service that is more experienced in Cantonese translation will be preferred over another service that is more into Mandarin translations in the case of Hong Kong-centric businesses.

In fact, when it comes to choosing Chinese translators, it is more a case of horses for courses than anything else. The Chinese translator that one hires must be able to translate into and from the specific Chinese language that the wpient is targeting. For instance, in Hong Kong and Macau, it is the traditional type of Cantonese that is in vogue, whereas in Singapore Mandarin is spoken and simplified characters are used.

In Taiwan, it is traditional Mandarin that is used, while the People’s Republic of China itself uses the simplified Chinese characters. The US itself, with its very long history of Chinese immigration, sees the use of the traditional kind of Mandarin and Cantonese. As you would have surmised by now, hiring the services of a Chinese translator is nowhere as simple and straightforward as hiring the services of a French translator!

One has to appreciate that getting a handle on the Chinese language means that the translation agency can straddle the vast universe of the Chinese group of languages. Consider this- Mandarin has 836 million speakers, Cantonese 71 million, Wu 77 million, Min 60 million, Jin 45 million, Xiang 36 million, Hakka 34 million, Gan 31 million and the list goes on.

Any business or organization that has dealings among the Chinese speaking peoples of the world has to be absolutely sure of who their target audience is and what language they need to be addressed in. It is only highly professional and experienced translation services like Capital Linguists, who are able to not only carry out a professional Chinese translation job but also provide the right counsel to their wpients. This kind of expertise cannot be acquired overnight and needs both the right qualification as well as intimate knowledge of the areas where different versions of Chinese are spoken.

That can only come about if the translators in question have actually lived in those areas for a number of years. The choosing of the right Chinese translation service provider may require a little bit of research, but is well worth the effort. An excellent translator can make a world of difference to any company or organization’s outreach effort in a Chinese speaking area.

Considering the sheer size of that market and the tremendous economic opportunity that it presents to American businesses, the importance of superior Chinese translation and interpretation services can only grow in the time ahead.

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