U.S. – China Trade Talks

Friday, May 10, 2019, at 12:01 a.m. EDT, the United States government raised the tariff rate on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25% from the prior rate of 10%. The trade inequity between China and the U.S. is not a new problem. However, every administration before the current one has dodged this issue. NPR published an article Thursday evening titled, “U.S. Hikes Tariffs On Chinese Imports, As Tense Trade Talks Continue.”

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It states , “The two countries are attempting to reach an agreement that would address U.S. concerns about Chinese business practices, including intellectual property theft and state-subsidized companies.”


U.S. – China “Talks” are not possible without the use of Chinese interpreters (oral communication) and Chinese translators (written communication). Translation and interpretation facilitate dialogue among speakers of different languages. Translation is the conversion of the written word from one language to another, while interpretation  is the oral conversion of the spoken word from one language to another.

Most U.S. interpreting agencies provide Chinese interpreters and Chinese translators amongst linguists for many other common languages such as Spanish, French, Italian, Korean, and Japanese. Capital Linguists, “The Gold Standard of Interpreting Companies,” provides language services for not only common languages, but also for copious rare languages such as Marshallese, Kinyarwanda, Igbo, Uzbek, and many more.

Simple mistakes during consecutive and simultaneous interpreting or translation can lead to disastrous results. Translating from one language to another language is a complicated business, and when it comes to interpreting between a patient and doctor, the stakes are higher.

“In The Hospital, A Bad Translation Can Destroy A Life,”  describes a Spanish interpretation whereby the word, “intoxicado” was used by a family member and the interpreter translated it into “intoxicated.” 

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The accuracy of the interpretation was faulty; the patient had bleeding in the brain. As a result of inaccurate interpretation, the doctor made a diagnosis of a drug overdose that eventually left the patient as a person with quadriplegia.

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Finbarr Bermingham of the South China Morning Post, wrote, “Ahead of US-China trade talks, veteran negotiators warn that deals can often get lost in translation.” The newspaper column states, “As negotiators from the United States and China grow closer to clinching a deal to end the trade war, both sides will be wary of the complications that can arise from issues of language, interpretation, and translation during negotiations.”

Making up words and quibbling over individual words amid languages is an existential problem that leads to bad deals, disputes, lawsuits, confrontations, and potentially wars.

BBC News recently wrote, “Translation errors force Osaka metro websites offline.” Their article states, “Osaka’s metro network has shut down its foreign language sites after users noticed some odd translations. Among the errors on its English page was the literal translation of Sakaisuji line as “Sakai muscle,” not to mention, “Prince Bridge Now City” (Taishibashi-Imaichi) and “World Teahouse” (Tengachaya) and “Third carriage” unsettlingly became “three eyes.”

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Analysis of communication examines semantic and grammatic accuracy and the understanding of personal experiences. Personal experiences through the use of language is a two-way process. Language is used to express thoughts, perceptions, opinions, and viewpoints. However, the use of words and the construction of sentences used to communicate effectively and accurately is a sophisticated and complicated system. It is not unusual to misinterpret subject matter and is often challenging to interact during interlingual communication. To seize the richness of reality in communication, people regularly use narratives and metaphors. Unfortunately, metaphors are language-specific and vary from culture to culture.

Translation between languages requires interpretation, too. The information communicated in the source language has to be interpreted by the interpreter and conveyed into the target language in such a way that the recipient of the message understands what it means. Cultural context can create obstacles in any communicative act particularly when interlingual translation is needed.

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Capital Linguists uses a stringent vetting process when recruiting interpreters and translators. Background checks, certification, accreditation, and credentialing are a few of the interpreting and translation agency’s procedures during hiring and retaining elite, professional, and experienced linguists.

“When Success Depends On Every Word.”™

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Philip Rosen

Philip Rosen

Capital Linguists’ certified translation service and interpreters service was founded on Philip’s vision of a super-elite translation and interpreting force. Drawing on other high level interpreters and translators, he leads an exclusive cadre of highly skilled, professional language specialists.

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