Being Self-employed

Hi,

my name is Yuurı and i live on Ishigaki Island, about 250km off the east coast of Taiwan. (^^)
Pleased to meet you all!

Never having lived in Taiwan but thinking of spending 3-6 months at the east coast (Hualien looks like a good choice) in order to get a decent foundation in Chinese, i would like to check the collective’s wisdom about some issues that don’t seem to be talked about much (likely because they are rather rare). My questions - for today (^^) - are these:

Would anybody here know anything about the practicalities and legalities of being self-employed in Taiwan?

Has anybody ever heard of a foreigner who worked, on contract or as an employee, for a government entity (whether town hall or national government) or a non-profit organization?

Many thanks in advance for information and opinions! m(_ _)m

Welcome Yuli,

“Would anybody here know anything about the practicalities and legalities of being self-employed in Taiwan?”

You have to establish a company and that costs to much for 6 month, forget it.

There are a lot of foreigners who are employed by the government or non-profit org but there are only interested in some specialists. Look at www.104.com.tw. What is your subject, experience? It is more easy to find a work in an university but the requirements are high (PhD, experience).

Difficult to answer because you didn’t specify your questions.

Greetings, Yuli.

I’m from the UK, and have been working for the central government here, as a so-called “adviser” (顧問), for more than 16 years. I used to be employed under a yearly contract, but for the last few years I’ve been self-employed, doing work for various government organs under a retainership or on a case-by-case basis.

Omniloquacious,

my respect, glad to hear about you. May I add: It is difficult to get a visa as a newcomer in Taiwan when you are only self-employed.

But when you want to study Chinese language, history or something, take part at a university course, price ca. 25.000 NTD for 3 month, some benefits regarding to health service, accommodotion etc. It is worth, no trouble

Hiker and Omniloquacious,

thanks for the comments and the info! Let me reply one-to-one:

Hiker:
Yes, i appreciate that it may be difficult to answer my questions, since i have given no specifics - the reason is that there are none as of yet. (^^) That is to say, i tend to make my plans “on the way”, based on the information i get as i investigate possibilities. All i can say at this time is that i am thinking of creating a job for myself (perhaps related to the general area of Taiwan-Okinawa relations), and i hope you can see how my questions fit in there somewhere even though they are rather general. (^^)

[quote=“hiker”]It is difficult to get a visa as a newcomer in Taiwan when you are only self-employed.

But when you want to study Chinese language, history or something, take part at a university course, price ca. 25.000 NTD for 3 month, some benefits regarding to health service, accommodotion etc. It is worth, no trouble[/quote]

Roger on those details. In fact, i am planning to take a language course if possible at all (learning the language is, after all, the objective), and although such courses seem quite affordable, the money has to come from something i do while i live in Taiwan - i don’t have any savings and am therefore not in a position to just hang out while i study. (^^) You asked about my specialities: well, let’s use some convenient “labels”: radio communications, acoustics (sound engineering), electronics engineering (with a few sub-specializations from analog HF and AF tube technology applications to DSP, such as used with satellite TV), general linguistics (with a practical arm: teaching Japanese, English, German), mediation (conflict resolution), tourism planning, chemical-free agriculture, etc. In other words, and as you can see, i’m a generalist, not a specialist, and thus probably hard to sell. (^^) Anyway, that website you mentioned looks like something i think i want to study carefully, not the least to get an idea about what is happening in the economy. (^^)

Omniloquacious:
Thanks for the details - yours is the kind off data i had been hoping to find somewhere. (^^) May i ask you how you got started 16 years ago? And did you already speak Chinese when you came to Taiwan?

Many thanks for a satisfying “round 1”!

PS: saw the thread about water rationing in Taiwan: our climate is pretty much the same as the climate of Taiwan’s east coast, and this year we’re running a substantial rainfall deficit…

[quote=“yuli”]Omniloquacious:
Thanks for the details - yours is the kind off data I had been hoping to find somewhere. (^^) May i ask you how you got started 16 years ago? And did you already speak Chinese when you came to Taiwan?[/quote]

I was working as a lawyer in London and studying Chinese at an evening class when I decided to come to Taiwan to study Chinese more intensively. I was doing that, teaching English, and taking life very easy when I happened to see a newspaper ad for a part-time position in a government agency. I thought hmm, that would suit me and fit in with my schedule quite well, so I sent in an application, and was quite surprised to be selected from among more than 40 applicants - many of whom I would have thought were better qualified than me for that particular position. I soon found myself largely occupied working on speeches for the man who is now the vice president (whom I’ve continued to help out all through the ensuing 16 years).

My work was apparently well appreciated, and I was quickly offered a full-time position (which I rejected because I only wanted to work part-time). I was soon being approached by people from other government agencies with requests to take on work for them, and have always found myself having to reject more work than I’ve been able to accept. All of this just fell into my lap without my ever doing anything more than answering that ad, attending the interview, taking the job, and always fulfilling what was asked of me to the best of my ability. I’m pretty well satisfied with how things have worked out.

Omniloquacious,

as a former colleague and a fan of hiking, we should go together for a hike.

Anybody know anything about getting work as an interpreter (English/Mandarin) and/or academic/commercial proof-reader for peoples’ English stuff?

not bad opportunities,

www.104.com or the website of the national science council. master or phd will be helpfully.

Omniloquacious,

thanks for the reply! Your explanation gives me additional food for thought (i.e., “raw material” for my own preparation).
I think that there are always adventurous opportunities for those who have skills and are mentally prepared, and your story supports that. (^^)

Thanks & regards!

Hi, nice to meet you.
Even though i can’t answer your question, i’d like to mention something else that might be useful to know.

What people commonly call “proofreading” is actually “checking for errors and correcting them”, and that takes usually at least as much time as translating the document. So don’t make the mistake of charging too little! (^^)

If you don’t know it already, you may want to check out (or even join) the fanyi mailing list - you can find information about that list here: cits.hawaii.edu/fanyi/index.html

Good luck!

Hi Yuurı-san,

Thanks for the fanyi link! I’m a translator too.

I was recently studying Mandarin in Tainan, and knew a few Japanese people who were self-employed - they lived in Taiwan on a student visa, but made their money online through whatever they had set up back in Japan.

If you’re looking at the area of Okinawan-Taiwanese relations, maybe it’s worth it to set it up so the income etc. goes to your account in Japan, and then just transfer the money over as you need it (not cheap, but…).

I’m not sure of the mechanics involved, but it’s something to consider.

Hi… thanks for the comment. My work would not be online work, so that exact route is not going to work for me.
But, as you said,

Yes, it might well work out that way that whoever pays me will send the money to my bank account here, to make matters easier. There are people on both sides of the border who are interested in what i am doing, but before i submit a suitable set of proposals i still need to gather some information, and what you told me is useful in this context…

We are in the midst of hounensai (fertility festival) and everybody here is busy, but once things have returned to normal i can start to work on this project from this end, too. In the meantime, since i found “Forumosa”, i thought i might as well put some questions out and learn from other people’s experience.

Thanks & regards!

[quote=“yuli”]What people commonly call “proofreading” is actually “checking for errors and correcting them”, and that takes usually at least as much time as translating the document. So don’t make the mistake of charging too little! (^^)
–[/quote]
Thanks for that, Yuurı-san! Arigatoo! :smiley:

I think the length of time for ‘xiugai’ as opposed to translating really depends on how fast you can translate, whether you have memory software etc and, basically, how good you are! It would take me an age to translate it as it’s been a while since I did my translation studies course and I’ve had 2 serious illnesses since - thus coming back to TW to top up my language. Also, it can depend on the quality of the author’s English. Some are great, and some are plain awful, right? :laughing:

Thanks a lot for the tip and the link though and hope things work out for you!

:bow:

Agreed, as long as all you have to do for such a “revision” is to read the English text, correct obvious grammar and spelling errors and maybe fix up the style here and there. If it is clear from the beginning that your work is limited to these tasks, then you would normally be faster than translating (assuming the text to “proofread” is reasonably good). The reason why i mentioned getting underpaid is that there are people who say they want to have their translations “proofread” (checked for errors) and who mean by that, “please tell me whether this translation is correct” - that’s where it gets expensive. (^^)

Anyway, have fun!

Yes, good point! I daresay that, if they know that the proofreader can read Chinese, then this may well happen. Many can’t though in TW, so not only would their service not ba as thorough, but they would also ‘escape’ this. I think I’ll be asking to see a sample of the text and having a bit of a chat with the client before quoting for the job and probably even making a reservation that, should it take yonks, they have to pay an hourly rate. We shall see… A friend of ours whose in academia in TW said that those who do a good job get a lot of work and can easily charge higher prices for it. Perhaps they well earn it!!! :laughing: