Is there an association of translators in Taiwan?

I would pay gold for this information. Literally.

I need to find out if there such a thing as an association of translators in Taiwan. Such associations are in place in Canada. I know because I have translated documents from French to English that were translated in Alberta, and when certifying the translations, the translator mentions that she is a member of the Translator Association of Alberta.

If anyone out there has the language ability to google in Chinese and is inclined to help me, I would be eternally grateful. I need a contact address/email address or phone number.


Note: Not sure this is the right forum. WCIF may be more suitable, but I need this info so badly that I hope the higher traffic in open may pay off. Mods, please move it if need be. Thank you.

According to my impeccable source, there’s no such thing here. If you need a translation to be “authenticated,” all you have to do is use a translation firm that is a registered business. They can then put their stamp on the translated document (for a fee), and you can then get it notarised (for another fee) by a notary who will simply ascertain that the translation company really is registered. That’s it.

Thanks, sandman. I really appreciate the reply.

My problem is that I have a document that was so poorly translated from Chinese to English that the English version is unreadable. I’m talking absolutely unreadable and that was confirmed by 4 native English speakers who can not make out what the document is about. That is me, my wife and two friends. (make that 3 native speakers since I’m not, but I can read English.)

Upon further investigation, I found out that the document was translated by a student who has not yet been granted a bachelor with a major in English. In other words, the document was translated by someone who is not a accredited translator (no license), and it was stamped and authenticated/certified by someone who can’t even speak English.

It goes as follows:

Accredited License No. 75991290*

You see, this person named Wan Pi-Chun is not a translator, she can not speak a word of English (I know, I tried to talk to her in person) and she hired a student to translate the document (I know, I talked to the student in person) but regardless, she signed and certified the document as the official translator anyways. This shit is wrong no? They argue with me that in Taiwan a translator doesn’t need a license to translate legal documents. That’s not true, is it?

Anyways, I just wanted to find out if there was an association of translators because I wanted to report the charlatans. I guess it’s another one of these things where people get away with being dishonest.

And the license number above, is it a translator’s license number or is it a business license number then?

PLEASE someone shed some light on this for me.


*Name and license number were changed as to not make public the real license number and crooked translator’s name.

Yup. Totally above board and shipshape. As I said, you don’t have to be “officially” a translator – all you have to do is set up a translating company. That’s all. You can employ whomever you like.
No translator’s association, but perhaps there’s a chance that you could report them to the Consumers Foundation? Or the Fair Trade Commission? Sorry, best I can do.

No. No. No. Not possible… This is officially the day that I decided to no longer argue with people who call Taiwan a third world country.

Thank you, Mr. sandman.


Hey! I come from a third-world country and we DO have a translators association. No license, no work, no pay.

[quote=“marboulette”]No. No. No. Not possible… This is officially the day that I decided to no longer argue with people who call Taiwan a third world country.

Thank you, Mr. sandman.

i work for a large translation company in taipei, and previously worked for the other large translation company…the rule in this industry is you get what you pay for…if you walked into a little 3 person agency to get this job done and paid NT$1.5 per word then you’ll only get rubbish back…C-E translation in Taiwan for the most part presumes that the reader cannot understand English…its frustrating i know…you should see some of the shite i have to edit…but you need to be aware that you need to find a native speaker for “real” translation…local agencies are just churning out reference translations that no one ever reads…

Normally what people do in this situation is simply refuse the translation, demand that it be redone, or refuse to pay.

Just to let you know how unregulated the whole thing is. I once translated a military manuals from English to Chinese for the ROC military. I even told them I didn’t think I was qualified and would have been quite happy to be left in the hot sun for the remainder of basic training, instead of being chained in an air conditioned room trying to make head or tails of a missile maintaince manual. It was either that or the free circumcision operation with 4 weeks bed rest by a doctor in training.

Just to let you know I barely trust myself to post online without finding a few errors in every other sentence.

However, I once hired a service to translate my Taiwan Univeristy documents. Besides getting the GPA right, everything else was jibberish. I had to edit the thing and haggle for a discount, just to get their stamp.

I wouldn’t say 3rd world. I would say it is just as easy to find a 2nd or 3rd rate company in Taiwan as it is to find a 1st rate company. I’ve learned it is best to work through referrals from trusted individuals when looking for services in Taiwan.

That makes sense and there is not a chance in hell that I would have paid these people. Problem is, I did not contract them out. The document is a three page court document and I had seven days to reply. I replied on time, but all I could do is request the original Chinese version and explain that the document was not readable. By the time I received the Chinese version the seven days was up. And given that the translation is “certified” the prosecutor stuck to the seven days regulation even though he has the power to amend the regulation if need be.

According to article 252 of the criminal procedure code, the prosecutor has to explain his ruling clearly, and he did, however the translation was so fucking bad that I had no clue what the hell he was saying. In other words, the prosecutor did not provide his reasoning in accordance to article 252. But since the document is “certified” there is nothing I can do and the person I was trying to bring to justice is now free of all charges despite having falsified financial statements and blatantly committed fraud.

This is messed up… First I have to deal with a local fraud, then I have to deal with crooked translators, and finally I have the fucking prosecutor breaching the criminal procedure code. Mind you, he did it without knowing that the translator took him for ride.

I might have one card left to play, though. Since the person who signed the translation did not translate the document, it will possibly invalidate the document. And I knew that something wasn’t right with this translation company so when I paid them a visit, I recorded the conversation. I have evidence that A-the person who signed the translation did not translate the document and can’t speak English, and B- that the person who translated the document is not a certified translator, and C- Her spoken English is rubbish. When I asked her for her license number she said “In Taiwan we don’t have.” I then asked her what is her highest level of education and she answered “I am a bachelor.” Turns out she hasn’t even graduated yet. :wall:

So… Two more questions… We’ve established that someone doesn’t need a license to translate documents in Taiwan… But what about legal documents? Does that make a difference?

And finally, if someone doesn’t need a license, it is, however, illegal to sign a translation as the official translator if you did not do the translation work, no? That’s like forgery, no? And if it’s the case, this brings us back to article 252 of the criminal procedure code.

In brief, is the document valid if it is signed as the official translator by someone else than the actual translator?


PS: Sorry about the third world comment. sandman’s response was really not what I was hoping/expecting and I was fuming. (I still am.) Fucking crooks everywhere!

No offense taken -actually, we are fourth world according to the old definition, no oil, you know-. My sincere condolences on your predicament. As a full time translator, I wish I could help. I know how you feel, as occassionally our bosses or someone we know -from TV stations, magaziones, etc.- receives stuff and gives it to us to be “checked”… only to have it handed back in a plastic bag with a red UNREADABLE on top. We refuse to touch anything that is gibberish, and you shoud see the kind of mess some people have the cojones to charge for. However, your case is so ethically wrong, to mess up a legal, time-sensitive case. However, something in the back of my mind tells me they skipped a procedure, though, I’ll get back to you on that.

Ethics, shmethics…

Thanks Icon, that would be fantastic.

Do you think that it’s possible to hire a real accredited translator to honestly certify that said document is indeed so poorly translated that it is not readable?


[quote=“sandman”]Yup. Totally above board and shipshape. [/quote]Nope. That’s forgery. No licence… OK… Signing something you did not translate… Forgery.


Another problem is that it was translated into English by someone who is not a native speaker of English. That in itself is a red flag. All the translations I do are into my own language. In the few exceptions to this rule, I’ve always insisted that my work be proofread and corrected by native Chinese speakers.

Well, if sandman speaks the truth, it’s only a red flag in terms of quality, but not in terms of legality. So I really hope Tinman is right and that sandman failed to notice that the translation was signed by someone who did not translate it. I also wish that the prosecutor would have hired a translator with a conscience like you, Chris. But obviously, not all translator care to make sure that what they translate is in good order.

I wrote a statement in which I included audio recording transcripts of the conversation I had at the translation company and it is being translated to Chinese by a proficient translator as I write this. We’ll see if the case is re-opened for investigation or not… I doubt it, though. These prosecutors are tough cookies and while their mandate is to make sure that law is respected, they seem to be more concerned with avoiding to flood the legal system with court cases.


Chris, 99% of translations to English from Chinese in Taiwan are done by Taiwanese non natives, especially legal. You know why. I was explicitly told in college you shouldn’t do that because it is not ethical, but…

Aside from suing the translator -which is problematic if the prosecutor hired that person or is appointed by court- a formal complaint should help Marlb but will not stop this from happening again. Other translators will stay away from such conflict not because out of loyalty but fear or reprisal.

Another problem is that it was translated into English by someone who is not a native speaker of English. That in itself is a red flag. All the translations I do are into my own language. In the few exceptions to this rule, I’ve always insisted that my work be proofread and corrected by native Chinese speakers.[/quote]

unfortunately that is the industry here…and OP is probably at fault here too…if he paid NT$1.5 per word to an agency there is no way the job could go to a native speaker since they will ask NT$2.0 at a bare minimum; caveat emptor most definitely applies…until clients are willing to pay more and insist on proof of native speaking competence by the translator (whatever that might mean) the industry will continue to use Taiwanese natives for this work…

Bear, SOP here is to have students do the work -assigned as part of their classwork or counting as grade points- and the teacher signs/get the money/does not share. Meipanfa.

I agree. Until Taiwanese themselves realize translation is no joke and demand their money’s worth, we’re all doomed.

Tinman’s wrong. The person who holds the business license is the person who owns the business, who IS the business. If the translator signed off on the work, it would be meaningless as he or she isn’t the laoban.
In signing as the translator, the laoban is accepting responsibility as the person who did the work. Which he or she DID, as they’re the laoban. See how it works? They sign it even if the work was divided up between 35 different translators, each translating half of a sentence.
In signing, they’re agreeing to the company’s accountability. Of course, its an easy call for them, seeing as how there isn’t any accountability, really.
Don’t believe me? Sue 'em. If Tinman’s right, you’ll win. If I’m right, you’ll lose.

thats the little agencies and SOHO type places…so, yeah, be doubly careful when using them…the companies i work for have 100 plus staff and will not use students (recent graduates maybe) and if you complain about the quality your job will eventually end up on my desk for me to rewrite it (oh joy of joys!)