Is there an association of translators in Taiwan?


There are two main translators associations in Taiwan. The first one below is basically academically oriented and is probably irrelevant to your concerns in this case. The second one below is an industry self-regulatory association of translation agencies concerned (at least so it says) with exactly the kind of problems you are dealing with. It basically exists to publicize, and encourage, responsible translation and attestation practices among its member agencies. Although I’m a long-time translator myself, I can’t tell you much more about this association because I’ve never been a member. It does not accept individual translators as members – only translation agencies.

1)Taiwan Association of Translation and Interpretation
2) Translation and Attestation Association of Taipei

Taiwan does not currently have any official translator licensing/accreditation system. The government is in the process of putting a system in place, but it is still in the early stages. As the first step in this, a national translation competence exam was launched last year by the Ministry of Education. Candidates who pass the test succcessfully get a certificate of competence. You can be fairly sure that anyone who has this certificate is a reasonably competent translator. However, because the examinations are new, and are purely voluntary, the majority of qualified translators in Taiwan do not have this certificate, and it is purely up to individual translators as to whether they wish to take the test or not. As I understand it, the government is leaning toward gradually developing this examination system into a translator licensing system at some point in the future – at least for translation in certain specialized areas such as court translation.

For the time being, it is up to consumers to rely on their own research to find competent translators. As has been mentioned above, one tends to get what one pays for in Taiwan’s translation market.

Nevertheless, even under the current system, non-qualified translators passing off gibberish translations to paying customers would still likely be in violation of fair trade and consumer protection law and general duty of care under civil law and so forth.

Also, I think it is likely that the person who signed the “certificate” you received could be suspected of forgery of documents and/or fraud. There may be some ambiguity as to what is meant by the word “translator” in the signauture line – does it mean simply “a translator” or does it mean “translator of the document being certified”? I think in context, with the colon, it should be understood by most readers to mean translator of the specific document being certified. This would seem, to my layman’s mind, to make it all the more of a fradulent/forged document. And even if read the other way, it still seems fraudulent if the person is not actually a competent translator. Also, since there is no official licensing/accreditation system for translators in Taiwan, who knows what the number on the certificate means! I suspect it may just be the company’s tax number, or ther person’s own ID number.

I think a key question that arises to my mind is: have you been using a lawyer in your dealings with the prosecutor? It is always wise to use a local lawyer in any dealings with courts or prosecutors. You are much more likely to be successful. This is not just true in Taiwan but in every country in the world. Prosecutors and judges don’t enjoy dealing with the self-representing public. Go through a lawyer and you’re much more likely to get your way, or at least to get the benefit of the doubt/procedure in gray areas.

The translator can sign it under the business umbrella. Look:

For that he would have to be the contractor. Not the case from what I read. His chance to sue them for this is about as good as yours if you tried.



You have no idea how thankful I am for your response. I’m hoping that the associations you linked will be able to provide some answers. (Too much disagreement in this thread for me to know right from wrong for sure.) From there, if it is established that said company is not operating as it should, I will submit a report to both associations, and I will also submit my findings to the court.

I also think you make a lot of sense when discussing the legality of signing a translation that you did not translate. I know sandman thinks that it’s the only way that the document will be official, but (sorry sandman, I do appreciate you weighing in) I really can’t see why a translator could not sign the document under the company’s umbrella as Tinman mentioned. The part where the translator signs is not typed, it is a stamp. So unless the translator was to steal or replicate the company stamp, the translation is just as valid and certified in my opinion. It only makes sense that the company stamp is enough to certify the document, especially so if it is signed by the person who actually did the translation work. Besides, if the company has to endorse the document, then what’s wrong with endorsing the real translator? Can you offer an argument against that, sandman? I ask because I know you have a lot of experience. While my logic tells me to disagree with you, I fear that you could be right in the end. A lot of things do not really meet well with logic in Taiwan, I’m afraid.

To answer your question, Rotalsnart, I did not hire a lawyer. Only received regular advice from a friend of a friend who is a local lawyer. It costs too much… 50k just to initialize the charges, and an extra 50k for each of the following 3 steps if the charges make it to the court room. And that’s with a nice fat discount yet. We’d be looking at a minimum of 150K in lawyer fees to see this through. No compensation in sight if we were to win, either. I would like to see the defendant prosecuted in accordance with the crimes, but not for that price. My loss doesn’t even amount to this kind of money and translation fees add up to over 20k already. (And thank God, our translator is very generous…) But yes, the same lawyer is pretty confident that he would have won this case had we hired him. And so goes the story… According to our lawyer friend, there is a chance that the case will just be re-opened based on the criminal procedure code number 252. We’ll have to wait and see.

In any case, I will report my findings in this thread after I consult the translators associations for answers.

And no, I can not sue the translation company as pointed out by Tinman. That would be like me trying to sue the movers who broke your piano. Not my movers, not my piano and not my place to sue. My options are very limited.

Many thanks,


I’ll be damned. sandman is right. Ethically speaking, what the translation company did is wrong. No one disagrees about that. But legally speaking, it’s all in good order. The translation company can either outsource translation or get an employee/student to translate legal documents and then the company owner can sign them and all is well.

While forgery is defined to include signing translations that were not translated by you, it would not stick in court. To stick, it would have to be signed by someone using someone else’s name. Not that I could take them to court, but even if I could, it would not be considered forgery in a criminal sense. It’s all very sloppy but since there is no accountability involved, translation companies do this all the time. That is what my investigation reveals.

And yes, there are translators associations, but again, not in terms of accountability. I could file in a report to any of the associations, but they have no way to interfere or do anything about it since translators do not even have to join these associations to legally work as translators. There is nothing in place to regulate the quality of translation work in Taiwan. As others pointed out, it’s “buyers beware” and that’s it. I know it’s been said, but I had to verify this non sense.

I was on the phone with the chairman of the association of translators in Taiwan, and he was unable to give me straight answers. He referred me to a translator who specializes in legal translation for a law firm in Taipei and who, according to the association chairman, was the best person to answer my questions. Turns out that this person is our very own Rotalsnart. Small world! He contacted me by phone after discussing this with a lawyer at his work place and he answered my questions very well. Just not what I was hoping to hear, though. I am coming to grip that this is just the sad reality for now, until things get more structured in terms of regulating translation work in Taiwan. Many thanks for looking into this this for us, Rotalsnart.

On a side note, despite the fact that the translation company operated “above board” as pointed out by sandman, it doesn’t make it ethical, so I sent in a complaint to the prosecution office. I really did not expect much of it, but to my surprise, I just found out that the prosecutor decided to re-open the case for further investigation. Things are moving forward again.

This thread has served its purpose for me and I want to thank you all for your contribution.


Oh, ye of little faith. For I am the all-knowing, all-seeing god. Look upon my mighty visage and tremble, oh ye cohorts.

[quote=“sandman”]Oh, ye of little faith.[/quote]If you made any sense it would be easier to believe you. I believe you now, but it still doesn’t make any sense. I could really use one of them smileys right about now.


I offer my translation service. From english to Spanish.

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