Need info re: translating field

Can anyone who is working in the field of translation take a moment of their time to help me find some information for a student, please? This is an adult who desperately wants (and needs) to change her career and is interested in translation as an option. She is Taiwanese with training in physiotherapy. Her english is fair to good and she is willing to go the distance to retrain as a translator. All I could tell her was that there are various fields of translating, such as legal, medical, etc.

Could anyone be so kind as to give me a brief breakdown of the educational requirements and other issues around this type of work? Barring that, any information on where to find this type of information would be appreciated. It would give this woman a “jumping off” point, so to speak!:flowers:


Translation? No. Too competitive. And lots of mediocrity and arrogance to deal with.

Physio? She should try her hand at writing “touchy-feely” porn.

She could possibly begin to translate from her strong field (physiotherapy) after improving her English somewhat, but the danger is that I can’t imagine there would be that much work specifically in that field. Most Chinese translators I know don’t specialize because the work is very varied; the ones who do have usually been in the game for some years and sort of gravitated to a general set of topics (finance, stock market, medicine, or whatever) instead of being a subject expert who translates only in one area.

I am assuming she is going to be sensible and translate only into Chinese in considering the above, BTW. Since most Western medical articles would be English > Chinese that would probably hold with her situation. If she were working in Chinese medicine then into-English would be more an option (except frankly her English limitations would be a problem then.)

Now the other question is how could she make a living at it…in Taiwan translation rates for English > Chinese are generally rather low, particular if you’re starting out and are relying on contacts with agencies rather than direct clients.

I would not necessarily recommend her to take specific classes in “translation” nor to do an MA in translating at this point. More English classes might or might not help – most would probably not be focused on what she wants to do. I would say her best bet (cheapest!) would be to find someone for a language exchange who would be able to handle basic English medical texts and try to get as comfortable as possible with English medical writing. That’s not going to be as hard as it sounds as most things in medical literature are written in a similar style. Usually it might involve taking a few highlighters to the article and figuring out where the heck the subject of a sentence is and what adjectives refer to, because sometimes the sentences get kind of long and confused. I’m assuming too that her written Chinese is already great – if not, she should really pay attention to that, because your writing in your native (target) language is very important. If you can understand the text but you can’t express it well in your own language there’s not much point.

HTH, it’s a tough question. I’d be more comfortable if you were saying 'her English is phenomenally wonderful" of course, but everyone has to start somewhere. The other thing for her is to use her connections…cultivate relationships with people in hospitals and clinics who might need this type of work, and perhaps offer a few specials to start out (reduced rates or barter or volunteer work). Taiwan is very credential-conscious so it will be hard for her at first, although having a solid scientific background could be marketed effectively.

Just my NT$0.66, your mileage may vary.