I have a guest flying in to Taipei next week to discuss the potential of some software to be used in a hospital setting. After all the arrangements were made, I suggested the Taiwan researchers refer us to a location outside Taipei that already has the system installed and in-use. They arranged for us to visit a hospital in Changhwa.
The hiccup is that the doctor who was supposed to accompany us is not available. My Mandarin is not good enough to have a meaningful conversation and the hospital in Changhwa that we are visiting isn’t being as helpful as I would like (they won’t commit to having someone on hand who is comfortable enough in English to field questions)
I think a tour guide (i.e., a non-domain expert) may be sufficient for us to muddle through. Can anyone suggest a tour guide we could approach for half a day’s work? We will cover travel with us in the HSR and any food. (any Changhwa based guide would be a plus)
Are there churches or language schools in Changhwa that I might be able to contact for help? I do not think technical knowledge will be needed, just a translator to help ensure our conversation is meaningful
I’m mindful that we are scheduled to visit just before a major holiday and long weekend. I already booked HSR tickets for me and my guests.
Since no one responded yet, I’m going to go out on a limb here and ask if you plan to use automatic translation technology, like the Google Translate smartphone app, to assist during the meeting. If so, I’d be interested in hearing how it goes for you. Since my Mandarin sucks, I basically have to rely on translation apps whenever I’m in in Taiwan and in a situation where English won’t cut it.
You’ll probably want to practice using it beforehand to verify that the translations make sense, and to adjust your own words and sentence structure to be simple enough for the translation app to understand. Short sentences work better.
One other hiccup is that although the app may work for translating your spoken English into Mandarin, it may not work as well the other way to translate your conversational partner’s Mandarin into English. Your conversational partner may not be used to speaking slowly, clearly, and concisely, as is required for translation apps. Once, when trying to clear up some misunderstanding at a countryside hotel, I tried to use the Google Translate app, but the other guy was an elderly man who spoke in a hushed, lispy, slurred, unevenly-paced dialect, using very long sentences. This is exactly the kind of thing that you need to avoid when using translation apps.
Possibly another option might be to use a telephone interpretation service. I found this one online; there are surely others:
If you want to search online for these services, the keyword to use is “interpretation” or “interpreter”, since the term “translation” is generally used for translation of written texts, which is not what is required for this case.
I am a professional translator of 20 years’ standing with a great deal of specialist experience in healthcare. I live in Taipei and am a British national. I would be pleased to assist, but would, naturally, have to charge for my time and expertise.
No, not a tour guide, I need a translator to accompany my group to Changhwa for a meeting. This would be from 9am to 3pm if coming from Taipei (travel costs will be covered). If in Changhwa, then I would only need help from 10am to 12nn.