Working as a translator/editor without work experience

So I’ve been in Taiwan for about 2 weeks trying to find a job as an English teacher with no luck. I have had 3 job offers, but all of them were part time, no work visa, no ARC, and wanted me to work illegally. Teaching English is not what interests me, learning Chinese and working as a translator is. I recently saw a job for a book store as an editor in Taipei and tried to apply but was told that without evidence of 2 years of work experience they can’t get me an ARC.

I’m currently staying in Taichung (because of a girl to be honest), but I’ve been rooting around in these forums, and heard that if you have a Masters degree then you don’t need 2 years of work experience to take those kinds of jobs. So there’s really several questions I want to ask.

  1. Can anyone clarify exactly what the rules are concerning this work experience stuff?
  2. If I work as an English teacher for 2 years then change jobs to being a translator does that count?
  3. If I work as a freelance translator can I still get a work permit?

No work permits for freelance translators, I can tell you that. It’s a very gray area of the law, even if you have a work permit from another source. But technically, the Taiwanese government considers that translation (even/especially Chinese>English) is a job that can be done by Taiwanese, so there is no reason to issue work permits so foreigners can do it. :unamused:

Except that English is my native language, so I therefore speak and write English better than any Taiwanese person. Not to mention clients much prefer that the translator has the target language as their mother tongue. Sounds very, how can I say this, Chinese. The whole “no foreigner could possibly learn our sacred language, it’s the most difficult language in the world. English on the other hand is easy, and the great, and highly intelligent Chinese can easily learn your simple language”. Which would explain why a sign that said (in Chinese) “No pets allowed in the store or food court” read (in English) “Please do not bring the pet into the eats hall and the sells hall”. I wonder whose translation is better? :unamused:

Please, the fact that you’re bringing logic into an argument about Taiwan disqualifies you immediately.

Back to the back of the line, please.

[quote=“urodacus”]Please, the fact that you’re bringing logic into an argument about Taiwan disqualifies you immediately.

Back to the back of the line, please.[/quote]

Is it really that bad? 不用逻辑吗? or as they would write in Taiwan 不用邏輯嗎? I came here because I was hoping it would be better than China. Certainly talking to people it is better, although there is still that whole talking to the white guy in English thing. I usually respond with “不好意思我廳不懂英文”, which is a lot more polite than what I would say to someone when I was in China. If they said “Hello” for example I would have a very confused look on my face then follow it up by saying “Hello, 什么意思?” But I digress.

I really thought that as a democratic country, they would want to distance themselves from China law wise, and actually have a legal system that was fairer and logical. Like actually acknowledging that some native English speakers can speak Chinese well enough to do Chinese to English translations, and that we DO speak our own language better than Taiwanese and Chinese people.

Good luck with that. You let us know how you get on, now, won’t you?

Remember that you are also declaring that you are a translator but you have no work experience (as per your original post). Why precisely should the Taiwanese believe you – just because you’re a native speaker who speaks Chinese? Doesn’t mean you can write your own language to a professional level. (Not that they’d necessarily know a professional level if it bit them in the pigu. :wink: )

I don’t have any experience doing translation, but I do have a masters degree, and I have published research papers in scientific journals. I have also done editing work for scientific journals before as well. Besides, everybody has to start somewhere right? That’s why I was wondering about getting work with no work experience, but having a masters degree. Thing is, my plan was to start working as a freelancer, when you apply to a translation agency as a translator they will normally give you a test translation to see how good you are before they give you any real work, but I guess that avenue is closed to me if I want to stay in Taiwan and do that.

You can’t do ANY work in Taiwan except that which is stated on your work permit, and then only for the company you were hired by AND only at the address they stipulated on the application.

Period. Freelancing, volunteering, side jobs, modelling, adverts, all completely forbidden.

If you have a postgrad degree in a relevant field, the requirement for having two years work experience in a field is less strictly applied.

Of course, many people disregard the law, including employers. Some people are discovered and deported, some are not.

Best of luck… charge proper US rates for good translation and people will beat a path to your door. Accept rates of 0.4 NTD per Chinese character and you’re screwed, because you’re devaluing the market for real translators AND lowering your prestige.

Or you could operate through a broker, like Planet Editing until you get some experience under your belt. It’s a bit of a Catch-22, admittedly, but many people can fulfil the requirements so it’s not as if they are an impenetrable barrier, and it’s not as if they are completely without merit.

And, BTW, a Taiwanese person who is higher up the chain than a lowly foreigner can ALWAYS make a better translation into English than you can, OK? :wink:

Yeah, maybe I should just go back to the UK, because I don’t think I"ll find what I want out here. I didn’t realise the law was so strict in Taiwan. My dream was to work as a translator, and build myself a house that looks like a Chinese temple and live in the countryside. Well I guess it was just that, a dream.

marry the girl and you can do whatever you want

Lol, easier said than done, I’m already married, just haven’t finalised the divorce yet, not only that I’ve only known her for 2 weeks, plus she’s not interested in marriage, and certainly wouldn’t marry me just for a visa, nor would I expect her to.

Well, obviously, if a Taiwanese person writes English, it’s better than when a native speaker writes it. That’s because the Taiwanese actually went to school and studied the rules of the language, while we English speakers just learned it passively! :laughing:

Yeah…I dunno. I hear translation can be pretty shitty. People will always value the native speaker of Chinese over the English speaker in many cases. Honestly, its just kind of shitty work. A lot of people who are freakin’ geniuses at Chinese end up hating translation and only doing it for a little while, they try to find other stuff. Although, if it makes you happy! (I bet there are a couple translators on this board who may really love it! I dunno! I feel like everyone is here…all kinds of people so I bet you might be able to dig one up and talk to them)

Don’t look now but there’s one just above you. :whistle:

Ah haa! See, as I said. Theres at least someone for everything here! :slight_smile:

Well then, ask Chris! Chris’s :2cents: will be highly valuable. I was just putting in the :2cents: (I love that smiley lol) that I had gained. I have thought about the translation route as well but have decided to go another route from what I learned from fellow translators (well, not a translator anymore, became a Chinese professor/Chinese gurus. But, that’s all word-of-mouth from me.

Not to burst your bubble even more but those type of houses are reserved for the really high status. Your humble san-he-yuan could have a variety of gables however if you want to impress the neighbors. Personally I like the water symbol gable paired with fire and both featuring a nice level bird perch made of blackened copper. Drongos like that and I like the zip line sound they make.

Oh, and there’s only one company down in Kaohsiung left that makes traditional roof tiles so you should put in an order tout suite.

Really? I am Taiwanese and I really don’t see where your English skills are better than mine, or Paogao, or Cooling Tower or Government Attache, all Taiwanese members of this forum. There are plenty of translators and interpretors working for media and government organizations here that have excellent skills. So if the clients prefer the translator has the target language as their mother tongue then that rules you out as being a translator of Chinese doesn’t it?. My son is native in both English and Mandarin so maybe he should become a translator, not lol. There are expats here who write policy and research papers for the government here, in Chinese. I think you are way off getting anywhere near their level of proficiency for many years to come. If you believe that there are not many Chinese people who can write or translate at a very formal level you are clearly mistaken.

If you do not have the 2 years work experience you wont get a work permit for a professional field. Marry your GF and get a marriage based ARC and you can do what you want.

That’s like going to the UK and expecting it to be a better Germany. This country is not China. Maybe you should try Singapore. :wink:

No shit sherlock holmes about the second sentence. If you as a native speaker to not speak your own language better than the average Taiwanese and Chinese person that would just demonstrate a serious deficiency in your own language skills. Actually, they do acknowledge you have better skills in your own native language, just as they have better skills in their native langauge than you do. However you seem to think that Chinese people cannot attain the same high level of skills for interpreting and translating as well.

Now now you’ve only been here what? A few weeks? Maybe in 5 weeks you will have that coveted licence for translating and interpreting and have built yourself that house in the countryside. At least in the country side you can raise ducks and pigs and we can call you Dr Dolittle. Chase your dreams young man. They usually take more than a few weeks chasing girls in Taiwan to eventuate.

Now you can’t even find yourself a local tea house with all your fine Chinese language skills, so how are you going to be able to tranlsate on the fly?

Do you think the UK government is going to allow a Chinese person with no work experience to up and fly to the UK on a visitors visa to be a freelance translator, just because they have a masters degree and have studied some English for awhile?

Lets see now… still married not yet divorced, met a girl for 2 weeks and she is already your GF? Does she know that yet?

Come on man, plenty of foreigners marry for visa’s and legal status. Get with the program.