Many Chinese translators’ big flaw: poor esthetics for native language

When proofreading many Chinese translator’s works, I saw this big flaw of them – poor aesthetics in native Chinese language.

For example, I once did a transcreation job for a global brand and provided three excellent options – excellent in my opinion. Later I received an email telling me that someone had improved my options and asking me to check the edits.

I cannot remember what the original translation was now, but I do remember a Chinese character in an edited option – “佳” (good / better).

I wrote back saying that this character cannot be more vulgar or generic, therefore it’s never suggested in today’s brand name or company name. Read more

Chinese translation agencies’ biggest challenge: not artificial intelligence

After my graduation from university, I cooperated with multiple translation agencies in China, as a full-time translator or a part-time one. These agencies are situated in large cities like Beijing, Nanjing and Shenzhen, and some of them are very famous.

My greatest feeling in such cooperation was not how good they were, but how they despise translation quality.

I was confused as these translation companies were big and many of their customers were big enterprises in China. Gradually I lost my interest in translating and later became an editor for a news website.

After working with some overseas translation agencies, I rekindled interest in translation and now established my own business. But most Chinese translation companies are still the same as they were. Read more

A recent case of price war among Chinese translation companies

Recently occurred an incident in the cycle of Chinese translation companies, the founder of one agency accused another of seizing his to-be big client with a higher price. He said this was unacceptable and the reason that his competitor managed to get the project is probably that he offered a bride to someone from the client’s company.

This is just a tip of the iceberg, as quality has always been underestimated compared to price. Both translation companies and clients usually pay little attention to quality of translations. And Chinese translation agencies are mostly fighting a price war by offering incredibly low prices. Read more

Is it necessary to “standardize” the translation of Chinese dish names?

Today I saw a pieced of news titled “Strange translation for a Chinese dish – ants climbing trees”.

I found it’s about a team called “woodpecker” consisted of Chinese college students from Hangzhou, who visited local restaurants to look for strange translations of Chinese dishes. They found such a dish name called “ants climbing trees” and thus thought it’s a machine translation. Read more