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Questions of a student in Japanese not too sure about the potential of Chinese...(in French)
Thread poster: Guillaume Fleury
Guillaume Fleury
Local time: 02:36
Spanish to French
+ ...
Jul 6, 2005

Chers collgues,

Je me permets de vous contacter car j'ai quelques interrogations sur la langue japonaise et sur le march de la traduction s'y rattachant.

Je suis actuellement traducteur junior et je travaille partir de l'anglais et de l'espagnol vers le franais. La langue de Cervantes n'tant finalement pas trs porteuse pour notre mtier (du moins pour ma combinaison) et ne voulant pas me spcialiser uniquement avec l'anglais, je me suis pench sur la possibilit d'apprendre une langue que certains
appelleront "exotique" et aux yeux de beaucoup, porteuse, savoir une langue asiatique. Cependant, si j'ai commenc apprendre le japonais il y a environ 6 mois, je ne suis toujours pas sr d'avoir fait le bon choix. J'hsitais en effet entre la langue du pays du Soleil levant et
celle de l'Empire du milieu. Aprs avoir vainement tent de glner plusieurs informations ici et l, je n'arrive toujours pas me dcider pour l'une ou l'autre langue.

Plusieurs facteurs influencent en effet ma dcision :

1. La Chine a le vent en poupe en ce moment, contrairement l'conomie japonaise qui a tendance stagner. Cependant, le Japon est dj un pays post-industriel, gnrant par l mme quantit de
documents techniques envoys l'tranger, alors que la Chine est encore dans sa phase de dveloppement. votre avis, comment se
profile l'avenir de la traduction partir de ces langues vers le franais ?

2. J'ai entendu tout et son contraire sur la difficult suppose des langues asiatiques. J'en suis arriv une conclusion toute personnelle. J'ai compar le nombre d'heures requis pour obtenir le niveau 1 du JLPT et le niveau 9 du HSK, et la relation est de 900 heures contre 3000. Confirmez-vous que le japonais est plus "facile" que le chinois ? Je possde en effet dj deux langues de travail, en ajouter une troisime est dj un dfi en soi. Je ne voudrais pas commencer l'tude d'une langue pour me rendre compte par la suite que je ne la matriserai jamais suffisamment pour pouvoir la traduire.

3. Je prpare mon installation en tant que traducteur indpendant Singapour. Mme si cela reste anecdotique, vous n'tes pas sans ignorer que la culture singapourienne est fortement sinise. Ainsi, il me serait peut-tre plus pratique d'apprendre le chinois sur place, mme s'il est tout fait possible de se faire des amis japonais et de continuer l'tude de la langue dans les nombreux centres linguistiques prsents sur l'le.

4. Enfin, quelle est selon vous la langue qui apporte le plus de perspectives au niveau rmunration ? Tel que je vois les choses et telles qu'elles me l'ont t expliques, il y a normment de traducteurs chinois, ou non, vivant en Chine et qui pratiquent donc des prix dfiant toute concurrence. Cela ne me semble pas tre le cas du japonais, car les niveaux de vie au Japon et dans les pays francophones dots d'une industrie langagire ne permettent pas, mon sens, de pratiquer des tarifs ridiculement bas.

J'espre vraiment que vous pourrez m'aider avec toutes ces questions.

Merci pour vos rponses,
Guillaume Fleury


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Wenjer Leuschel  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 02:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
It's all right with both Chinese and Japanese, but my view would be.... Jul 7, 2005

Dear William,

When I first read your posting, I was thinking that your writing style in French is pretty terse and tacit and I am pretty sure that you would be able to write in English in the same way. To be honest, there are quite a few Chinese translators who can read French like me, but we would have some problems in answering you in French. That is probably the reason why you have been waiting some time for a response from us. For I did hesitate to tell you my opinions even in English.

Now, to your questions. First of all, I am of the same opinion as yours concerning the language of Cervantes. It is not for our trade, unless we are going to be in the academic circle. However, if you intend to learn an "exotic" language for bettering off your position in the industry, I would suggest you Chinese rather than Japanese. The need of translation from Chinese into French is growing and the Chinese translation agencies are now starting looking for translators of this language pair. Of course, the need for translation from French to Chinese is even more popular nowadays, but those translators who do the jobs in this language pair would need people like you for consultancy while translating. In constrast to Japanese translation industry which has been developed quite well, Chinese translation industry is still in want of either Chinese-French or French-Chinese translators. This could be a real chance for you.

Secondly, learning a foreign language is never an easy task. It may seem that it takes less hours to learn Japanese for a beginner, but you will find out that it would take more hours later to really get into the language with a lot of exceptions and borrowed terms from other languages, once you have the grammar done. I am not saying that learning Chinese would be easier, but you would have more ease of understanding a major culture and language in Asia which is still rewarding even if you cannot put into your language pairs of translation within 2 years. In my opinion, you wouldn't be able to put Japanese-French pair within 2 years, either.

Thirdly, if you are going to learn Chinese and keep on learning Japanese, I would advise you to go over to China instead of Singapore. The reason is obvious. You need to be in the culture to understand the way people express themselves. You would be able to distinguish the different ways of expression in China, while you wouldn't be able to distinguish the different expressions adopted from different cultures in Singapore, unless you have already learned the Chinese way.

As to your last question, I would say, you wouldn't be able to find any agency paying reasonable rates for our work. The only way to defy any competition would be that you cooperate with Canadian or European companies. That is how I do it. I just don't take low rates from Taiwan or China. There are some agencies in Singpore who pay reasonable rates, but they are scant and the general tendency shows some negative factors in that market, too. When you have learned how to translate a prospect or a brochure from Chinese, I would suggest you set your rates above USD 0.08 per source character or USD 0.16 per target word. There are a lot of ridiculous rates in China, but just keep the rates you set and don't let the competition spoil your position in the industry. There are always reasonable clients who know what the quality of a linguistic service mean.

I hope that your questions are somehow answered and I wish you good luck.

Regards,
Wenjer H. Leuschel

[Edited at 2005-07-07 15:00]


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:36
Member (2003)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Thank goodness, my life savior! Jul 7, 2005

Hi, Wenjer,

Thank goodness, you were able to rescue us! You made my day! For a day or two I did not know what to do with Guillaume's message, only hoping someone here would be able to understand his message. As you said, most of us here read English. Guillaume will get more feedbacks if he can try to write us in English. I apologize if this is too offensive to ask.

Kevin




[Edited at 2005-07-07 06:07]


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Wenjer Leuschel  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 02:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
But don't ask me to write in French! Jul 7, 2005

Kevin Yang wrote:

Hi, Wenjer,

Thank goodness, you were able to rescue us! You made my day! For a day or two I did not know what to do with Guillaume's message, only hoping someone here would be able to understand his message. As you said, most of us here read English. Guillaume will get more feedbacks if he can try to write us in English. I apologize if this is too offensive to ask.

Kevin


Hi, Kevin,

It's all right to understand William's French which is impeccably clear. But don't ask me to answer him in French, Spanish or Russian. I would have a lot of trouble expressing my thoughts. My English or German (or even Chinese) is not of a native speaker level, but it works to communicate with natives. That's the purpose of translation, isn't it?

Have a nice day! (Or is it evening at yours?)

Wenjer


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chica nueva
Local time: 07:36
Chinese to English
Which is more difficult, Jul 7, 2005

Hello Guillaume

I don't know whether Chinese is more difficult to learn than Japanese or not. Here is a link to a site which ranks the languages.

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~wbaxter/howhard.html


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Guillaume Fleury
Local time: 02:36
Spanish to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
English version Jul 7, 2005

Hi Wenjer and Kevin!

Sorry Kevin if I only wrote my message in French. The fact is I already wrote other messages on the same subject in English, and the answers I received were from people working with EnglishChinese and English Japanese. This time around I really wanted to have more specific information about ChineseFrench and JapaneseFrench. I will probably never translate from French into English (although I already did during my job at a large localization company, but with a senior Anglophone translator revising me afterwards), let alone from Chinese or Japanese! That's why I wrote my message in French, to try and get answers from francophone translators working with those languages. Sorry for the confusion!

Anyway, I think I was wrong when I was thinking that writing a message in French would lead to answers from francophone translators, because it seems that Wenjer knows this part of the market, even if you don't possess French in your combination (you don't, do you?). So next time, I will probably directly switch to English, even if I'd like some more French-speaking forums here...

So, Kevin, to sum up my previous message, I was saying that I started to learn Japanese, because I thought the prospects with this language and French were better in terms of volume and above all, pay, but that the development of China was making me think twice about it. Moreover, I am going to set up my business in Singapore, probably next month, and I intend to stay there for around 5 years. Even if Singapore is not the best country to learn Chinese, its population and culture are still quite sinicized. So learning Japanese there wouldn't be the best choice.

Also, I was questioning the amount of time required to really become a good translator with either Japanese or Chinese. Having heard everything and its contrary about it, I came down to comparing the number of hours of study required to pass the JLPT level 1 (900 hours) and the HSK level 9 (3000 hours). It might be a bit too simple, but that's the only way I found to have an objective statement. I do know that learning a language, and use it for translation is much more than just language classes (I do that for Spanish and English myself), and that these numbers don't highlight the efforts needed to acquire one language or the other.
However, as Wenjer was saying, and as I read it in different places, it seems that Chinese is harder at the beginning, but Japanese harder after a certain time. The learning curve would be steeper at first with Chinese, but then it would be easier?

Any comments from professionals with Chinese and/or Japanese are more than welcome!
Thank you all!

Guillaume


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xxxchance
French to Chinese
+ ...
Salut Guillaume, Jul 7, 2005

Oui, r閏emment il y a bien plus de travail dans la paire FR>CHS, je crois aussi pareil pour la paire CHS>FR.

Mais la pr関ision de Wenjer est un peu trop optimiste.

En g閚閞al, on a besoin de 3-4 ans de l掗tude de la langue, ensuite quelques ans de pratique dans le pays pour pouvoir travailler comme un professionnel. Sauf bien s鹯 si tu es un g閚ie.

Je collabore souvent avec Thierry, tu pourrais voir son parcours pour avoir une id閑.
http://www.traducteurchinois.com/presentation.htm

Bon courage !


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Wenjer Leuschel  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 02:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
You don't have to be a genius, but ... Jul 7, 2005

chance wrote:

Oui, r閏emment il y a bien plus de travail dans la paire FR>CHS, je crois aussi pareil pour la paire CHS>FR.

Mais la pr関ision de Wenjer est un peu trop optimiste.

En g閚閞al, on a besoin de 3-4 ans de l掗tude de la langue, ensuite quelques ans de pratique dans le pays pour pouvoir travailler comme un professionnel. Sauf bien s鹯 si tu es un g閚ie.

...


Well, Chance, you don't have to be a genius, but you have to be there in the country and expose yourself everyday to the language. Then, you probably need no more than one and half a year to be able to read and translate technical texts. I am not saying literary texts! Daily language used in a production line or technical instructions for machine applications are not difficult to learn, especially when you are always exposed to them.

Another one thing I need to stress is that Chinese companies will try to export technical products with better added values and there will be a chance for Chinese/French translators. I am not too optimistic at all. I know that the Chinese will become smart enough to realize the need to have their manuals properly prepared in the language of the country to which they are going to export their products for better added values. It is my realistic view in the matter.

The Japanese have been doing that and the Korean and the Taiwanese are following up. Why should the Chinese be otherwise? A product doesn't say anything about itself. We are the ones who help to make it known and used. So, William, be encouraged to learn Chinese. (I hope it wouldn't offend you, if I use your English name instead of the French one.)

By the way, William, I don't take French in my language pairs, because I don't want to make wrong impression. I do read and write some French and sometimes I would do favors to people who need a short translation from French into Chinese, but I don't want to have too many jobs in this language pair which would consume too much time for earning more money from other pairs.

[Edited at 2005-07-07 19:11]


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xxxchance
French to Chinese
+ ...
Je crois bien que Wenjer soit un de ces g閚ies. Jul 7, 2005

Demandez plus tt aux professionnels CHI>FR, ils vous diront la vrit.

[Edited at 2005-07-07 17:53]


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Guillaume Fleury
Local time: 02:36
Spanish to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Merci pours les infos ! Jul 7, 2005

Thanks for the info Wenjer and Chance.

Don't worry Wenjer, I don't take offense when you call me William. Personally, I prefer Bill. Too bad there's no short name for my name in French...

I did see in a language school located in China that after two years of study, students from the beginner's level could be fluent. Now, it is in China, a language school promoting itself, so I guess they won't highlight the efforts it takes to truly master Chinese!

It's really nice to hear that after around 2 years of living in China and getting familiar with certain areas, you can start to translate. I will (at least I hope to) work in Singapore as I said it earlier in the thread, and even though it's not entirely Chinese, it's always better than to stay in France. I already saw languages classes at the Chinese Institute of Business (www.scciob.edu.sg), and their teachers are natives from China, not Singaporeans. Now, the Singapore government wants its Chinese citizens to be unified linguistically under Mandarin. It's already happening, most of the children and young students conversing fluently in Mandarin, and not in Southern China dialects. I therefore guess I will be pretty well exposed to Mandarin, even if it's not China. By the way, what do you think of Taiwan?

So I think you helped me take my decision. If you are telling me that there is a growing market for the ZH>FR combination, I don't want to miss the opportunities. Ten years ago, I might have chosen Japanese. Now it seems there's a shift of powers in East Asia!

Thank you all,

Guillaume


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Wenjer Leuschel  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 02:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
Singapore would be all right. Jul 7, 2005

Guillaume Fleury wrote:
...

... Now, the Singapore government wants its Chinese citizens to be unified linguistically under Mandarin. It's already happening, most of the children and young students conversing fluently in Mandarin, and not in Southern China dialects. I therefore guess I will be pretty well exposed to Mandarin, even if it's not China. By the way, what do you think of Taiwan?

So I think you helped me take my decision. If you are telling me that there is a growing market for the ZH>FR combination, I don't want to miss the opportunities. Ten years ago, I might have chosen Japanese. Now it seems there's a shift of powers in East Asia!

Thank you all,

Guillaume


Fine, Bill, if you consider that way. There is a power shift happening in East Asia. China is coming and the Chinese need to learn a lot to compete with the Japanese.

As to Chinese learning in Taiwan or in Singapore, I would say Singapore, in that case as you considered. Taiwan is a little bit messy in language teaching. Besides, we are doing traditional Chinese which is a hell for beginners. The only one thing to be heeded in Singapore is that you need to be very careful to distinguish cultural elements of different origin. The society in Singapore may not be so homogenous as in China. However, it could be an advantage for you, because you speak English and all of them in Singapore do, too. (Sounds queer, my English.) I see the advantages as a Westerner in Singapore. Don't consider Taiwan for the reason I mentioned above. I live in Taiwan and I have to know the lots of Westerners in Taiwan. Unless you want to devote your whole life to classical Chinese, just forget about Taiwanese language teaching.

Good luck, Bill!


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chica nueva
Local time: 07:36
Chinese to English
HSK Jul 8, 2005

Hi Bill. You could expect to get to HSK intermediate level 6 or 7 after two years full-time study of Chinese in China. That's my level.

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Wenjer Leuschel  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 02:36
English to Chinese
+ ...
There are only views. Jul 8, 2005

chance wrote:
Je crois bien que Wenjer soit un de ces gnies.

Demandez plus tt aux professionnels CHI>FR, ils vous diront la vrit.


Hmm, Chance, I haven't forget your dictionary. Don't say anything bad behind me, just because I haven't yet found the right one for you. I think I must hurry up with finding one copy of the dictionary you want to buy (I want to buy the same one.)!

Be nice to me. I am just a common man, a litte bit old though. There isn't la vrit. There are only views from a lot of different angles on the truth.


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xxxchance
French to Chinese
+ ...
Wenjer, Jul 8, 2005

Ne tinquites pas, je suis sincre.

Cela fait 18 ans que je suis en France, je narrive toujours pas crire ou parler correctement le franais.

Tu es vraiment dou en langueS ! Je me demande comment tu fais avec toutes ces langues

Mais noublies pas mon dico


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Donglai Lou  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 02:36
Member (2002)
English to Chinese
+ ...
How about my french to English translation Jul 8, 2005

chance wrote:

Ne tinquites pas, je suis sincre.

Cela fait 18 ans que je suis en France, je narrive toujours pas crire ou parler correctement le franais.

Tu es vraiment dou en langueS ! Je me demande comment tu fais avec toutes ces langues

Mais noublies pas mon dico


No worry Wenjer, I am serious.

although I have been in France for 18 years, I still can not write or speak French perfectly.

You are really gifted in languages! I wonder how you do with all these languages

But do not forget my dictionary.


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