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Some things that I would like know...
Thread poster: Schalander
Chinese to English
+ ...
Aug 6, 2008


This is my first post on this board and I'm not sure if this is the right part of the forum to ask newbie questions. I am a Swedish guy, studying Chinese in China. I have studied for 3 years, and I have one more year to go until I graduate. I'm planning to do some freelance translating here in China when I've graduated, but there are some things that I would like to know about this line of work, and I hope that someone here can help me answer some of my questions.

1. What kind of market is there for ChineseEnglishSwedish translators? How is the competition?

2. I have understood that most translators get paid by the amount of words they translate. How is the money?

3. How proficient in a language would you have to be to be able to call yourself a professional translator? English is not my main language, and since I've hardly used it since I graduated high school, I might need to brush it up a little, but I feel that I still master it pretty well. Hopefully, my Chinese will be even better than my English. I also have a natural talent for pronunciation. My mandarin is actually better than allot of native Chinese people here in southern China, and pretty much on par with the northerners. People speaking to me on the phone have no idea that I am a foreigner. Is this kind of skill useful for a translator?

Thank you!


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:13
Italian to English
+ ...
Translators normally translate into their native language Aug 6, 2008

1 You've given your combinations as Chinese to English and Swedish - the Chinese to Swedish is fine, as you are Swedish, but you'd be advised not to translate into English unless you have highly specialist knowledge in some area (say, quantum mechanics or heart surgery or company law or whatever) where your command of the subject (and the probable lack of native translators specialising in that area) outweighs your non-nativeness, and you have the resources to pay a native speaker to revise your translations before sending them to your clients.

As this seems unlikely in your case, you'd be better off sticking to Chinese-Swedish and English-Swedish. (Having said that, I doubt that there are many native Chinese translators who speak Swedish, so it might be justifiable to offer your services from Swedish to Chinese. Again, it would be advisable to have your translations checked by a native speaker before sending them off.)

2 Rates: No idea what the rates are for these language pairs. I'd imagine that Chinese-Swedish would command a pretty high rate, but demand would probably be quite low.

3 Your pronunciation is totally irrelevant for work as a translator. If you wanted to go into two-way interpreting, it would be more important, I expect.

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chica nueva
Local time: 04:13
Chinese to English
Try the Chinese Forum Aug 6, 2008

Hi Schalander!

Ask in the Chinese Forum and see what the peers there say.


[Edited at 2008-08-06 09:40]

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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Member (2002)
+ ...
In what country are you going to work? Aug 6, 2008

Hej Schalander,

If you're planning on moving back to Sweden after you have finished your studies, it might be a good idea to get in contact with other colleagues in Sweden, at least to get a rough picture of your pricing.

You can find the Swedish forum here:


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