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Western interpreters knowing Chinese
Thread poster: Kristin90
Nov 2, 2007

Hi!
I read here somewhere (in a quite old post) that only a handful of western interpreters finally succeed in mastering chinese with a perfect pronunciation, and that most of them mainly find a job around the chinese television.
I've got just a curiosity about that: how much do they earn? How can they show their talents and how they finally enter that specialized job? Do they have to be "recommended" (I mean, do you have to know someonein the environment in order to reach such a job)?
Thanks in advance!


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 13:24
Sales manager for the Asian market Nov 3, 2007

Kristin90 wrote:

Hi!
I read here somewhere (in a quite old post) that only a handful of western interpreters finally succeed in mastering chinese with a perfect pronunciation, and that most of them mainly find a job around the chinese television.
I've got just a curiosity about that: how much do they earn? How can they show their talents and how they finally enter that specialized job? Do they have to be "recommended" (I mean, do you have to know someonein the environment in order to reach such a job)?
Thanks in advance!


This is not true. The sales managers for the Asian market in some German companies are German sinologists. The salary of a sales manager ranges from 35,000 Euro to 100,000 Euro yearly, if not more.

Ciao and good luck for you!

[Edited at 2007-11-03 19:29]


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Kristin90
TOPIC STARTER
wrong infos? Nov 3, 2007

Ciao!
Thanks for your reply! Perhaps he who said that was not well informed (and neither am I, given my young age).
So, because of you're well established in this job (or at least, so I assume) I ask you: is this just a legend or it's really difficult for us occidental to break through the chinese market? In terms of interpretation, of course. The fact is that Italy is getting more and more interested in the Chinese market (and so am I in the chinese language!), but I wouldn't like to study and study a lot and not find any job because I'm competing with the native; and this is right what people always tell me, that I won't find any job because native chinese are always better...
(Maybe you know someone who can demistify this myth?).

Thank you for your patience!


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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 17:24
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
Two sides of the coin Nov 3, 2007

Kristin90 wrote:

..but I wouldn't like to study and study a lot and not find any job because I'm competing with the native; and this is right what people always tell me, that I won't find any job because native chinese are always better...
(Maybe you know someone who can demistify this myth?).



Hi there,
On the same grounds as native Chinese would better interpret/translate into Chinese, you would do it better into your native tongue, no? As an interpreter you will be required to do both ways (that is into your native language and out) but this applies to all, so your chances are exactly the same as native Chinese interpreter who needs to master Italian.

And then there is a market: how many native Chinese interpreters work in Italy? How many native Italians? The fact that, as you say, Italy becomes more and more interested in Chinese market, might be a good indication of future demand for interpreting services.

My advice is: before you invest the time and money into studying Chinese, find out if you really "feel at home" with Chinese culture, go to China, make friends with Chinese. Then, be prepared for long and really hard studies. If you happen to fall in love with Chinese language and culture and find that interpreting is "your element" - a rewarding career as interpreter is awaiting you.

Good luck,
Magda


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Kristin90
TOPIC STARTER
I wish I could go to China now... Nov 3, 2007

Magda Dziadosz wrote:

My advice is: before you invest the time and money into studying Chinese, find out if you really "feel at home" with Chinese culture, go to China, make friends with Chinese. Then, be prepared for long and really hard studies. If you happen to fall in love with Chinese language and culture and find that interpreting is "your element" - a rewarding career as interpreter is awaiting you.

Good luck,
Magda



Unfortunately it's quite difficult for me to go to china for the moment because, since I'm still 17, I'm not economically independent... so I guess I'll be able to do that only through scholarships in the future.
Anyway thank you both for the encouragement! ^_^


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 13:24
A good chance in industry Nov 3, 2007

Kristin90 wrote:

Ciao!
Thanks for your reply! Perhaps he who said that was not well informed (and neither am I, given my young age).
So, because of you're well established in this job (or at least, so I assume) I ask you: is this just a legend or it's really difficult for us occidental to break through the chinese market? In terms of interpretation, of course. The fact is that Italy is getting more and more interested in the Chinese market (and so am I in the chinese language!), but I wouldn't like to study and study a lot and not find any job because I'm competing with the native; and this is right what people always tell me, that I won't find any job because native chinese are always better...
(Maybe you know someone who can demistify this myth?).

Thank you for your patience!



From my experience with the German industry, a native Chinese is less desired than a native German for a job in the administration, given both of them are bilingual. The same is true with the tourism branch. The Germans look for people with whom they can communicate at the same cultural level. Whereas a native Chinese, regardless of how westernized he/she is, remains somehow "foreign" to them. They do hire lots of locals in china as technicians, but at the management level you often experience a "lily white" team.

As for translation, I am an adherent of mother tongue principle. You would certainly do a better job translating into Italian, whilst the Chinese into Chinese. If you are intelligent and hard-working, you will be able to master Chinese as some Chinese master Italian. I know quite some German sinologists, who speak and write perfect Chinese.

Best,
Bin


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:24
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
It seems the right time and you are the right age Nov 8, 2007

Kristin90 wrote:
The fact is that Italy is getting more and more interested in the Chinese market (and so am I in the chinese language!), but I wouldn't like to study and study a lot and not find any job because I'm competing with the native; and this is right what people always tell me, that I won't find any job because native chinese are always better...
(Maybe you know someone who can demistify this myth?).


If you really find the language interesting and have the opportunity to study it, go for it. As the others said, your Italian will always be better than any Chinese person's, and his/her Chinese better than yours, but that doesn't mean there won't be a place for both of you.
At the moment it is unlikely to be an overcrowded market, and if you study and later on spend some time in China, you could establish yourself relatively early, as demands are likely to increase.

Also, you could search the ProZ directories for the Italian/Chinese language pair (both ways) for interpreters in Italy and in China, and see how many are on ProZ. It may be possible to establish some direct contact with a couple of people and ask their advice.

Good luck, anyway.


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Juan Chen  Identity Verified
China
Member (2008)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I am a Chinese and you all are welcomed to China Dec 1, 2007

I am a freelancer with the language combination of Chinese and English. As far as I know, many "rare" foreign languages are quite popular in today's China, for example, your Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and so on, excluding Japanese, Korean, French, German which are now being learned by lots of Chinese people.

Therefore in my opinions if you are familiar with Chinese history, culture and some unique current Chinese national situations, for example some very special English words are used to express Chinese political affairs, such as "three-represents", then you will be much more competitive in the Chinese market.


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redred  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 00:24
English to Chinese
+ ...
Master Pinyin that is very important Dec 6, 2007

[quote]Kristin90 wrote:

Hi!
I read here somewhere (in a quite old post) that only a handful of western interpreters finally succeed in mastering chinese with a perfect pronunciation, and that most of them mainly find a job around the chinese television.

[quote]

Not really, I find a few foreigners pronounce better Mandarin in correct four tones, some Chinese dialect speakers even cannot catch them up.

[Edited at 2007-12-06 08:51]


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Robby123
English to Chinese
+ ...
what it is like in China Feb 11, 2008

Kristin90,


I'm a Chinese College student, and I notice that more and more westerners, from high school teenagers to UN staff, are coming to China to learn Chinese recently years. Many of them become quite successful learners of the Chinese language, with pretty good pronunciation.

But they may not pursue an interpreting career, which probably requires much than an average mastery (basic listerning &speaking skills) of the Chinese language.

They learn Chinese to prepare themselves for some other career choices, like doing business related to China, or getting a position in their own country‘s government.

There are also westerners who, after gaining a basic grasp of Chinese, go on to become bilingual newspaper editors, language training teachers, radio & TV hosts in China' media and other institutions.

Mark Roswell, a Canadian fluent in Mandarin, has been a national superstar for more than a decade in China thanks to his perfect command of Chinese. He's definitely made big bucks by doing commercials, hosting TV shows and lecturing around China.

Just a coulpe of days ago, Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister, sent Spring Festival greetings to this country in pretty good Chinese.

Also, I would like to mention an Italian Marco Müller, head of Venice Film Festival. He has succeeded in mastering Chinese through acquainting himself with Chinese films.

All of them are proficient speakers of Chinese, and have achieved prominence in their own fileds.

So my suggestion is, if you do have interest in the Chinese language (and culture), then learn it. Get prepared for the fun and the hardship. Travel to China if possible. By the time you have picked up the language, you’d probably be thinking of doing something else rather than being an interpreter. You might have found better choices for your career and interest, as the forementioned western sinologists did.

If you have any question, feel free to contact me via the following email: qianyanz@126.com

Kind regards

Robb


[Edited at 2008-02-11 15:38]


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