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Rates for in-house expat translators in China
Thread poster: max_ol

max_ol
Ukraine
Local time: 00:20
Member (2015)
English to Russian
+ ...
Nov 7, 2015

Hello fellow translators!

I was recently offered an in-house job with a game developer based in China, Shenzhen. While I am kind of interested in the position, I have little to no idea what kind of compensation and benefits should I and (can I) be asking for during the interview. Can anybody here advise?

Thanks in advance!


 

J.H. Wang
China
Local time: 05:20
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
My suggestion is around 15,000 RMB Yuan per month plus other benefits Nov 7, 2015

Actually, it depends on many factors, such as your qualification, the performance of the game developer, etc. Let's see what other fellow translators would say about this.

[Edited at 2015-11-08 06:08 GMT]


 

Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:20
Chinese to English
Lifestyles Nov 8, 2015

Depends so much on what you want to do with your salary. Are you a young, single guy looking to have a fun time in Shenzhen (bars, clubs, fancy dinners, etc.)? A do-it yourself adventurer who's happy with getting dinner at the local noodle shop 6 times a week? Looking to save money? Or just come out even?

I've never lived in Shenzhen, but based on my time in Beijing and Xiamen, I can tell you that depending on what you're looking for, a salary that just meets your basic needs could be anywhere from 7-8000 to 25,000 RMB. My estimates would be:

7,000 RMB if you're single, and OK with just scraping by and experiencing China. You could probably find a room for 1000+ RMB in the suburbs somewhere, eat local food (with a splurge or two a month) and save just enough money to buy your plane ticket out.

10,000 RMB gives you the above and a nice place of your own closer to the city center.

15,000 as the entry bar (assuming you're now paying fairly significant taxes) in the 'young expat' lifestyle of clubs, bars and nicer things; more comfortable at 17-18,000.

I'd guess 20,000 if you have a family with you that you're supplying for alone (nice apartment, money to buy higher quality food, tuition fees at a nice school), and even that might not be enough--not that I'd know.

All of these are just my guesses for break-even levels after a year (figuring in a couple of holidays, etc.) Obviously you'd be looking at even higher totals if you're thinking of saving money.

The other thing to do is to really be sure you know what your prospective employer can and can't do for you visa-wise. My feeling is that most video game developers in China do not have the capacity to sponsor a foreign worker on a working visa. That doesn't mean that yours can't, but it's worth checking into. A definite warning sign is if the company tells you to come over to China on a tourist visa and says they will take care of things afterwards.



Edit: By the way, when I mentioned finding a 'room' for 1000+, I really did mean a room, not a whole apartment, unless you're WAY out in the sticks

[Edited at 2015-11-08 03:31 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-11-08 03:33 GMT]


 

Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:20
Chinese to English
Link Nov 8, 2015

And here's a link that might help: http://www.echinacities.com/Shenzhen/city-guide/Moving-to-Shenzhen-Heres-How-to-Save-RMB-in-the-PRD

 

max_ol
Ukraine
Local time: 00:20
Member (2015)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Preston! Nov 8, 2015

Wow, that was one comprehensive answer! I'll certainly check out the link and the site.

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the info, so I'm not sure what are the right questions to ask here, still: are there any particular things I should be looking out for during the interview, too? Any information about the possible insurance companies in China provide to their employees?


 

Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:20
Chinese to English
RE Nov 9, 2015

At the end of the interview, ask a few questions if appropriate. One is the visa question. Another is to find out the exact location of the office you'll be working at. I'd also see if you can find out if they've had any foreign employees before--if so, ask for one of their emails, as they may be able to give you an idea of what it's like to work for them as a foreigner.

I would be somewhat surprised if your employer bought you a very comprehensive insurance policy. It's certainly worth asking them--if you're not satisfied with the answer, buy a good travel insurance policy.


 

max_ol
Ukraine
Local time: 00:20
Member (2015)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
RE Nov 9, 2015

Again, thank you, Preston for all of your recommendations! I guess I'll see how it comes out. =)

 

ysun  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:20
English to Chinese
+ ...
“低工资、高消费” Nov 9, 2015

上月我陪国内的几位亲戚在美国各地游览了三星期。将国内外的物价、房价作了对比之后,有位亲戚感叹地说,中国以前是实行“低工资、低消费”,说是绝不实行美国的“高工资、高消费”;可现在,我看中国是“低工资、高消费”,而美国却是“高工资、低消费”。尽管这种说法也不见得全面,但中国物价涨势猛于虎的状况,却也可见一斑。

例:北京海淀学院路2室 1厅,房租5500 元/月(20多年前我在那一带住时,每月房租、水电气加起来总共不到工资的十分之一):
http://bj.58.com/zufang/23841145787961x.shtml?PGTID=14470896925870.8480949969962239&ClickID=1&iuType=x_1


 

max_ol
Ukraine
Local time: 00:20
Member (2015)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Afraid I don't speak Mandarin (yet) :) Nov 9, 2015

I tried running your answer through GT, but it didn't make enough sense, sadly. Would you be so kind as to sum it up in English?

 

David Lin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:20
Member (2013)
English to Chinese
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Good luck! Nov 9, 2015

Hi Maxim,

I hope you've got enough information to prepare for your interview.

I've been to both Ukraine and Shenzhen. I enjoyed very much my stay in your beautiful home country. You will notice a lot of difference in both the landscape and the culture, the food and drink etc. between Shenzhen and Ukraine.

Working abroad can be an eye opener. Sometimes it's once in a life time. You never know. I've met central European frineds who enjoy the Oriental culture and claim China their second home.

Just want to share this link which shows a popular singer from Ukraine, Iryna Valentinovna Novikova who now lives in China. She sings perfectly in a local language - Cantonese which is predominant in Shenzhen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjagSmkBWGQ

So, enjoy your trip and good luck, Maxim !

PS: Many thanks Preston for your informative and thorough response in English !


 

max_ol
Ukraine
Local time: 00:20
Member (2015)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, David! Nov 9, 2015

Sure hope so, and thank you for your kind and encouraging words!

Seeing and living in a country as different from my own as China while doing stuff I love is tremendously enticing for me, yes! Really hope this works out. =)

Beatiful singning! Hope learning it will be easier than it seems. =)

Thanks again!


 

ysun  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:20
English to Chinese
+ ...
Soaring living costs Nov 9, 2015

Maxim Olshin wrote:

I tried running your answer through GT, but it didn't make enough sense, sadly. Would you be so kind as to sum it up in English?

Sorry! I thought you could read Chinese.

Basically, what I said is that current monthly rent for such an apartment in that particular area of Beijing is around 5500 RMB while the monthly rent plus utility only accounted for less than 1/10 of my monthly salary when I lived in the same area about two decades ago. Good luck!



[Edited at 2015-11-09 19:09 GMT]


 

YJ ZHANG  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:20
English to Chinese
+ ...
can a freelancer make 15,000 RMB in China? Nov 12, 2015

If a freelancer charges 0.30 RMB per word, He/She needs to translate 50,000 words in order to make 15,000 RMB each month. Assume the average output is 300 words per hour, that demands 167 hours per month, a closer number to the monthly office working hour. Is 0.30 RMB a fair rate in China? If so, 15,000 RMB is quite reasonable for an in-house translator. I saw some 0.10 RMB offers on line, for the 0.10 RMB rate, a freelancer has to translate 150,000 words, works 500 hours to make 15,000 RMB.

 

Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:20
Chinese to English
Right on Nov 12, 2015

ysun wrote:

上月我陪国内的几位亲戚在美国各地游览了三星期。将国内外的物价、房价作了对比之后,有位亲戚感叹地说,中国以前是实行“低工资、低消费”,说是绝不实行美国的“高工资、高消费”;可现在,我看中国是“低工资、高消费”,而美国却是“高工资、低消费”。尽管这种说法也不见得全面,但中国物价涨势猛于虎的状况,却也可见一斑。

例:北京海淀学院路2室 1厅,房租5500 元/月(20多年前我在那一带住时,每月房租、水电气加起来总共不到工资的十分之一):
http://bj.58.com/zufang/23841145787961x.shtml?PGTID=14470896925870.8480949969962239&ClickID=1&iuType=x_1



It really is incredible how expensive China is now. Just as a small example--owning a car. We bought a car last year in China, probably paid at least as much (maybe a bit more) in USD than we would have in the US for this model (of course ours was manufactured by a Chinese/foreign joint investment, not the original manufacturer). When we fill up at the gas station we're paying, by my very rough estimations, roughly 1/3 more in USD than we would in the US. We took a trip last year from Xilinhot 锡林浩特to Zhangjiakou 张家口 on the expressway that cost roughly 150 RMB in tolls (plus or minus a little, my memory fails me)--more in USD than it would have on even the most expensive US highways.

Again, all of this cost the same or more IN USD than in the United States. Then you add in all the areas where costs are cheaper in USD than in the United States, but still more relatively speaking if you go by what people are really earning. In our city I'd say the median wage is 3-4000 RMB a month, and the cost of a nice dinner buffet is 60 RMB, brand clothes 5-800 RMB, shoes 5-800 RMB, our gym membership 1800 RMB a year. All of these blow away what someone in America earning 3-4000 USD would be willing/able to pay for the same goods and services in equivalent USD--your average American shells out no more than 25 USD for a buffet, 150 for brand clothes, 100 for shoes, and no more than 800 dollars a year on a gym membership (I pay $10 a month). As all of you in the Chinese forum know, it's really an amazing situation, and I just don't see how China can afford to continue down the low income, expensive road it's on right now. Either something will change, or China's economy will really have some problems in 10-20 years when the older generation's savings are gone.

Returning to the OP's question, here's another article from the same website that takes a stab at estimating the cost of living in a large city: http://www.echinacities.com/Beijing/city-guide/Budgeting-in-Beijing-Living-on-10000-Yuan-per-Month

[Edited at 2015-11-12 23:49 GMT]


 

ysun  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:20
English to Chinese
+ ...
Basically, salary depends on supply & demand in the job market Nov 13, 2015

J.H. Wang wrote:

My suggestion is around 15,000 RMB Yuan per month plus other benefits

How much you ask is one side of story and how much they would offer is another side of the story. Please watch this video clip:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH-DtvyTq5Q

The first candidate Zhen Kai has a master degree in Computer Science & Technology from Tsinghua University. He was looking for a position of Product Manager and asked for 15,000-20,000 RMB per month, but he left the stage empty-handed. The second candidate An Fang has a PhD degree in Clinical Medical Science from Peking University. Somehow, she was looking for a job in project management and merely asked for 6,000 RMB/month. Finally, she got an offer of 9,000+ RMB/month. In fact, I feel deeply sorry for these two candidates. I think both of them are outstanding candidates and deserve a much higher salary.


 
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