Advice for a new Chinese English medical specialist
Thread poster: yangjiaojiao

United States
Local time: 19:42
Chinese to English
+ ...
Dec 18, 2015

First of all let me give some background on myself: I recently got my masters degree in Chinese/English interpretation and translation, with a focus on medical interpretation, from Xi'an Jiaotong University in China. I travel regularly between the USA and China and plan to move to the US next year.

I have been spending a lot of time trying to find freelance jobs online and everything I find seems to be incredibly low paying. While in school I used to translate Chinese theses papers into English for $0.03 per word, which from what I have read is pretty low, but recently I have been trying to enter the online freelance market. However after spending many many hours filling out applications I finally got an offer from a client seeking an "expert level" translator but then I found that they were looking to only pay around $0.003 per word.

I am new to the world of internet freelancing, but from what I have read on the forums most people seem to be getting rates between $0.05 & $0.10 per word and even up to $0.25. So my question is what am I doing wrong? Is there a path to success? What steps can I take to improve the clients I get and find quality clients?

Thank you all in advance!


Dan Zhu
United States
Local time: 18:42
German to Chinese
+ ...
Re: Dec 20, 2015

First of all, most translation agencies prefer native speaker of the target language. So you may find it easier to find a translation job that is from English to Chinese rather then from Chinese to English.

Secondly, the Chinese translator market has always been so saturated. Jobs with any ridiculous low rate or even with no pay would receive tens of applications at no time.

My 2 cents: if possible, find an interpreter job instead. Because as a translator, you are competing with the translators from all over the world (read as low pay). But as an interpreter, it's only the local sources.

If you do want to keep trying, well, don't waste your time applying for the potential jobs. It may take years for them to finally have a job available for you. As for the rate, $0.03 is usually what beginners could win a general job. For people like you, who has some experience but has not established any cooperation with the agencies, $0.04-0.05 is reasonable for a job of general topic or in the medical or any other specific field. $0.1 is for most language pairs but Chinese is not one of them. Maybe for an urgent job or an agency that has a Chinese job only once a year, you can get $0.1 or $0.2. But on average, even when you become more experienced, the best rate would be around $0.05 or $0.06.


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Advice for a new Chinese English medical specialist

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