Translation Market in China
Thread poster: David Owen

David Owen
English to Chinese
Jan 10, 2006

This is the second month since i came back to center part of China, where few industries have anything to do with international business, and also few translation agencies establish their business status.I talked with a guy who actually own a agency and l found out this guy knew nothing about language or translaion. i heared of that there were a lot of people like him running a translation agency, Then l think there might be certain possibility that l could have a translation agency of my own in one or two years. The market for Chinese is still fresh, but who is going to take the lion's share?


Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:09
Member (2002)
English to German
Who will it be? Jan 10, 2006

The market for Chinese is still fresh, but who is going to take the lion's share?

I think it will be lfwcw521


Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:09
French to Spanish
+ ...
Run for it! Jan 10, 2006

And don't wait one or two years!
But... beware with low prices... ProZ members don't like them very much!


David Owen
English to Chinese
hi,mates Jan 12, 2006

Thank you, mates.
Through i know it is not that easy to establish in this market, l will strive for the following next years. If any body need any help for English-to-Chinese translation, l am always ready to help over here.


David Shen  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:09
English to Chinese
+ ...
Wishing you the best! Jan 12, 2006

David Owen wrote:

This is the second month since i came back to center part of China, ... The market for Chinese is still fresh, but who is going to take the lion's share?

Hi David,

Before you go too far deep into the perilous mountains of Sichuan Province, check this out on this very website.

(To view Chinese fonts, you need to set the character encoding in your browser to GB18030 or GB2312, the most widely used encoding on mainland China)

Hope this is helpful to you in your endeavour and may you find someone willing to collaborate with you there.

David Shen


Zhijun JIANG  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:09
English to Chinese
+ ...
Think twice before action Jan 12, 2006

Like any other industries in China, translation industry, as a knowledge intensive industry, is confronted with a price-sentive market, where the lowest rate always succeed in the bidding.

You have to be very careful in Chinese market, otherwise you will find yourself very difficult to recover your investment mentally and financially.

Wish you good luck in it.


English to Chinese
+ ...
there are translation agencies in Chengdu Jan 23, 2006

there are so many.


Local time: 09:09
English to Chinese
+ ...
hi, man, i am thinking about establishing a trans company in Shanghai Jan 24, 2006

where are you man?

I am right now in Shanghai working in frech construction company. I have been thinking about quitting the present job to set up a trans company specializing in legal translation.

I have majored both in english and law and therefore have great insterets in legal trans.

I would like to have your advice and help in bolster my business. Probably I with my friends will set up the company this year.

You can contact me by email at :

: )


Jianjun Zhang  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:09
English to Chinese
+ ...
The sky is small Jan 28, 2006

It seems that some people like to jump to conclusions. This remind me of a story where a frog who never came out of his well always thought the sky was just as small as what he saw at the bottom of his well. Before you have explored the whole forest, never say what you have seen is the forest itself.

China is big. Some parts of it are rather rich, while other parts are still as poor as any poor place you can imagine in the world: people still share trousers in some areas. But one of my colleagues in Shanghai told me recently there the compartment building units are selling at about 4,000 USD/square meter.

The same is true for translation markets. There are opportunists and there are honest companies. There are agencies hiring students fresh from colleges at 1 cent/word and there are serious companies that cater to industry leaders and seek to establish long-term business partnerships.

As what I expressed in response to another translator in the forum, established translators in China usually average 1300-2500 USD/month. Of course, if you want to use sweatshop services, it's your right; but it's not alright for serious business. Period.

Personally I have no warm feelings toward those people who'd like to brand themselves as experts in Chinese translation markets but actually just probably know little about it.


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:09
English to French
+ ...
Interesting read for you, will give you an idea Feb 26, 2006


Here is a URL for you, I am sure you will find it interesting to read. This article came out just last week and it gives you a pretty good snapshot of the translation industry in China. Seems that the guy you met who has an agency and knows nothing about language is a situation commonly encountered in China.

Anyways, read this and see if it helps you to decide. I'd say that if you are the least good at what you do, by all means, go for it! There are many agencies over there, but most are not real and their product is of poor quality - maybe that's why rates are so low over there... If you can do better than most of them, YOU could end up with the lion's share.

All the best!


[Edited at 2006-02-26 23:33]


Clark An
Local time: 09:09
English to Chinese
+ ...
I don't like too Feb 28, 2006

Juan Jacob wrote:

And don't wait one or two years!
But... beware with low prices... ProZ members don't like them very much!

I don't like the low price too.


Local time: 09:09
+ ...
Believe me,folks, relationships matter most in China! Mar 8, 2006

As a Chinese native, also UK returnee, I've been in this

very certain Chinese trans industry for quite a few years.

First of all, I dont have the slightest intention to claim
to be the authority here to comment on this matter.
Instead, i just want to share some real-life experience with u guys.

1. If you eye the lion's share of this market, the foremost
thing for u to do is to set up the relevant relationship
network (translated into Chinese "Guan Xi Wang"). In other
words, if u have an insider located within your client end,
then you will be 101% sure that you will get the deal, no
matter how fierce the price competition turns out to be, or
in most cases you are even freed from ostensible open
bidding or price wars.

2. Once u get ur NO.1 issue solved, there is the
credibility of end-client to attain most of your concern.
You think you have taken every possible measures to fight
against the ever enlarging portion of outstanding payment
in your financial sheet, the unfortunate truth is that most
likely you will be the one who is left empty-handed in the
end, or on some better scenarios get paid after an even
longer delay.

Of course, there are other issues to be considered before
you can actually get on the right track of business success
in China.

Anyway, if some of your folks want to start your business
in the trans sector here in China. I'd love to share more
relevant business know-how with you in person. Cheers!



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