Interpreters in China—what are they like?

Everyone who is determined to succeed in solving business issues in China is looking for an assistant or an interpreter who can become his right hand. What the interpreter should be like and why it is important to have a reliable insider—I would like to share my vision of it below.

Today I do not call myself just the interpreter. I have regular clients so the interpretation work is secondary for me. Fortunately, I speak good Chinese, and I have accumulated significant experience in dealing with business in China during my work with clients. Besides, I have a competent, all-around, and very smart husband who supports me in any situation. So I do not have to look for extra help in my work.

While working in China, I have met my colleagues who do their job well. So I often cooperate with them and give them clients I do not have the opportunity or time to work with. I have also met illiterate and impolite colleagues with whom I parted at the very beginning for me not to disgrace my own name. I can recommend you only trusted people—the ones whose language and abilities I am sure of. Unfortunately, I have not seen all my colleagues in person, but I always ask for clients’ feedback so I know who to work with and whom to avoid. As a representative of the service sector and the interpreter and business agent in China, I have requirements for my work and, of course, requirements for other interpreters. If I needed to hire an interpreter in China, I would take into account the following characteristics:

– Good command of Chinese and correct English/Russian language (without junk words and jargon). Sometimes I do not understand what people say in English/Russian if they do not use the normal English/Russian language.

– Experience in working with manufacturers.

– Knowledge of foreign trade and export from China plus experience in the organization of delivery and customs clearance. It is important if you plan to hire the interpreter to handle orders in China. There may be a lot of unclear situations if the interpreter lacks this knowledge. You will have to solve the problems by paying fines or spending more money on additional services.

– Literacy and versatile development.

– The ability to adapt to a language situation and to interpret terms without knowing specific vocabulary.

– Intuition and logic. Intuition is necessary in working with clients and Chinese manufacturers. Logic is necessary for saving time and making quick decisions.

– Responsibility and punctuality. The interpreter without these qualities may fail to come to the meeting or fail to prepare for negotiations.

– Politeness, endurance and patience.

– Neat and impressive appearance. I can’t say it for everyone, but this point is also important for me. That’s because you can’t expect them to take you seriously if you are accompanied by a guy wearing flip-flops or being a bit hungover after yesterday’s holiday.

I’m not a robot and not a computer so I can take some points a bit easier sometimes. But if the Chinese interpreter is competent, the client and the interpreter will find the solution or way out together. It is difficult to find the interpreter having all these qualities. You can see some of the qualities only in the work. You should pay attention to the interpreter’s work and behavior in different situations and only then entrust your business to him or her.

Author: Anna Morozyuk

Anna Morozyuk I live in Guangzhou (China). My specialty is translator and representative in China. I have certificates and diplomas confirming the level of knowledge of the Chinese language. I perform services in China such as the search for manufacturers, quality control, represent in exhibitions, organizing the supply of goods, big equipment from China, delivery and customs clearance from China.