I have written many times that my work deals with different subjects: from the simplest as clothes from China to quite complex as various equipment, spare parts, and materials. (By the way, if you go into detail, dealing with clothes is not so simple unless you buy clothes at a Chinese market. You don’t need any specific knowledge there. So everyone can cope with it even without good Chinese. Still, I do not specialize in working with the Guangzhou clothing market. I work with clothing manufacturers in China.)
Well, I am a girl, but I know what an extrusion machine or calibrated hot-rolled steel of hexagonal section is. (The latter is the first thing that I could think of though it may not seem very difficult to many people). Still, there are some skeptic clients who throw terms at you and wait how you are going to cope with them. Sometimes they even smile sarcastically and roll his eyes. I try to control myself when I deal with such clients. But I know that even if they come to me again, I will find a reason to refuse them. I do not seek tests when I agree to work with you. I wish to help the client to hold negotiations with Chinese manufacturers. And I do not want to feel bad for 1000 yuans. It is not worth it.
I started learning Chinese in 2001. The first three years of studies were almost in vain (I know the quality of teaching Chinese is much higher at my university now. Teachers, how do you do?) After that, I went to study in China, but the university education does not cover such topics as equipment, materials etc. Still, it was full immersion in the language. My Chinese teachers gave me a huge amount of linguistic knowledge. I am very grateful for that. I started to deal with the equipment and other goods in 2007. I had to learn a lot before meeting the clients. Now I almost skip preparation for negotiations as I have worked with many topics, and I understand many things. So it is not difficult for me to interpret such a term as calibrated hot-rolled steel of hexagonal section. Well, if the words are clear, the experienced interpreter can pick up the right Chinese equivalents without even knowing the scientific term (again, my example is not the best since all the words are clear in it). The Chinese language is quite primitive. You only need to know how to use it. After all, it is impossible to understand everything in the world. But if you deal with a topic, you can apply it in the other area and interpret a message clearly. If I do fail to understand the meaning of a term, I always ask my clients to explain it to me in simple language. (Well they use the terms every day. I am sure that if they did not work in their field, they would not know any special terms.) The clients explain it to me and get an answer to the question. Respect and understanding are a must when working with interpreters in China. And if a client decides to test the interpreters only to prove his superiority and show his vast knowledge in his field, he may ask tricky questions. But he’d better question, for example, his wife, and behave himself with the people he hardly knows.