Free English to Chinese Translation Guide - Choosing and Managing an English to Chinese Translator
Looking for an English to Chinese translator? Our free English to Chinese translation guide gives you the tools you need to make the right translation choices.
When planning your translation, you can't afford not to know:
- Average English to Chinese translator rates
- When to ask your translator for a discount
- How to monitor your translation's progress
- How to avoid potentially embarrassing or expensive translation mistakes
- The right and wrong uses of free online translators
- How to interpret a translator's résumé or translation agency quote
Free English to Chinese Translation Guide - Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some of the most common questions about Chinese translation.
Q: How much does a Chinese translation cost?
A: Normally, professional translation services providers charge a per word rate, based on the number of words in the original. However, the exact rate will depend on the difficulty of the text, and the specific service provided (for example: translation only, or translation plus editing plus document layout).
Generally speaking, freelance translators charge less than agencies, but rates also vary significantly between one translator or agency and another.
We did a price study of 20 U.S.-based Chinese translators. Of the translators we looked at, the average English to Chinese translator rate in U.S. dollars was $0.13, while the average Chinese to English translator rate was $0.11.
Click here for more detailed information on Chinese translation rates
Q: What is the difference between Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese?
A: There are two standard sets of Chinese characters used in different countries. Traditional Chinese characters are used in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Simplified Chinese characters are used in China. Whether your English to Chinese translation should be written in Simplified Chinese or Traditional Chinese depends on the country where it will be used.
"It's very simple. If your market is in China, you definitely want to hire a translator whose native language is Simplified Chinese because even though people can more or less understand each other, a lot of expressions are different. However, on the other hand, if your target readers are in Taiwan, Hong Kong or Singapore etc., then you should hire a Traditional Chinese translator."- Siaoning Jhang, English to Chinese Translator
If you are translating from English to Chinese, if possible, look for an English to Chinese translator who is from the target region of your translation.
Q: Can't I just use a free English to Chinese translation software instead of paying for Chinese translations?
A: Machine translations are easy, fast, and often free. However, machine translations frequently sound awkward or funny and do not always mean the same as the original. We therefore recommend machine translators as a tool for understanding, but not as a tool for communication. If you are translating something from Chinese just for your own information, a free English to Chinese translation software might help. If you want to translate something to Chinese that will be read by other people, it is extremely risky to use a machine.
Click here for more information on free English to Chinese translation and to go to a free English to Chinese translation tool.
Q: How long does a Chinese translation take?
Be very careful when using a free online translator.
Here is an example of what can go wrong with a free Chinese to English translation. This is part of a Chinese Wikipedia article about the performer Madonna, which has been translated to English using a well-known free translation software:
"Macdanna other is also had by the media to make public love history: 1970 Macdanna orchestra “Breakfast Club” member Dan Gilroy; in 1985 “prince” (Prince) had had the short appointment with the American pop singer; in 1994 and NBA star player Dennis · Rodman Dennis the Rodman,1996 year once some chapter described in its autobiography with Macdanna's love history."
A: Typically, a translator needs at least one day for every 2500 words in your document. However, the actual time that will be required depends on many factors, so it is important to ask your translator how much time he or she will need for your specific translation. We recommend agreeing on a deadline before starting the translation project and putting the agreement in an e-mail or another written form to avoid misunderstanding later.
Click here for more advice on translation timing.
"If you want a quality translation, I really suggest not leaving it for the last minute. Give the translator enough time. Most of the time, it’s not just translation -- the translator also has to do research." - Siaoning Jhang, English to Chinese TranslatorQ: How do I choose the right English to Chinese translator or translation agency?
A: When you need professional translation services, there are two ways to go: you could use a translation agency, or you could directly hire a freelance Chinese to English or English to Chinese translator.
A translation agency generally will charge more, but will handle every aspect of the translation for you. This is therefore normally the better option if your translation is to many languages or if you have limited time to coordinate a translation project.
On the other hand, for straightforward translations to just one language, working directly with a translator can save you money and give you more control over the management of your translation.
If you decide to hire an agency, look for one with ample experience working on Chinese translation projects similar to yours. Ask the agency for client references and samples of their past Chinese translation work.
Also find out as much as possible about the agency's quality control practices. Is every translation revised by at least one native editor to ensure the quality?
Click here for more advice on choosing a translation agency.
If you are hiring a freelance translator, look for a native speaker of the translation's target language -- that is, the final language of the translated document. In other words, if your translation is from English to Chinese, you should look for a native Chinese speaker. If your translation is from Chinese to English, you should look for a native English speaker.
If your translation is from English to Chinese, be aware that Chinese has different regional variants. Ideally, you would look for an English to Chinese translator from the region where the translation will be used.
It is also a good idea to look for a translator with several years of professional translation experience. In addition, if your translation is technical in nature, it may be preferable or even essential to find a translator with a specialized background in the specific subject area.
Click here for more advice on choosing a freelance English to Chinese or Chinese to English translator.
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