Translational Chinese: The pursuit of a third-code

Translational Chinese, or any other language used as target language in translation, is different from the source language as well as the target language. This special variety has been termed “the third code” by Frawley (1984). In corpus-based a study examining the lexical and syntactic features of translational Chinese, Xiao and Dai (2011) reveals that in comparison to native Chinese, translational Chinese have a lower lexical density, makes more frequent use of conjunctions, and the use of passives is affected by source language, and in their case, English.

Thoughts on TM Discounts

Corinnie shared insightful observations on TM discounts. I’d like to follow up a bit on the same issue as well. Computer assisted translation tools (CAT) usually takes quite a while to learn. Trados, the most popular CAT software, for example, really has a deep learning curve. I can still remember printing out book length manuals, just to get started. Corinnie pointed out that since us translators spend and invest a lot on computers, CAT software, and the time spent learning, upgrading and maintaining them, but when it comes to the benefits of all these hard work, it’s a bit unfair to provide discounts on them. Otherwise, what’s the incentive for translators to use such tools in the first place. I know there are very good English to Chinese translators who are very anti-CAT.

I have two reason not to provide discounts on TM. First of all, if the quality of TM is not very high, even 100% matches still needs to be read carefully, and often times 80% matches requires not 20% of time, but could be as difficult, if not more difficult, to translate as no match. In addition, if translation agencies do not offer TM discounts to their end clients, why should they ask for discounts from translators?

Chinese Translation Industry: Need some regulation?

Does the Chinese translation industry need some regulation? Mr. Huang Youyi thinks so. As a CPPCC representative, Mr. Haung said he is considering proposing a bill this year aiming at regulating the Chinese translation industry. His words is certainly carries quite some weight, as he is a member or representative of the Chinese legislature.

According to Mr. Huang, a long time Chinese translator himself,  China’s translation market is now in a turmoil. For example, he said that the translation rate or price varies greatly, there is no entry or access rules, anyone can register a translation company, but the quality of translation is not guaranteed. Mr. Huang recognize that translation is playing an increasingly important role in cross-cultural communication, and these aforementioned current status quo of Chinese translation industries worries him. Thus regulation or legislation appears (to him) a good way out.

However, I think those reasons are groundless. Translation rate or price, or for anything for that matter, is determined largely supply and command. Why should a high quality English to Chinese translation, for example, be the same price as mediore translations? Secondly, just because a translation project is handled by a translation company doesn’t mean that it is necesarily of high quality. It is human translators who produce good quality translations, not agencies .