Similar to writing, a good translation work is almost never achieved without revisions. Suppose you provide a senior editor with an article which has been edited 3 times and request her for editing service without telling her it has been edited. The most likely thing to happen is that you receive the article with some tracked changes. Yes, she has made yet more modifications to the text. The same holds true for a translation work!

In fact, I believe most translators would agree that there are at least three stages involved in their knowledge conveyance process, namely Translation (T) in a narrower sense, Editing (E), and Proofreading (P). This is also why T, E, and P are deemed as three types of services and are usually rated differently in this industry.

This prevalent practice may strike a novice user of translation service as odd and unreasonable. Since agencies and independent translators often trumpet about their services, why can't they provide ultimate perfect translation (and most importantly apply one-time rate for the task) when they get a request? The truth is, there is no such a thing as perfect translation.

The reason for this lies in the constant evolving nature of language. Ten years ago, a good Chinese translation for mobile phones was Da-ge-da (大哥大), a term which depicts relatively more the size than the function of the phone. Today, the same translation is already obsolete and will probably die out in the future. A good translation for the same word now is Shou-ji (手機). But is it the perfect translation, if another alternative Xing-dong-dian-hua (行動電話) is taken into considertaion? Even if it is, will it stay perfect?

Another reason for the non-existence of perfect translation is the variety of purposes for which people use language. Based on the audience you are targeting, "Pick up like a pro" can be translated into various ways. For a cellphone holster provider to market their product, Jie ting jia shi, li xian zhuan ye (接聽架勢,立顯專業) is evidently a better choice than Xue de xiang yang dian (學得像樣點). However, if the the same sentence appears in an encouragement letter from a mother to her daughter studying abroad, then the latter translation wins out.

Finally, there is also the factor of people's subjective opinions toward language. As people favor different styles of speech, they can deliberately opt for one expression over another. This can be evidenced by the common practice of establishing client-specific glossaries by localization companies. Take my experiecne for example. "Click" should always be translated as an yi xia (按一下) for client A, while for client B, an xia (按下) should always be used without exception. Under these circumstances, translation is more like a product which can be custom-made.

Hence, for customers who are seeking ultimate perfect translation out there, my suggestion is: modify your goal by picking the ones who attend to your needs and giving them enough time and money to exercise their minds on your text.

Translate in Our Words

It takes undivided concentration, and could sometimes
Pays a little less than expected. On and
Off we switch ourselves, in order
To present the perfect picture in one
Take, meanwhile fearing we might miss
Something intended to convey, which if not taken
Seriously, may elicit reprimand or
Even termination of our service. Notwithstanding the foregoing,
When a difficult task is finally overcome,
It brings a sense of achievement, which
Comes with indescribable happiness.
To sum up,The bittersweet taste of translating it is the same as other
Choices we make in life,
Among which we ought to pay more attention to

when there is no investment involved?

The word "leverage" evolves from French lever and Latin levare, both meaning "to raise," and it did not don the financial speculation sense until 1937. Today, the financial sense seems to be used more commonly than its original meaning "action of a lever."

But in the sentence I worked on today, the word has little, if any, to do with financial investment. I think "leverage" in this sentence can be translated as chong fen yun yong (充分運用), meaning "make good use of." In Chinese, chong fen means "to the fullest," yun means "to move, transport" and yong means "to use." Below is the source sentence and my translation.

EN: OOO leveraged her broad cross-brand and cross-industry knowledge to identify business opportunities.

TC: OOO 充分運用其廣泛的跨品牌及跨產業知識來發掘商機。


Meifang Fortuna LeeLihsin Huang

Meifang Fortuna Lee, freelance translator, native speaker of Mandarin Chinese (Traditional), ROC Certified English Secondary School Teacher

English > Traditional Chinese; Simplified Chinese > Traditional Chinese; Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese > English

Master of Arts in Linguistics, National Chengchi University, Taiwan, 06/2003
Bachelor of Arts in English, National Chengchi University, Taiwan, 06/2000
Member of the Phi Tau Phi Scholastic Honor Society of the Republic of China, National Chengchi University, Taiwan, 06/2000

Localization: IT product overviews for major companies in the storage industry.
Legal translations: Legal notice and privacy statement for an SSL certificate provider; leasing contract between a search engine provider and a hotel; contract management policy for a Singapore-based international bank; sales agreement for a yacht company and its buyer; web privacy policy and data consent for an international savings provider; customer satisfaction survey privacy statement for a leading software vendor; technical consultancy contract for a Chinese university and a leading supplier of lipid ingredients; marriage certificates.
Healthcare translations: Brochures, information sheets and notification letters for a public-funded UK healthcare organization; medical report; health advisory for a government agency; healthcare directions for surgical appliances for a UK-based healthcare solution provider, medical questionnaires, clinical trial recruitment documents.
Financial, banking & economy: Linked note information sheet for an Indian bank; equity fund commentary; co-translated selected articles from the Economist for the Chinese-language Business Weekly Magazine (商業週刊) (using pen name: Lee Hsin (李欣); published on issues: 1022, 1023, 1025, 1026, 1027, etc.).
Academic translations: Papers presented at EU-China Dialogue Seminar on Human Rights; co-translated Child Development written by Laura Berk (published by Yehyeh Book Gallery).
Literature and music: Subtitling of Song of Love (1947) and Scrooge (1951); poetry and lyric translation; back translation for a Broadway musical play.

Project Manager/Technical Translator, STAR AG Taiwan Branch, Taiwan, 07/2009~07/2010

English Teacher/Homeroom Teacher, National Dali Senior High School, Taiwan, 08/2005~06/2006

Staff Writer/Translator for the government-published Taiwan Journal, Government Information Office, Taiwan, 07/2004~06/2005, responsibilities include meeting strict deadlines to accomplish up-to-the-minute stories, mostly but not exclusively, on local politics and foreign relations between Taiwan and its allies. (Note: Taiwan Journal ceased publication as of May 22, 2009 and was relaunched online as Taiwan Today June 1, 2009.)
Student Teacher, National Hsin Tien Senior High School, Taiwan, 06/2003~06/2004, Honored by the school after leading and instructing a group of student representatives in participating in a National Youth Diplomat Contest organized by the ROC Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education.

Language and dialects: Mandarin (native); English (fluent); German (capable of basic reading/spoken tasks); Hoklo (native)
Work style: Capable of doing research in a well-organized manner, being able to apply critical and analytical thinking to assigned tasks, eager to find solutions to encountered obstacles. Keen to learn new skills.

Lihsin Huang, freelance translator, native speaker of Mandarin Chinese (Traditional), ROC Certified Secondary School Teacher

English > Traditional Chinese; Simplified Chinese > Traditional Chinese

Master of Education, National Chengchi University, Taiwan, 06/2003
Bachelor of Education, National Chengchi University, Taiwan, 06/2000
Minor Degree in History, National Chengchi University, Taiwan, 06/2000

Education and training
: Mathematics state test; e-learning program for a microcomputer component supplier; teach program website; aromatherapy exam; letters to Chinese immigrant parents from school; accountant team training program; co-translated Child Development written by Laura Berk (published by Yehyeh Book Gallery).
Entertainment and travel: UI for popular PC games; travel guide for global cities; online betting site; restaurant menus; health food recipe; video scripts; websites for brand name products including clothes, perfume, cosmetics and travel cases.
Medical and healthcare: Packaging information and directions for medical appliances; evidence of coverage for health insurance; restaurant inspection reports; interactive voice response system for clinical trial studies; business campaign presentation for a pharmaceutical development solution provider.
Financial and trade: Equity fund monthly commentary; training materials for an international bank-sponsored program; survey on trade activities for a shipping company; business correspondences and negotiations; co-translated selected articles from the Economist for the Chinese-language Business Weekly Magazine (商業週刊) (using pen name: Lee Hsin (李欣); published on issues: 1022, 1023, 1025, 1026, 1027, etc.).
IT/Computer: Product descriptions for a web service and search engine service provider (over 500,000 source words), ranging from online advertising, browser, social networking website, billing and payment system; user’s manual and maintenance instructions on copiers and printers; descriptions of hardware specifications; software help files (Readme); online surveys; database software localization (Sisulizer project).
Others: Installation instructions of engineering tubes; business cards; company names.

Web Editor of, Commonwealth Magazine Education Foundation, Taiwan 07/2004~07/2005, responsibilities ranged from maintaining, promoting and marketing the website, editing newsletter, coordinating IT engineers and graphic designers, and writing articles on educational topics. For articles published in Commonwealth Magazine, please refer to
Student Teacher, Taipei Municipal Wan Fang Senior High School, Taiwan, 07/2003~06/2004
Compiler and coordinator of textbook review projects, National Institute for Compilation and Translation, Taiwan, 10/2002~06/2004

Languages and dialects: Mandarin (native); English (fluent); Hakka (native), Haklo (good working command)
Work style: Well-organized, extremely careful with details, precise with choice of words, excellent logical reasoning.


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