As promised, we’ve invited Marcus to share his experience working at Chin Communications as part of the above series.
As part of Chin’s ongoing translator development program, as with all of our team, regular in-house and external training takes place, and Marcus is benefitting from this too. Already in his short career Marcus has managed two large book publication projects – one a gorgeous 310 page hardcover book for one of the most prestigious winemakers in Australia – Penfolds and the other an Annual Report for a mining & resources client. Talk about exciting! The training continues with a jam-packed program and ongoing diverse work assignments. And below is a brief chat we had with Marcus.
Tell us a little bit about your course
I studied a Masters of Interpreting and Translation Studies at Monash University from 2011 and recently graduated from the program. The course has two streams: translation-only stream and translation-interpreting combined stream. I started with the translation-only stream, and then transferred to the combined stream after the first semester. I felt that both ‘strings’ would give me more flexibility.
What are the most valuable things you learnt from this course?
Besides all the crucial techniques of translation and interpreting, the most valuable knowledge I acquired at the Monash is the understanding of ethics. The Code of Ethics developed by the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators not only sets out guidance for translators and interpreters in Australia and New Zealand, but also works as a great example for regions where the T/I industry is emerging. We have had a profound study of it. It makes me more confident and secure because I know better about how to behave professionally in the workplace and how to protect myself when facing ethical dilemmas. For example, sometimes the client considers the interpreter as “their ally”, hoping they can work as “the third interlocutor” who “speaks for” them instead of “interprets for” them. Well that expectation becomes an obstacle for the interpreter to do their actual job – interpreting. The Code of Ethics gives clear explanations on this issue “impartiality”so that the interpreter feels more certain and comfortable to refuse to take on roles other than interpreter.
Also, understanding Australian context – how Australia functions socially, politically – its structure and history. All this information is essential to work as a Translator and Interpreter in Australia. We can answer questions like: What is the difference between an Australian parliament and the CPC? Or on a university level – who’s the Chinese counterpart to a vice chancellor? Being unfamiliar with such questions will create confusion in both parties and thus hinder the communication for sure.
What makes you want to work with Chin Communications, rather than other companies?
At first I approached Chin to see if I could do my work experience with them, simply because Chin Communications has been a huge success in the industry with an outstanding reputation and well established clientele; and Professor Charles Qin, the Managing Director of Chin Communications, has always been the first choice of interpreter for many government-level meetings and ministerial visits in both China and Australia – he is a great role model to translators and interpreters. I would love to work closely with Charles to gain invaluable hands-on experience.
What are the reasons that you think Chin selected you as their intern, and were willing to take you on as a full time employee?
Gosh, that’s a tough one! I could say because of my sparkling personality! No, seriously, I turned up on time for an interview. I expressed my motivation and desire to work as a translator and interpreter; I spoke about my background and had a language test. Once I had the placement I learnt a lot about working in a translation company and I put my head down and worked hard.
Chin Communications was really great in giving me some good tasks – not just hack work – they even sent me off to an external training course where I started to learn desk top publishing and design – that has been a wonderful help in my daily work.
Having the regular training sessions with the team and Charles is also a great help. In terms of being offered the permanent job now – I guess I proved myself during the work experience period – I demonstrated that I was keen to learn and adept at different tasks from translation to typesetting, project management and problem solving. I worked really hard too!
Describe your typical day at Chin Communications
Every single day is different when working at Chin. Every day I am exposed to multiple genres of texts that are required to be translated/reviewed: medical texts, legal certifications, commercial or corporate materials, multimedia content, business cards, formal letters, informal communications, brochures, websites and posters, branding – even looking at artefacts – nothing could surprise me any more in the vast array of ‘texts’ we receive.
Recently we finished two particularly big projects, where the effort and energy of other specialists were involved. Translators, typesetters, publishers, designers, writers, editors, communications managers… Working with all these experts as a part of a translation project was an exciting experience. It drew my attention to elements outside the translation process, including the importance of communication between team members, negotiation skills and prioritization skills, and some questions to think about, like how to be a professional and collaborative team member. While I am working at Chin, it has become more and more obvious to me that translation is much bigger than a single-person job. It takes the collaboration and cooperation of many parties to produce a perfect outcome. That’s why it is a great environment with colleagues around to consult and bounce ideas around and a good process where all our work goes through several pairs of hands and reviews.