Decide Who will Translate Your Text into Chinese (or from Chinese)

by Chao Cheng, Thursday, March 3rd, 2016 at 3:05 pm

(Chinese Translation, Doing Business in China, Marketing in China)

Who is the Best to translate your text into Chinese?

If it’s worth getting something translated, make sure get it done well.

There are several ways you can complete your Chinese translation.

Decide Who will Translate Your Text into Chinese

Decide Who will Translate Your Text into Chinese (Photo by Chao, Lujiazui, Shanghai)

Let’s compare and decide which is the best solution


You may know Chinese. You may even be fluent in it.

You may translate simple business emails, or quick sentences for information.

You may even translate very professional presentation or technical documents by yourself.

But that doesn’t mean you should do the translation by yourself all the time.

You are not expert on every subject, getting a professional Chinese expert to do  this job is more appropriate and efficient in most cases.

Your bilingual secretary / classmate / cousin / friend / neighbor

It will be similar as DIY, if it is a simple and quick job, it might be a good option.

But for a quality Chinese translation for business purposes, in a big chance it is not a good idea. 

Many people could not decline your request just because they do not want to lose face.

In my observation, most of these favors are done as rush jobs, but, who will be responsible for the possible errors in the translated text?

Also using your internal company resources or friends is usually a false economy. Their time has a value and they are unlikely to work as well or as quickly as a professional translator.

Teachers or students of languages

Teaching and translating require different sets of skills, and quality translation also requires expertise on specific subjects.

Having either a teacher or a student translate your text does not guarantee lowering the cost or saving your time. Often a student is cheaper option, but never risk your reputation on this.

Machine translation

Machine translations are getting better with time, as more human translations are analysed using statistical techniques.

While it is free, it is not suitable for your business translation project!

Stay away from free automated translations. Free machine translation like Google Translate can produce very inaccurate results. Basically 60-70% correct rate ( some times it is even lower) can only be used for information only purpose in informal situations.

But when it comes to official documents, contracts, website, marketing materials, this choice may prove the most expensive one.

Those mistakes caused by machine translation will scare your customers and business partner, they will doubt your reputation and capability. 



Professional translators have more than just language skills: 

  • experience and knowledge of translation techniques.
  • research skills and experience.
  • native speakers of the target language.
  • being bilingual is not enough.

But, for important business purposes, avoid using freelance translators directly.

  • Time consuming and hard to tell who is good

You could try to source translators yourself and deal direct with them.

However, this is time consuming and difficult to find good ones.

You need to be very professional as a project manager to tell who is a good translator.

An interesting fact is, there are many fake translator profiles in the market, they are counterfeited by some low level small agency owners to get orders directly from end customers.

  • Hard to communicate and cooperate

Actually many of the best translators work exclusively with agencies, it is more efficient for them to work directly with project managers and they make more money by working continuously.

  • Large multilingual projects need good project management

Dealing with several translators for various language combinations is what agencies are good at.

A good project management can ensure the consistency.

  • Low level of Quality Assurance

A freelancer does not have the same resources to implement a standard quality assurance. In most cases, proofreading is omitted, which will easily bring problems of common typos, spelling mistakes, wrong punctuations etc.

  • Availability and limited expertise

A freelancer may not always be able to accommodate your project and he/she only specializes in limited subjects which are not the one you need.


  • Good agencies have a large pool of Chinese translators.

This allows reputable agencies to choose the right translator for your job based on constant and first-hand experience of their previous work.

They work more often and more closely with good Chinese translators so can always drive the best result for you. 

  • Good agencies have dedicated experienced project managers.

 A great asset to reputable agencies are the dedicated project managers they have. The project managers are experienced and able to handle large projects across many languages for you.

Good project managers will effectively communicate with you and all the involved translators, reviewers etc.

  • Good agencies have strong proofreading processes.

As agencies have more translators on hand, they can also employ different translators to proofread other’s work. These fresh eyes can help avoid any mistakes or clarify any tricky technical text.

  • Good Chinese translation agencies command good knowledge of Doing business in China.

Reputable Chinese translation agencies accumulated rich experience for customers and can help customers to spot common mistakes and correct them effectively. This is great value for your money and help you grow business with China.

  • Stay away from small agencies selling cheap solutions

Many small agencies are not so experienced as they claim. Open your eyes and stay away from them.

While there are many Chinese translation companies out there that can translate documents into / from Chinese,  it’s not so easy to find reputable ones as your valuable partner.

We will show your the secrets to Find a reliable Chinese Translator Vendor.



Get Secrets and Tips about China Business!

Chao Cheng

Cheng Chao has extensive expertise in global translation & localization, cross-border business development, and global digital marketing.

Chao founded ChineseTrans, where he led a team of senior linguists to establish ChineseTrans as the market leader in professional Chinese translation services.

Chao is currently China managing director of WebInterpret, a leading provider of global e-commerce solutions. Through its unique internalization platform the company enables domestic online traders to become international online traders. Chao has been responsible for the China market entry and all operations in China.

Since 2011, Chao has served as the managing director of sinostep, a consulting agency helping foreign investment enter into the China market. Backed up with a strong team of China business consultants experienced in different sectors, Chao has successfully introduced dozens of overseas brands into the China market, established their operations in China on early stage and adapted their businesses to the China market.

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