3 Essential Qualities a Nice Chinese Translator Should Have

(Last Modified: 2019-07-31 09:08:16    Author: jinyu)

A translator, as its name implies, is a person who processes documents from one language to another. Besides adequate language skills, there are many other characters or qualities an eligible translator needs to perform well in complicated language conditions.

cover for Chinese translator's quality

In this article, 3 qualities of a nice Chinese translator are introduced. These 3 characters form not only their social identities but also the duties they shoulder.

1. Political accomplishment

Chinese students are specially trained to be patriotic and be loyal to the party from childhood times. Nowadays, the slogans of country-respecting are still prevailing among Chinas education system. For university students or postgraduates, Study of Maoism remains a required course. Failed to pass the final exam will cause serious results.

political course in Chinese university

For Chinese translators, as a result, their political stand or patriotism lies in:

  • Refuse bad topics.
    Politics related topics are not suitable for discussing, as they always trigger arguments or intensify contradictions. As a Chinese citizen, however, a translator will inevitably be upset on any comments which oppose Chinese government or his country. Meanwhile, related laws and regulations have formulated rules dealing with actions harming public order. Therefore, politically harmful topics are not welcomed.
  • Use proper words.
    A nice translator should always avoid using words that are controversial or offensive. While political situations of China are different from that of the other countries, special attention shall be paid on party groups, races, or religions to achieve political correctness.
  • Report inappropriate content.
    When unsuitable content is found in the task files, relevant actions shall be taken. It is a common practice that a translator discusses with the customer for confirmation of ambiguous content which may be regarded as disrespect. If the condition is serious, more actions such as reporting to local authorities are required.

2. Moral traits

Common moral traits such as Basic Civil Code of Ethics are published and propagated, encouraging citizens to be obedient, united and diligent. Among those widely-known moral traits, some general ethical norms are applied on culture industry and thus influenced all Chinese translators:

Moral traits of translator

1. Politeness. Politeness is one of the basic factors for our survival. One may hardly imagine how our society will be when people become rude. For a translator, essential politeness reflects on:

  • Dress.
    Dress properly is crucial for a translator's customers or office work. Meeting with clients or colleagues would be terrible if a translator care less about his look. Meanwhile, knowing to adjust dress style according to business occasions is a basic skill in it.
  • Actions.
    Translators should act properly based on modern courtesy. Whether to shake hands when first meet someone or to behavior appropriately during a talking, a nice translator shall always be in the right track. Besides, self-restraint at public places is also needed.
  • Talks.
    Most of the Chinese translators have been trained from answering phone calls from customers or talking with partners. During the work, they are good at answering questions or communicating harmoniously.

2. Honesty. It is hard for a person to stay upright and honest under the lure of selfish interests or pressure from working. Cases are usual that foreign customers get ripped-off or are deceived for the reason of money. For a Chinese translator, he should be honest in:

  • Quotation.
    Translation service shall be charged at fixed standard, rather than on random bases. As the opacity of business information, some companies prefer to charge according to business scale or paying capacity, which leads to bad consumer experience and should be avoid by honest suppliers.
  • Agreement.
    Agreements on lead time, privacy, working style or aftersales sales services are always established between translation companies and customers. Some of the content is implied from the practice, and some are explicitly written on contract. No matter what form it takes, translators have to be honest on those agreements.
  • Translation itself.
    For translation stand on terms, expression style, translation tools, work flow, acceptance level, translators shall strictly abide by the contract. Any breach of the agreement shall be regarded as dishonest.

3. Dedication A translator should love the job, and be willing to offer more solutions except for translation. Good operation inside a translation group will basically improve the comprehensive strength and thus can provide great solutions not only on translation, but also on related services like typesetting, formatting, designing and so on.

3. Knowledge

As a qualified translator, a great abundance of knowledge shall be mastered to deal with different tasks, as good translation of any document relies not only on nice language skills or translation techniques, but also on culture knowledge or even encyclopedic insights. That knowledge includes:

knowledge for translator
  • Language.
    Pronunciation, writing, grammar, listening, translation, and basic linguistics of the target language are required courses for Chinese student in this major. Extensive practices on English or any other foreign languages are conducted during a long term of study.
  • Cultural knowledge.
    A translator has to know something about the history, literature, geography of related countries, in order to get a deep insight into a group of different people, about their ideology and culture. This is very crucial for many occasions when transforming of the literal words is not enough.
  • Subject knowledge
    Documents to be translated are various, with range from medicine, electronics, chemistry, architecture, computer science, beauty, commercial to food and so on. If the translator knows little about basic knowledge frame for the subject, the final work may result in failure.


As an experienced translator, we should have the following abilities and qualities: good political quality, noble moral quality, and systematic knowledge reserve ability. Only in this way can we have a clear definition and criteria for the translator, so as to continuously improve ourselves and become an excellent translator.

footer for Chinese translator's quality