How do you calculate the cost of a translation request?
When quoting a customer, my main criteria are the level of difficulty/complexity, format, subject matter and urgency.
How much do you charge?
I usually charge by the source word and will always endeavour to provide a fixed price in my quote. I work with per hour/per project prices as well. Please contact me and I am always happy to discuss volume discounts.
Why would you charge me a localization fee for a Simplified/Traditional Chinese language pair? Aren’t they the same thing?
The two are definitely not the same! While simplification of the Traditional script started a long time ago (way before Contemporary Chinese society), the Simplified Chinese in use now was derived from the Traditional script and was promoted by the Chinese government in the 1950s. The idea was that it will increase literacy in the nation (it did) and give a much-needed economic boost to China (it did). I am not here to argue or discuss the merit of either script, so a simplified response is that the two scripts are truly not the same thing. They look different, with the Simplified version “missing” a few strokes in a lot of the characters. Both formal and informal words can be drastically different across the two scripts and the writing style varies as well. Along with colleagues working with this language pair, I always encourage clients to contact us first with their documents or clarifying their project needs prior to setting aside a (mental) budget.
Can you translate something for me into Cantonese/Mandarin/Hokkien/Hakka?
The global Chinese community is a fascinating linguistic treasure grove, as it is home to a wonderfully diverse group of regional or naturalized dialects. There can be significant regional differences even within one dialect – for example, Cantonese spoken within China, in Hong Kong, Macau or some of the immigrant communities in South East Asia often have very pronounced differences in the accent.
In theory, you can only translate a piece of text into Traditional or Simplified Chinese scripts as many dialects are purely verbal and colloquial in nature – this means that they are never written! Those who grew up speaking Cantonese as their mother language would learn how to write in Traditional Chinese. When it comes to specific types of academic and/or business writing, it is frowned upon to write using styles and words one would only use in speech. For all Chinese projects, please feel free to contact me first so we can discuss your project needs prior to deciding on which script(s) suit(s) you best.
You mentioned you’re from Hong Kong. How can you guarantee your quality of work with both Traditional and Simplified Chinese?
It definitely depends on the subject matter. I grew up in a bilingual setting and have acquired (Hong Kong) Cantonese and Canadian English as my two native languages, though my very first words were uttered in Cantonese. As I have family members who don’t speak Cantonese, I also acquired Mandarin very early on and have taken formal lessons all throughout high school. Years of watching movies, TV shows and reading newspapers from Mainland China have also kept me well-versed in the use of colloquial and formal Simplified Chinese. In the event that I am not able to work on a project, I always refer my clients to another qualified colleague.
Why should I use your services instead of going to a bigger translation agency?
If your project involves translating a large volume of texts into multiple languages, admittedly I might not be able to fully respond to your request. I am a sole proprietor, after all! Working with a freelancer however ensures a personal and professional approach in our correspondence, putting a face to a name and best of all: no hidden fees! You will get a list of clear fee structure, no matter how big (or small) the project may be.
Where are you located?
I am based in Toronto, Canada, in the Eastern Standard Time zone. I do travel quite a bit and spend a short period of time every year in my native city of Hong Kong. Please contact me first if you require same-day turnaround for your project.
Update: Toronto is currently in EDT (GMT -4) due to summer daylight savings.