IMG 5718sw ASiem Reap & Shanghai interpreters meetings December 2015


Dear Colleagues, Thank you for your feedback and presence in Cambodia December 2015 & Christmas eve.

Our talks mainly interpreters colleagues

and journalist about our profession, business

conditions, opportunities and update market

evolution. Like in Shanghai January 2015.


I organize two other interpreter

meetings in Shanghai on Tuesday 15ht and Wednesday

16th and Sunday 27 December in Shanghai ;-)


Costa coffee next to People Square: COSTA COFFEE

(南京东路店) 黄浦区 南京东路719号南新雅大酒店旁(近贵州路) Huangpu, Shanghai. I wowas  very please to some of you again ;-)

Hyatt Hotel pool and garden is a relax place in Siem Ream.  Feel free to visit my blog translation and interpretation with about 2000 pages indexed in search engines

Shanghai interpreters meeting exploration of market and conditions
Some comparative elements an intermediate report.
Result of two visits on site (Shanghai): January and December 2015.
Exchanged locally with interpreters and some translation company managers / CEO up to 250 persons in the teams.

+ Market size :
very large, it seems there is place for every one and all qualities. Quality seems not to be the major driver when procurement decisions are made they are very price sensitive.

+ Diversification :
Services vary from escort interpreters, understood to have very basic skills. One team organizing agency said « almost 90% of all the exchange has been already done; interpreter is present for courtesy reasons ». Conference interpretation seems to be a limited circuit not very open to new comers. Translation can be of very basic to top end quality for aerospace and pharmaceutical, medical, clinical trials.

+ Language studies :
on a non representative sample the absolute majority had studied languages, translation, interpretation and some had up to two master degrees one in China one abroad; some others combined business, language teaching and tourism or near by fields.

+ Alumni associations
exist when studying abroad USA, UK… but so far no association was mentioned to be active or at least brightly know.

+ Legal form of freelancing / agencies :
It seems bureaucratic procedures for registration are high and getting direct clients for freelancers is not so easy. Many companies prefer to subcontract work to same legal entities.

+ Long Term perspectives :
more and more foreigners learn Chinese language, on the same time younger generations lear more english. There is a fear that on the long term interpretation will be only a top niche for international conferences.

+ Legal translation :
is often done in house because of trust and confidentiality issues. Out-sourching and subcontracting does not seem to be so widely accepted. In house staff is expected to do the translation work among other tasks.

+ Competition :
24/7 availability is a trend known to major players world wide; so in China. Social questions do not prevail and equilibrium of private professional live is not on the top of the agenda.
There is a conviction that some one will always be selling at a lower price. Getting the order and the turn over seems to be higher ranked as margin & quality. For highly prestigious and technical organizations, quality Is preferred to prices. Companies mentioned : Eurocopter, Safran ,airbus, Microsoft etc.

+ Prices :
Interpretation ; variations one to ten / direct clients / colleagues margin up to 50 % or 100% exist.
On the top end prices tend to be global.
For conference interpretation end clients can pay 5.000 to 10.000 Yuan RMB (1000 US$ for direct clients & exchange rate was very volatil in 2015) per day and keep a commission of 25 to 50%.
Escort interpreters can get paid as low as 3000 or 2.000 Yuan RMB per day.

+ average number of days per year :
100 seems to be similar as in other countries

+ translation :
Numerous translation agencies have local partnerships & high use of CAT tools.

+ Availability:
depending the niche 80 to 120 days per year seems to be average.
In house interpreters work up to 3 days a week and have 2 days available for work preparation & rest.

+ Cancellation policies :
When European SCIC standards of about 20 days = 100 % and six weeks = 50% was mentioned, it seems a quite protective net not usually practiced in Shanghai.

+ Portails :
as far as today only Aiic, seek panda and proz were mentioned in discussions.
They all offer a different approach to membership offers, pricing policy and jobs.

+ Social recognitions and respect :
Not all interpreters have the feeling of enjoying a high rang  social recognition.
Of course they work with high rank and top management; but stories of not respectful behavior and indecent attitude seem to exist. Especially for young interpreters.They tend to blame young interpreters more than the experienced one when mistakes occur (when one young interpreter and one experienced interpreter work in pairs for SI mission)

+ documentation for preparation :
almost no mention was made on this subject. It is good to know that some interpreters build their own vocabulary list.

+ most commun languages :
English <> Chinese, Rare languages Spanish, Portuguese, French.

+ Government market :
seems to be a « closed / protected » niche sector.