Career Prospects in Australia for Translators and Interpreters
With an increasing inflow of migrants into Australia, the rapid pace of globalisation, and China’s emerging presence in world affairs, the demand for English and Chinese translation and interpretation professionals has doubled over the past decade.
Interpreters with English and Chinese language skills are particularly valued within Australian governmental departments and agencies in areas such as customs, immigration, the legal and health systems, welfare, and various community-based organisations. Other areas include banks, travel agencies, business and commercial organisations, conferences and exhibitions. Interpreters typically apply their skills in settings such as seminars, police investigations, courts of law, health, education, real estate, insurance, international conferences, and trade negotiations.
Interpreters may work face to face with clients or via telephones. Currently, the Australian Community Relations Commission is planning to provide video-simultaneous interpretation. In addition to the direct role of interpreting between two speakers of different languages, Interpreters also play a broader role in the community by increasing cross-cultural understanding and communication. Often community interpreters may register with the Translating and Interpreting Service under DIAC (the Department of Immigration and Citizenship) where, among the 18 languages where interpretation is needed, the demand for Chinese interpreters is one of the largest.
For translators, there is also a large demand in many areas, including Australian government departments, public service sectors, international relations, community-based organisations, business and commerce, and individual clients. Translation work typically involves the translation of certificates, research materials, contracts, government documents, legal documents, education, books, and the media. A key advantage of translation skills are that, in addition to work obtained through the organisations listed above, practitioners can also work independently as freelance operators taking on private assignments – there is great demand, for instance, for the translation of immigration documents from private individuals. Law firms, immigration agents, and real estate agents, as an example, also commonly retain the services of freelance translators to call upon as needed.
Regardless, however, of whether you are a translator or interpreter, the high demand for these skills is not only restricted to Australia. In today’s increasingly globalised world, with the fast pace of the modern economic system and rapid development of science and technology, translators can provide their service via the internet to institutions, organisations, companies, and individuals worldwide. They can also register with translation agencies in Australia and overseas, so that when there is demand, the agencies will contact those who have registered with them to provide translation service.
Well-known translation agencies in Australia include:
Career Prospects in China for Translators and Interpreters
The end of the 20th century has marked the beginning of a period that, in the years leading up to the current time, has seen China increasingly open up to the outside world. An enormous number of overseas institutions and businesses have entered the Chinese marketplace in this time, while similarly, Chinese companies have sought to develop and expand its own markets and interactions throughout the world.
Recent statistics for 2012, for example, show that Chinese businesses have invested an amount in the order of A$6000 million in Australia alone! With globalisation, the popularisation of the internet and the incredible development of the Chinese economy, the need for China to communicate with the rest of the world has dramatically increased – as a consequence, the demand for translators and interpreters in various industries and areas throughout China has grown rapidly.
In particular, as well as demonstrating the significant role China is playing in world affairs, China’s status as host of recent international events such as the 2008 Olympics, the 2008 Conference of the International Federation of Translations in Shanghai, and the 2010 World Commodity Fair in Shanghai has boosted the demand for translation and interpretation professionals in China.
However, although the translation and interpretation industry in China is growing rapidly, senior Chinese translation and interpretation experts have suggested that although China is a powerful country in terms of translation quantity (publications of translated works from 1995 – 2003 reached as many as 94,400 ), there is still much to improve in the quality of translation. Interpretation skills are similarly seen to be in need of increased quality. Essentially, this means that the current and future translation and interpretation needs in China will allow plentiful opportunities to a substantial number of highly capable translation and interpretation professionals.
Currently, the common types of translation institutions in China include:
◆State-run Translation Agencies
These agencies are mainly engaged in government foreign affairs, cultural exchanges and government activities.
◆Large Translation Companies
These companies have a large, steady client base thus employing a large number of full-time, part-time and freelance translators and interpreters.
SOHO stands for Small Office - Home Office business. These are small, independent companies who tend to gain work by their own freelance contacts, or through sub-contracting their services to larger companies or interpretation and translation agents.