From Chinese to English: What You Should Keep in Mind


Posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2020 7:35 am

Translation refers to the act of converting written text that exists in one language to a completely different language. Naturally, the process of translation is complicated and requires a great deal of skill. However, not all translation jobs are equal. Translating between certain language sets is more difficult than others. A prime example of this is translation between Chinese and English. You should consider the difficulties involved if you are looking for Chinese to English translation services.

Difficulties in Chinese to English Translation Services

Many difficulties arise when you try to translate text from Mandarin (Chinese) to English. The major reason for these difficulties is that the two languages do not share an alphabet system. In fact, there is not even a traditional alphabet system in Mandarin. Instead, it uses different pictorial characters to indicate certain words or ideas. Where English only uses 26 different alphabets to construct words, Mandarin characters number over 50,000!

Although not all of the 50,000 characters are in circulation, around 20,000 are in common use in modern times. An average educated person will know around 8,000 of these at least, and if you know any less than 2,000 or 3,000 characters, you would not be even able to read a Chinese newspaper!

With the different and numerous characters that exist in Mandarin, it is no surprise that translation between the two is a difficult process. However, the process is worsened by the fact that the way English speakers process text is different from the way Chinese speakers do. The context and familiarity with the language is extremely important in this case. Allow us to explain.

Chinese words often comprise of multiple characters, where each character represents a different idea. For example, the Chinese term “电话” literally translates to electric speech, which English speakers may be able to guess refers to the telephone.

However, there are more complicated words such as “电影” that literally translate to electric shadow. Even if you are able to read these characters and understand what each of them stands for, you would have no idea what the whole phrase refers to. After all, the term “electric shadow” is extremely vague and does not make sense to a non-native speaker. You would need a little bit of cultural context and language familiarity to understand that the phrase refers to a movie or film.

Do You Need Chinese to English Translation Services?

Keeping these reasons in mind, it is important to realize that using any bilingual speaker for translation between English and Chinese is not a good idea. If you require Chinese to English translation services, it is best to hire a certified and professional translator.

A professional translator possesses deep knowledge and understanding of both the languages he translates between. A Chinese to English translator would be fluent in both the English and Chinese languages. In addition to the language, the translator would be familiar with the different cultural nuances and context associated with the two languages. Where an English person who just learned to read Mandarin characters would be boggled by what an electric shadow means, the translator would immediately translate it as a movie.

However, the knowledge of cultural context is not the only thing that sets a translator apart from just another bilingual person. Certified translators have the training and hands-on experience to offer their services in certain fields.

If you are looking for reliable and accurate Chinese to English Translation services, consider hiring Waterstone Translations.

Coronavirus: How Medical Translation Can Save the Day!


Posted on Friday, March 6th, 2020 10:24 am

The recent Coronavirus outbreak that originated from the Wuhan province in China late last December is looming like a potential global pandemic. With cases of the virus reported in different parts of the world, including Australia, Canada, Brazil, Russia and recently sub-Saharan Africa, global fears of a health epidemic are rising. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global health emergency over the outbreak of the virus.

Perhaps the scariest thing about the virus is that there is no vaccine to prevent the disease. The strain of viruses affecting human beings was undiscovered until the outbreak in China, and there is no specific antiviral treatment for the disease as of yet.

Another cause for worldwide concern is the symptoms of the infection. The common symptoms include fever, cough, and breathing difficulties. These may make it seem like you have the common cold when in fact, you could have a Coronavirus infection. What’s worse is that, in extreme cases, the infection can cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), pneumonia, kidney failure, and even death.

Keeping this in mind, there is no wonder that the global community has grave concerns about the virus. Different governments and organizations are collaborating to counter the disease and find a possible cure. However, to defeat the virus, we must first understand it. And to understand it, we must study the origin of the outbreak – China. This is where medical translators and interpreters come in.

Who Are Medical Translators and Interpreters?

Medical Translators

Medical (or healthcare) translators have a strong background in the medicinal field. Certified medical translators undergo extensive and thorough training programs that qualify them for practicing in the medical field. This training imparts them with the knowledge and experience of different industry-specific terminologies, proper procedures, and code of ethics to follow when offering their services in these trades. 

Medical translators have the knowledge of different medical concepts that allow them to translate effectively in the field of healthcare. They also know the names of different diseases and medicines in multiple languages, which is an essential part of their job. If you want to translate a medical document, you will need to hire a medical translator.

Medical Interpreters

Medical interpreters, on the other hand, convert spoken dialogue instead of written text into another language to facilitate communication between two parties that do not speak the same language. Medical interpreters offer their services in real-time to facilitate communication without breaking its flow.

Hence, they need to have an extensive vocabulary and an agile mind to recall different terms in different languages quickly. They do not have the time to consult an encyclopedia or dictionary during the conversation. Doing so would only cause interruptions and break the flow of natural communication.

If a doctor needs to communicate with a patient that does not speak the native language, he will require a medical interpreter. If the patient is deaf or hard of hearing, the doctor will need the services of a medical interpreter who is fluent in sign language to communicate effectively with the patient.

Medical interpreters also need to have exemplary psychological resilience. Tensions run high in the healthcare department. Take the Coronavirus outbreak as an example. Where any ordinary person might panic in the proximity of a potentially infected person, a certified medical interpreter will remain calm and collected to effectively offer their services. They will – of course – take the proper precautions against infection. However, they will not allow this fact to deter them from delivering impartial interpretation services.


With the increase in Coronavirus cases reported around the world, global organizations and governments are taking steps to collaborate with each other to find a cure for the virus. In order to facilitate communication between these organizations, there is a clear need for translators and interpreters who are familiar with the healthcare department. Luckily, medical translators and interpreters are here to save the day.