Translation has always been the job of my dreams. In my imagination, being a translator was both an attractive and relaxing job. When I graduated from GETCH, I was lucky enough to get a translation job at Jetta Haizhu ltd.¡¯s Quality Assurance department. I finally got the chance to genuinely experience the joys and hardships of translation. After experiencing the reality of a translating job, I can say that I still really like translation.
Jetta is a large foreign investment company and is mainly engaged in the production of children¡¯s toys. As all the products are sold on European and American markets, most of the product specifications and testing standards are provided in English according to the needs of the consumers. In addition, the company needs to use English to write test reports for their foreign customers. My boss told me that in order to utilize my language skills, he planned for me to translate related specification material and some equipment material. In addition, I was asked to help the staff in the Quality Assurance department write testing reports in English. I was so happy that I could use the knowledge that I had previously learnt so I could get my dream job as a translator.
Upon receiving the translation material, I couldn¡¯t help but shiver. Why did it all seem so illegible? Even after checking the dictionary for words like 'tempo' and 'velcro', I still couldn¡¯t quite string together the meaning of all the words. I still remember that my first translating task ¡®Testing Staff Training Handbook¡¯ had some terminology like ¡®sharp points,¡¯ ¡®outside the box,¡¯ ¡®strip code,¡¯ etc. I didn¡¯t have a clue how to translate them. After asking an engineer for advice, I was finally able to understand these strange specialized vocabulary, and I struggled continuously to complete the translation of the handbook on time. When my boss was checking my work, his brows knotted tightly together and he ended up modifying 60% of my translation. He earnestly turned to me and said: ¡°There are no problems with your English, but if you don¡¯t understand technological processes and specialized terminology, then your translation won¡¯t be up to standard, and you will make lots of mistakes.¡± After a week, my boss arranged for me to start a month-long internship in a workshop. I knew that my boss had given a lot of thought to the problem so I was determined to accept the challenge. Every day, along with workers from the Quality Assurance department, I shuttled back and forth between the machines and workers, learning how to test the products. I slowly began to understand the meaning of those words that I had never heard before. In the evenings or in my free time, I would do extra reading of materials or on translations that people had previously done. Although after a month of hard work I still hadn¡¯t come to grips with all of the information. I had at least developed a fundamental understanding of the process of toy production and some of the basic specialized vocabulary, helping me to a large extent to avoid making silly mistakes while translating. Gradually, my boss started to make fewer alterations to my translations. My translations were still not perfect but I had taken the first step in my translation career.
As time went on, I gradually learnt that being a translator is a hard but enjoyable job, especially written translation. Sometimes, in order to translate a word accurately, I would have to look at all kinds of materials, check the dictionary, and ask for advice from my colleagues. After finishing the translation, I still had to proof read my translation, send it to the engineer for proofreading, and then send it to my boss for the final review. Even though the translation of ¡°Tiger Company QC¡¯s General Standards¡± was only ten pages long, it took an entire week to complete. However, I felt that I learnt a lot from it. Seeing the material that I had translated being printed out for the convenience of those carrying out the testing made me feel that no matter how hard I had to work, it was still worth it.
Every time I feel that I can put my studies to use and do something for the community, I think of the three years that I spent studying at GETCH. The things I learnt at GETCH have helped me enormously with my current job. All the sweat and effort that went into those two years have finally paid off and has proven the words of our headmaster: ¡°As long as you continually strive for self-improvement, disabled people can contribute to society just like anyone else.¡± It still feels as if I have just started my translating job; there are still a lot of things I need to learn. I need to improve the level of my Chinese-English translation and I also need to deepen my understanding of toy production and manufacturing. It will be a long and fulfilling journey and I am confident that I can do my job well!
Huang Xiaoying (Front row, second from the right)