Frequently Asked Questions
Do you translate to and from all languages?
No, our specialisation is Mandarin Chinese. This means we are able to read what it says and are able to check whether a translator has delivered a good translation. Lots of general translation agencies claim to be experts in all languages. This means they have access to certain platforms where they can find translators. And of course this means they are able to find people who work in any language pair. We also have access to those websites and have paid memberships that allows us to search and filter based on industry and expertise. However, determining whether a Spanish text (for example) has been translated well is much more difficult than finding a translator. Of course you can commission us to take care of a Spanish translation. We will find a suitable translator, preferably an experienced one that is at home in your industry. We will also find a suitable proofreader. This means we can deliver a good Spanish translation. But if you commission us to take care of a Chinese translation, we offer more than just a sound workflow. We also guarantee we’re able to read the translation ourselves, just in case both the translator and the proofreader missed a typo. And for this reason our business is almost exclusively Chinese-related.
Do you really proofread everything?
Yes, we do, because making mistakes is only human. Even the best translator will make mistakes, anyone can get tired after 5000 words. That’s why proofreaders are so important. Some translation agencies or individual translators rely excessively on trust. Of course trust is incredibly important, but making mistakes is still human. It’s not as if a good and trusted translator would never make a mistake. Relying on trust works most of the time, but a good workflow should be in place just in case.
What’s the difference between traditional and simplified Chinese?
Simplified characters refers to the writing system used in the People’s Republic of China, sometimes referred to as Mainland China. People generally mean the PRC when they talk about China. In other words: simplified Chinese characters are used in China. Traditional characters refers to the writing system used elsewhere, for example in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The reason for this is that characters were simplified in the PRC, meaning less strokes per character. Of course not everyone agreed and that’s why traditional characters are also in use in some places. If you are unsure which of the writing systems you would like to use, we will advise you on this for free. You can also choose to apply both. We have also chosen this option for our website, so that you see two types of Chinese among the languages options.
Aren’t there many languages spoken in China, why do you only mention Mandarin?
That’s right, even though Mandarin is the official language in China, a lot of other languages are spoken as well, often referred to as ‘dialects’ within China. For example, many oversees Chinese speak southern ‘dialects’ or languages. If you need a written translation, you generally do not need to consider this issue, as Mandarin is the official written language. However if you are looking to hire an interpreter, you had better check whether your Chinese contact speaks Mandarin. This specifically applies for Chinese people living overseas, as dialects are slightly overrepresented.
What should I take into account when I hire an interpreter?
By hiring a professional interpreter you ensure good interpreting by someone who knows what they’re doing. Sometimes people who just ‘speak the language’ are asked to interpret. The result is likely to be disappointing if that person does not have interpreting experience. A professional interpreter has learnt important skills, is able to apply the correct vocabulary, has a good attitude, knows exactly how to prepare, is generally able to represent your company well and has the experience to respond to unexpected situations. KuaLanx employs interpreters who follow training and courses regularly and prepare well.
After you have contacted your interpreter, it is important to provide programme, planning and as much background information as possible to the interpreter. This helps them to prepare thoroughly and ensure your event goes smoothly. In case of speeches, it is important that your speakers are aware that they are being interpreted and what this means (for example, they may need to slow down). This is sometimes forgotten, especially in case of simultaneous interpreting using booths.
What is simultaneous interpreting?
Simultaneous interpreting means the speaker does not wait for the interpreter to finish, and vice versa. This means the interpreting takes place simultaneously with the speaker. This saves time, because it means the speaker does not need to wait, but it is also very intensive and tiring for the interpreter. After all, this means the interpreter is listening, translating and speaking at the same time.
Whether simultaneous translation is possible, depends on the situation. For example, during a speech, simultaneous interpreting is not possible without dedicated equipment. A booth would be needed for the interpreter to sit in, and headsets for the audience. In such cases, two interpreters are needed per language pair, with the two taking turns interpreting. Whisper translation is another option: this option can be applied if only a few people in the audience need a translation.
What is consecutive interpreting?
Consecutive interpreting means the interpreter waits for the speaker to finish a couple of sentences before interpreting. This means the speaker also waits for the interpreter to finish, slowing down the entire speech. Of course this takes more time, but it also means no headsets or booths are needed. If a large portion of the audience needs translation and they all need translation into the same language, this is a good option to consider. And for interpreting a tour around a city or around company premises, or for a small scale meeting, consecutive interpreting is a relatively relaxed option.
Do you use Google Translate?
No, YOU use Google Translate when you want to know what a text is about (but not if your life depends on it, because Google Translate may miss a crucial negation). We’re fine with you using Google Translate. We use dictionaries if we can’t think of the right word. Sometimes we try Google Translate to see if we get lucky and it has a brilliant solution for a difficult expression. We’re not scared of Google Translate, and we’re not necessarily friends either. Google Translate is our friendly neighbour.
Under ‘About Us’ you say you enjoy your work. Are you serious?
Yesterday we were playing with balloons after lunch. Today our interpreter went inline skating and who knows what she’s up to tomorrow. And we work in between. You’re crazy to read all the way through the ‘About us’ page and all the way down the FAQ page. Do you know what’s fun? Washing your car with the counter running while you don’t really have enough coins. The quicker you are, the more chance to avoid streaks of mud. Maybe you’ll run out of water and be a laughing stock all around town. But that doesn’t happen. It’s not about the money, it’s about the fun.
Are these really Frequently Asked Questions?
No, we just made them up.