Monday, January 31, 2011

Administrative Updates

From the Administrator

Hello, it's a great honor to address you as the CLD’s new administrator.

For those of you who attended the Denver Conference, it was a pleasure meeting you.  For the quiet but hard-working majority of the CLD membership, thank you for your confidence in me.  I look forward to working with you to accomplish our new and renewed goals and to serving our membership's best interests. We will work on the design of our website and promoting our services to the world 24/7 as well.  As more people in the U.S. are taking courses and pursuing degrees in Chinese, we need to reach out to them and increase our division membership.  We will continue to work with the ATA on the Chinese to English Certification Exam so that our existing and prospective members will have the training and qualifications to work in that language pair. We will publicize news about our Division, the work groups we are forming, and all other developments that are taking place.  I encourage all of you to volunteer and take part in a work group of your interest and to turn the CLD into a major player.

Bin Liu, ATA Chinese Language Division Administrator (2010-2012)
English to Chinese Translator

From the Immediate Past Administrator

Dear CLD colleagues,

Many thanks to those of you who attended the ATA Annual Conference in Denver.  We had a good turnout and I think the attendees also enjoyed the joint JLD-KLD-CLD social evening at the Mongolian Grill.  Although we had planned for about 30 attendees, based on email responses, we had a final tally of 62!!  It was fortunate that the restaurant could accommodate all of us.

The results of the CLD election were announced at our Division Meeting, and I'm happy to tell you that Mr. Liu Bin is our new CLD Division Administrator.  Congratulations to Liu Bin!!  The election was close, and the other candidate, Mr. Wu Di, has indicated his intent to continue helping the CLD.  Thanks to you both for your efforts in serving our members.

We want also to thank Mr. Wen Huang, an accomplished literary translator, for his excellent and enlightening presentation at Denver.  I think there must be someone else in the CLD who could do this kind of work in conveying the sense of one culture to another.  Wen Huang certainly showed us some of the pitfalls of this kind of work, and his success in publishing several translated works should be an inspiration to us all.

I noted at the CLD meeting that I will continue to work on the Chinese>English certification exam.  Michele LeSourde, Bart Zobel and I attended some grader sessions during the conference, and Jessie Lu will be helping us from his perspective as an English>Chinese grader.  We also have the strong backing of Jim Walker on the Certification Committee to get this thing done soon.  We'll be submitting passages for approval by the Certification Committee, and hope to have a practice exam ready by May next year.  Remember that there are some incentives for you to sign up as 'intending' to take the Chinese>English exam.  Please contact ATA Certification Committee Manager for further information and registration

Your new administrator, Liu Bin, will be needing help from our entire membership.  There are many ways we can help, by developing presentations for the conference, by suggesting and helping organize activities for the CLD (dinner in Boston next year, outings and interesting tours), and by getting involved in the mailing list and website work.  We need to show ATA that Chinese is an important language and our work in the language pair is worthy of greater recognition by ATA.

The group who attended the conference this year has already started to correspond with each other.  We need to reach out to all CLD members who are active in our language pair, and we need to recruit new members among those translators who are not yet ATA members.  We need to show them that there is benefit in ATA membership and in CLD membership.  We have previously offered to share terminology and discuss obscure phrases and new meanings, and we encourage you all to continue such discussions among members.  It can only make us all better translators!

Finally, it has been an honor to be your Division Administrator for the past two years.  Now let's all help Liu Bin develop the CLD to new heights in membership and to raise our profile at ATA headquarters!!


Bruce Hyman, Administrator 2008-2010
Chinese to English & Vietnamese to English Translator

CLD Update

-       At ATA's 51st Annual Conference in Denver (Oct. 27-30, 2010), the Chinese Language Division renewed itself again.  Veteran members brought to the Conference new ideas and grander plans.  They are joined by new members with fresh perspective and overwhelming energy.  A higher percentage of members from the West, Midwest and Canada made it to the Conference, which is evidence of CLD's global reach and local presence.  Their thoughts on the Denver Conference and the benefits of being a CLD member are captured in this Newsletter. 

-       At the Conference Division Meeting, a new CLD Administrator and Assistant Administrator were elected for the term 2010-2012.  Bin Liu became the new Administrator through ballot voting and Todd Cornell became the new Assistant Administrator by acclamation.  As the new Administrators, Bin Liu and Todd Cornell will work to accomplish the set-out goals: design a CLD website and initiate an ATA Chinese-to-English Certification Exam.

-       Immediately after the Denver Conference, Bin Liu followed up with a thank-you e-mail to our Distinguished Speaker, Mr. Wen Huang, our equally distinguished joint presenters Professor Yuanxi Ma and Mr. Di Wu, and our immediate past administrator, Mr. Bruce Hyman.  Their active participation and contribution to CLD sessions won our admiration and praise.

-       In early November, a call for articles was issued to CLD members who had attended the Denver Conference as a way to kick start to the much-anticipated renewal of the CLD Newsletter, much missed over the past 10 years.  A dozen suggested topics were given and members were also encouraged to propose interesting and informative topics of their own.  Katie Spillane, a CLD member and Chinese to English translator, agreed to be the Editor of our Newsletter.  Evelyn Garland, another CLD member and contributor to The ATA Chronicle, will serve as our Layout Editor.  We owe them much appreciation and good wishes.

-        In order to develop Division services, we have set up specific Workgroups tasked with specific duties.  Mr. Di Wu, a highly regarded CLD member and charismatic presenter, offered to head our Conference Presentation and Participation Workgroup.  Our immediate past administrator, Mr. Bruce Hyman, is leading our efforts for an early launch of the Chinese to English Certification Exam.  He will be assisted by Michelle LeSourd, Dan Tutolo, Todd Cornell and others.  Bin Liu is spearheading the CLD Website Design Workgroup.

-       To facilitate the CLD's activities and accomplishment of set goals, Liping Zhao has kindly agreed to act as the administrative coordinator for the current term.  Our sincere thanks goes to Ms. Zhao for her willingness and time.

-       On December 9, 2010, our much-anticipated CLD listserv was made available to all CLD members.  Listserv members have responded to this online forum for sharing ideas and work with enthusiasm.  Productive discussions on a range of interesting topics have already begun and we welcome all CLD members to join.  For those who have not yet joined the list, here's how:

If you don't already have a Yahoo! account, you will need to get one.
Go to and next to _New User?_ click the _Sign In_ button. The next page will take you through the steps.

Once you have a Yahoo! account, go to this link: and click the _Join This Group!_ button on the right hand side of the home page.

Or you can ask to join the group by sending a message to

You can control how you receive messages: individual messages, a daily digest, or you can choose to receive no messages and just access it online. If you have any problems, feel free to contact the CLD listserv moderator, Bin Liu at:

Bin Liu, ATA Chinese Language Division Administrator (2010-2012)
English to Chinese Translator

Member News

Past CLD Administrator (2006-2008) Mr. Garry Guan blazed a path of political involvement for all of us when he ran for a 2010 Georgia state senate seat.  As a self-proclaimed "ultimate political outsider," he waged a brilliantly executed campaign and garnered wide support from his constituents and the state as a whole.  Even though the election result was quite a surprise to many friends and colleagues (including CLD members Jesse Lu and Frank Mou), Garry won our hearts and admiration for his tenacious do-good-deeds beliefs and selfless determination to represent the largely quiet Chinese-American community.  With such auspicious political beginnings, Garry is undoubtedly on the path to success.  We wish him the best in his future public service career.

Mr. Di Wu has recently accepted a job as a Curriculum Developer/Chinese Linguist at ASET International Services Corporation.  As soon as he relocated from Illinois to Arlington, Virginia, he joined the ATA local chapter - the National Capital Area Translators Association.  He and Professor Yuanxi Ma have submitted a joint abstract proposal to the Federation of International Translators (FIT), which will have its World Congress in San Francisco August 1-4, 2011.  Currently, he is working to put together presentation topics for the ATA Conference in Boston.  We highly commend Mr. Wu's tireless service to our Division.

Mr. Jesse Lu, another longtime CLD member and Certification Exam grader, attended the Denver Conference and represented our Division well in a few important sessions.  He generously contributed his insight, experience and sound judgment on some key issues concerning the ATA and CLD.  He is a kind, open and noble spirit and also a good sport at social gatherings.  His e-mail commentary on test translations and input on Division matters are invaluable and highly appreciated by all members.

Compiled and Edited from CLD Activities & Correspondence by Bin Liu
English to Chinese Translator

Notes on Translation

English Translations of Modern Standard Chinese Redundancies

Modern Standard Chinese (MSC) has a number of redundant words and phrases that have their origins in the “Eight Legged Essay” (八股文) style of writing popularized during the Ming and Qing dynasties.  While these redundancies are an accepted part of MSC, they become verbose and tedious when translated into English.  Often translators fully translate these redundant words and phrases into English because they mistakenly fear losing the supposed emphasis that redundancy gives or because they want to impart to the English translation the Chinese flavor that redundant words purportedly give.

Since the object of good translation, like good writing, is clarity and conciseness, translators should avoid translating MSC redundant phrases that, for historical reasons of style and grammar, are acceptable in MSC but neither clear nor concise when literally translated into English. 

 In Chinese political writing, for example, one will often find the phrase “扩大群众” frequently translated as “the broad masses.”  However, as the plural form indicates, the word “masses” alone incorporates the concept of broad.  There is no need to translate “broad” and indeed doing so makes the English phrase redundant.

Another similar example is “各个国家” frequently translated as “various countries.”  Again, the plural form “countries” encompasses the meaning “various” so there is no need to translate the phrase as “various countries.”  Indeed we will often find “各个国家” used when the author wants to stress the plural “countries” as “国家alone, while it can be either singular or plural depending on context, does not immediately suggest the plural form.  

MSC technical writing has its share of redundant phrases.  Take for example the term “technical requirements.”  This is often rendered in MSC not only as “技术要求 but also as “技术条件要求.  Translating the latter phrase literally as “technical condition requirements” is not only cumbersome but also may cause the reader to wonder if the phrase means “technical conditions” or “technical requirements.” 

A similar example, taken from MSC technical writing, is “engineering requirements.”  MSC often renders this phrase “工程要求, but the redundant versions “工程技术要求 and “工程技术条件要求 are both used.  When the latter two phrases are rendered literally as “engineering technical requirements” and “engineering technical condition requirements” respectively, the words “technical” and “technical condition” add nothing to the original meaning and can make a reader wonder if something other than engineering requirements is meant. 

In conclusion, translators of MSC to English should be aware of the plethora of redundant words and phrases in MSC and strive to keep the English renditions clear and concise.


        由于流行在明清朝代八股文的影响,现代标准 汉语有不少的冗余词。我们如果直接把这些冗余词翻译成英文,结果是违反严复所制造的信,达, 雅三个翻译标准。既然如此,不少翻译员误以为冗余词增加强调,或者增加翻译中的中国味道。我们不同意这个看法。按照我们的立场,良好的翻译跟良好的写作一样:它们都需要一致性和清晰性。我们把几个例子说明这个道理。“扩大群众“ 这个词平常翻成“the broad masses ,”不过 “masses” 这个英文的复数词包括 “broad” 的意思。“各个国家“也是同样的例子。好多人把它翻成英文的 “various countries”, 但是 countries 由于它也就 是一个英文的复数词, 包括 “various” 的意思。
        现代汉语的技术著作也拥有很多冗余词。“技术要求 这个词有时候写成“技术条件要求”这个冗余词, 但它们两个词的最好英文翻译还只是 “technical requirements由于条件是冗余词,我们不必把它另外翻译成英文.“工程要求“ 这个词不但有时候写成“工程技术要求“而且有时候我们能看见“工程技术条件要求“ 这么一个长的词,但是 这几 个不同的写法都可以 翻成英文的“engineering requirements,而且我们万一把“技术“或 “技术条件”翻译成英文, 那么结果就是一个不通顺,意思不明确的英文翻译。

By Ed Connelly
Chinese to English Translator

Cultural Commentary

Lost in Translation: the importance of cultural context

The 2011 publication of Amy Chua's shock-and-awe book, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, has made waves in the Chinese community.  A law professor at Yale University, Ms. Chua writes of the parenting tactics she applied to raise two academically successful and musically talented daughters.  Ms. Chua began to spill the beans in an excerpt of her book published in the January 8th Wall Street Journal, under the title: "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior."  The article not only raised an instant outcry from American society at large, but also inspired heated discussions among CLD members and UN Chinese translators as well as parents and teachers at Chinese schools.  Some sympathized with her strict parenting methods - no play dates, no school plays, 3 hours of daily piano practice and an insistence that her daughters be top students in every subject.  Some couldn't believe the harsh discipline Ms. Chua imposed upon her daughters, with some non-Chinese Americans going so far as to call her an "abusive monster".  The fact of the matter is: quite a bit of Chinese culture is lost in translation when Ms. Chua writes in English of her own Chinese upbringing and of upholding traditional Chinese child rearing methods.  The Chinese largely believe in the early involvement of a child's education.  They believe they can and should develop a child's full potential at a tender age - just as young trees can be trained to grow into any shape or bulk, so can young children be trained to be useful members of society.  The Chinese also believe a laid-back child will be of no greater use to his family or society.  Over the course of a lifetime, a poorly raised child will ultimately pay the price, for the wheel of life’s fortunes is fair in that its cycles spare no one.  It is this kind of cultural context that's missing in Amy Chua's autobiographical book.  In a sense, she did not translate well the Confucian vision of cultivating a child into a person useful to society.  And so, it seems the task of introducing the subtlety and fullness of the Chinese culture to the American audience still rests with us as professional translators.  We hope to see the day when a truly quintessential Chinese writer wins a Nobel Prize for Literature on the strength of the quality translation of his/her original works in Chinese.

Bin Liu, ATA Chinese Language Division Administrator (2010-2012)
English to Chinese Translator

Professional Perspectives

The Rewards of Being a Professional Translator

Many people take on certain jobs because of availability, image, and/or financial need.  I fell in this category when I first came to the U.S.  After graduating with a M.A. in English and a concentration in ESL, teaching paled in comparison to the eye-catching, glittering corporate world.  My “wish” for glamour was granted when I later earned my M.B.A. and entered a large corporation with all its visual allures: an onsite gym, café, walking trail and corporate paycheck.  But over the years, I realized that I had given my life, time and talent in exchange for some external packaging.  I actually had a ticket to boredom.

I was excited when I discovered the ATA and started working as a translator/interpreter.  Freedom is a big deal for me.  I am no longer tied to a daily 9 to 5 job.  The flexibility that comes with our line of work also fits well with the responsibility and pleasure I have as a mother with young children.  I can stay home while pursuing a career that uses my passion and expertise.  By the way, working has become fun for me, especially when I serve as a conference interpreter.  I like the preparation phase, doing research on a new subject or certain high profile individual. I  love the high-speed, high-pressure environment in the booth.  It is a sports game I enjoy playing.

To conclude: blessed is the one with a career that brings out his/her passion, talent and full financial potential.

By Liping Zhao
English to Chinese Translator

10 +1 Reasons to Be an ATA Member: A selective & unofficial list

By being an ATA member you can -

10. Stay on top of industry news & trends
9. Engage in informative discussions through various ATA listserves
8. Find business partners through ATA events & publications
7. Save money with member pricing for ATA conference, seminar registration fees & other offers
6. Meet colleagues for information sharing, referrals, & fun!
5. Get your name out there through the ATA Directories
4. Learn business tips about such things as e-marketing & managing client expectations
3. Take the opportunity to become ATA certified
2. Perfect your translation/interpretation skills by attending ATA conferences, seminars & webinars
1. Make more money!

+1 Come eat with the ATA Chinese Language Division folks at the next ATA Annual Conference!

By Evelyn Yang Garland
English to Chinese Translator

Notes from the 2010 ATA Conference

Distinguished Speaker Wen Huang: A Revisionist’s Approach to Literary Translation

At ATA's Denver Conference, the CLD was fortunate to welcome Distinguished Speaker Wen Huang to present “A Revisionist’s Approach to Literary Translation”.  With an extensive list of acclaimed translations under his belt, Mr. Huang is something of a rising star in the world of literary translation.  Mr. Huang’s presentation drew on his experiences to illustrate a discussion of the role of the translator, asking if our duty ends with providing faithful word-by-word renderings of a text or if, rather, our role extends to serving as cultural conduits shaping a text to be more easily digested by a foreign audience.  Mr. Huang spoke of confronting differences in Chinese and English narrative styles in translating Hu Jintao’s autobiography.  He touched upon the tricky process of deciding when and how to explain opaque cultural references without breaking the literary flow.  Comparing Chinese literature to watercolor paintings and English literature to photography, he explored the double standards a translator faces in differing factual accuracy norms.  Mr. Huang’s presentation was engaging and nuanced.  His ability to tease out difficult aspects of translation was evidenced by the lively discussion following the presentation.  The CLD was fortunate to have him as our Distinguished Speaker and we hereby extend our thanks.

By Katie Spillane
Chinese to English Translator

A Valuable Conference Experience

I thought attending a Conference was just like going to a trade show.  As it turned out, the 51st ATA Annual Conference was anything but a trade show.  Even though this was my first conference, I would strongly encourage all members to attend.

First, networking started the moment I decided to attend the Conference.  The Roommate Referral Blog brought me in instant contact with several linguists from the Chinese, French, and Korean Language Divisions.  The moment I got on the Big Sky Shuttle to the Hyatt Hotel at Denver International Airport, I was already chatting away with a Russian-English translator and two Spanish-English interpreters sitting behind us.

At the Conference, I made valuable business contacts and met many talented language professionals who offered practical tips and trade secrets.  My networking did not stop when the Conference ended on Saturday night. Early Sunday morning my Big Sky Shuttle companions to the airport happened to be two ATA attendees - one was a German girl and the other was from Mexico. I do not know what the driver made of it when he heard “Déjà vu,” “Trados,” and “how I met my husband.”  As it turned out the two lovely ladies were the roommates of my new friend Cathy from the Roommate Referral Blog.  What a small world!  What a global event!

The Conference caused my mailbox to fill up.  As I answer the emails and follow up on inquires, I realize that the end of the 51st Annual ATA Conference is just a new beginning for unpredictable career ventures and professional growth.

By Huiping Judice
English to Chinese translator

My Incentives to Attend ATA Annual Conferences

The reason I decided to attend my first ATA Annual Conference, was because of its location in Denver, where I had stayed for 2 weeks in 2008 on a business trip and I was impressed by the mile-high atmosphere.

The two preconference seminars that I attended on October 27th, both of which were excellent, were given by Judy Jenner and Corinne McKay. I walked away happy and with a lot of practical tips. Once the conference started, however, the remaining days went by a little blurrily, mainly because of my lack of experience in efficiently handling seminars, a Job Marketplace, and software demonstrations.

A huge bonus of my conference experience was meeting a lot of interesting people, both at the seminars and at the dinner tables, especially my Chinese colleague Shiaoling, whose acquaintance I made on the very first day.  We exchanged anecdotes about our lives while walking the 1.7-mile daily commute to and from the conference (including hopping on and off the free mall shuttle bus).

I am now certain that in the future, the location will no longer be the incentive for me to attend an ATA conference, instead, the ATA conference itself will be the incentive.
By Justine Yen
English to Chinese translator