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Simultaneous translators in demand
( 2003-11-07 09:54) (Shanghai Star)

"TEN thousand yuan for one hour? No way!" exclaimed Jiang Hailin, general manager of Shanghai SISU (Shanghai International Studies University) Translation Service Co. He was expressing his disapproval at a rumour going around about how much a simultaneous translator was being paid in Shanghai.

He said the highest payment the company had ever received was 12,000 yuan (US$1,450) per day for simultaneous translation services, with the average payment being between 3,000 (US$362) and 5,000 yuan (US$604) per day. However, one day's work usually involves three hours so a simultaneous translator's average pay is between 1,000 and 1,700 yuan per hour.

"Is money that easy to earn? The media are exaggerating too much," Jiang said reproachfully. "Are there always (international) meetings being held?"

But there will be a really big one in seven years time. Though the World Expo 2010 is still years away, speculation on the hottest jobs during the event have been focusing on simultaneous translation. However, qualified translators are a rare species. Jiang confirmed that there were "fewer than 10" in Shanghai, and he has doubts about who is qualified to accredit translators.

Hoping to add to the numbers in the profession, SISU this year established the Advanced Translation College to serve as a base for training simultaneous translators in China. They now have eight registered students who are taking theory courses but who have not yet entered the practical stage.

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