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China sees shortage of translators
2007-04-06 03:42:52 Xinhua English

BEIJING, April 7 -- China does not have enough qualified interpreters to translate from Chinese into foreign languages, a top official said on Friday.

The lack of professionals able to produce high-quality translations of Chinese into foreign languages has become one of the biggest constraints on China's exposure to the rest of the world, said Cai Wu, minister of the Information Office of the State Council, at a two-day translation forum that began on Friday.

The forum, "A Bridge to the World", was the first held on the Chinese mainland on translation from Chinese into foreign languages. It was co-hosted by the China International Publishing Group and the Translators Association of China.

Aside from the shortage of professional translators, the forum also highlighted problems in the industry such as its rapid development and price wars.

Globally, translation is a big business. "My conservative estimate places it (the industry) in the range of 13 billion U.S. dollarsto 14 billion U.S. dollars," said Peter W. Krawutschke, president of the International Federation of Translators.

China accounted for as much as 10 percent of the global translation market, according to Lin Wusun, senior translator at the China International Publishing Group and managing vice-president of the Translators Association of China.

And large numbers of translators are catering to the market. China has 60,000 certified translators, while a conservative estimate places the number of professional translators at about 500,000, said Lin.

Translation companies are also doing a roaring trade. There are 3,000 registered translation companies in the country, and that number would reach more than 10,000 if consulting and information service firms were taken into account, he said.

(Source: China Daily)

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