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angeia

To be or not to be a Chinese Translator

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brucehuang

@ simplet

 

I'm glad there are so many of us out there. I am doing well over here. The program itself is alright, althought I've only just began myself, but I do see opportunities in the future. I'm glad to hear that you will be considering SISU for your studies. To asnwer your questions,

1. the scholarship is EXTREMLY easy to get because there just ain't that many "foreigners" doing interpreation at that level. I believe it is given out by score measured on your entrance exam.
2. to apply, you have a few options to do so, you could do it from the CSC I believe, but I applied driectly to the school and applied the CSC scholarship at the same time through SISU.

3. I believe their interprtation programs are only aiming at Chinese and something else pair, I haven't heard of a English - French or English - Russian class yet.

 

4. As far as your English, you will be fine unless your accent becomes an distraction towards working conditions. Having an HSK level 6 dosen't exactly mean you will do fine compared with your classmates. That test might look good for othe majors, but as far as this one, the HSK is only a piece of paper. The school is kinda looking for people who, with no offense, could perform a understandable working level of FROM and TO Chinese. I have a Romanian classmate who droped out of the program like 2 month into the course. At this level, you WANT at least one of your language to be at professional A or B level or else you'll probably just sit around and waste your time. So in this case, You might want to see if you could do French and Chinese, althought I am not sure exactly since I am in the English pair. This is a Chinese style school, they kinda selecte the few best ones to be trained at a higher level.
5. Having worked as a confrence interpreter is actually towards your advantage and it'll make you look like a rockstar in class. Again if you want to participate in the CI courses here, you WANT to work with your BEST language. In your case, I believe that would be French?

6. Please note, if you apply to the CI program, then you are not subject to scholarship since the CSC scholarship aims at degree programs. If you apply to MTI with a focus in Confrence Interpretation then you have a MUCH MUCH higher chance of receiving scholarship. Althought that would also mean you will have to compete against all the MTI students in order to be put into the CI classes. Also, please note, if you do make it into the CI courses, you are subject to an additional 10,000 RMB tuition fee at your cost because again, the scholarship dose not cover non-degree courses.

7. you almost never have to write Chinese character again after your entrance exam if you are only intending to do interpretation. But I would advise you to keep on praticing your writting personally. It never hurts to learn more strokes. Please note, your entrance exam will be given at a very suprising time and you would NOT want to turn in late. I received an email right before I went to be and then I just started making coffee instead of going to bed, and believe me, it is an hard exam. And you are REQUIRED to write your Chinese answers by hand, so my advise is to type it up and then copy it, that would save yourself a lot of time.

8. your Chinese pronunciation won't be judged mostly, but again, if it becomes a barrier of working conditions, then you'll just be constantly corrected on your pronunciation instead of your accuracy of interpretation. you DON'T want to waste your professional judgements from your teachers and classmates on your pronunciation.

 

Good luck and hope to see you here!

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brucehuang

Oh, and I forgot to tell you. The CI classes are on a strick "pack up and leave" type of selection process. That means, if you only enroll in the CI classes, and you aren't making the "desired" proformances, you just pack up and leave. As versus the MTI classes, you are in a Degree program. Althought that Master degree is almost meaningless though.

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simplet

wow that was a fast reply! Thanks for the answers man!

 

I get what you're saying about my languages, I'm obviously going to be focused on french-chinese. If I do make it to the CI classes though, french chinese without english is kind of a useless combination, even with a chinese B. I realize I'm probably going to have to do another master in France after this to work more on my engish and add another language like Russian (if my level is good enough and I already have a master, I could get into the second year directly  in a good school like ESIT for example), but I'd rather start working on my english right away, even if it means going to a few english-chinese classes. Russian I'd only do it if I can handle the rest of the workload or just for shits and giggles. By the way according to the AIIC website they do have english-russian, not french-english though, but maybe you know best since you're actually there.

 

How about the CI classes, do you enroll by yourself and then they kick you out if you're not up to it or do they select you to enter the program after a period? Did you get in?

 

I might have to think about BeiWai again if there is really no way to train my english while I'm there, they have a french-english chinese program there. In any case do you think maybe you could shop around a little bit for me, for a chinese-french student that might want to train with me over skype? I know they're going to have a year on me but that might still be interesting for them, not sure they're going to find too many french As around them.

 

Hope you're having a good time there at least!

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brucehuang

Actually, don't quote me on that, as I am not all that sure myself. I will ask around on what other pairs are aviliable and get back to you on that. You are right though, as an interpreter, the more languages you are able to effectively command, the more valueable you are to the market. But don't worship AIIC like it's the Bible. After all, it's just a glorified association, trust me on that.

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simplet

Glorified association maybe, but seems to me like you live and die by your connexions in this kind of business.

 

Speaking of connections, I'll PM you my address if you want to contact me later ;p, or we can also continue our discussion here to please roddy!

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roddy

Roddy and future generations of students... do you want one specific SISU translation topic, to make it easier for others to find?

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angeia

Hey everyone I had my eye on this thread for a while and I'm happy to see it's not quite dead yet.

 

I am here to prevent people from wasting years at SISU.  I will live on in this post.

 

1.  Scholarship is easy to get.  I applied directly through the embassy as well, but that was mostly due to time constraints.  If you apply directly through the university I heard it's even easier to get the scholarship.  Plus you can shorten your paperwork load by just applying through one organization than going through two.

 

Does any of you knows anything about their french program? I'm french and I'll be living in Russia this year doing an internship for the french embassy, do you know if I'd be able to follow some of the english and russian classes? I consider my english pretty good, and I've already worked as a conference interpreter for international institutions to and from english when I was working in Africa. Will they welcome me like the messiah or are they only interested in native english speakers? 

 

2.  SISU has a french-chinese and russian-chinese program (they only offer language pairs that are offered at the UN).  To let you know how wonderful SISU is, the French program didn't even start until the semester was halfway over last year, because the professor from France had "some problems."  I also knew a girl from Belgium last year that got the scholarship and went to SISU--and quit a year later like myself.  The French program was so bad.  It was taught entirely by Ph.D students, and when they started the second year, the Ph.D students made the 2nd year students teach the 1st year students (yes, you heard me correctly).  So basically, they weren't learning anything and just working for the school.  The Belgium girl couldn't put up with it anymore and, like me, left the school after a year.

 

I heard the Russian-Chinese one is ok, the classes are smaller so it's more intimate.  Still hear the quality of the program is meh, however.

 

3.  If you can't speak Chinese fluently, then just don't even try for this program.  Sorry to sound blunt, but that's the truth.  On day 1 they're going to ask you to interpret speeches such as Obama's State of the Union address without preparation.  And all your Chinese classmates are going to do it flawlessly.  I think if you can speak Chinese fluently, then you can work hard to just try and keep up with the Chinese classmates.

 

Like Bruce said up there, if you get into the CI (conferece interpreting) program then that is what matters.  But it's really hard to get into, last year only one person out of FIFTY got in. 

 

All of my Chinese classmates (and foreign ones) tell me they regret going to SISU.  All of them.  Since their tuition doesn't cover the entire costs of funding the masters in interpreting program, the REAL professors actually told the students that they will not be teaching them simultaneous interpreting (even though that was included in the program and was promised to them).  So for 1.5 years, all of my classamtes have been taught by ph.D students--and trust me, they're not good.  The CI program is crazy expensive, so all of the professors teach CI while the ph.D students teach MTI. 

 

In addition to the terrible level of education, the staff are extremely unhelpful and they will even go out of your way to make the experience even more miserable.

 

I know the pollution is terrible in Beijing, but just go to Beijing Foreign Language School for interpreting (北京外国语大学).  I had a friend that went there for French-Chinese and said the program was top notch.

 

I'm going to report SISU to the AIIC, because I think it's ridiculous that there's already been two students with FULL RIDE SCHOLARSHIPS to quit the school. 

 

Anyway.  Sorry to be a downer.  I still have two friends that are in their 2nd year of this program.  If you'd like to tlak to them let me know.

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imron
If you'd like to tlak to them let me know.

Perhaps you could encourage them to come and share their experiences? :mrgreen:

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angeia

Sure, I'll pass this thread onto them! 

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simplet
SISU has a french-chinese and russian-chinese program (they only offer language pairs that are offered at the UN).  To let you know how wonderful SISU is, the French program didn't even start until the semester was halfway over last year, because the professor from France had "some problems."  I also knew a girl from Belgium last year that got the scholarship and went to SISU--and quit a year later like myself.  The French program was so bad.  It was taught entirely by Ph.D students, and when they started the second year, the Ph.D students made the 2nd year students teach the 1st year students (yes, you heard me correctly).  So basically, they weren't learning anything and just working for the school.  The Belgium girl couldn't put up with it anymore and, like me, left the school after a year.

 

Damn. That is... upsetting. I was all ready to put up with the craziness but that's a bit much, what did the french guys do for 6 months?

 

 

 

Like Bruce said up there, if you get into the CI (conferece interpreting) program then that is what matters.  But it's really hard to get into, last year only one person out of FIFTY got in. 

 

So how do you get there? Do they have a selection at the end of the first year? If you get there is the program a lot better or still kind of shitty overall?

 

 

 

I know the pollution is terrible in Beijing, but just go to Beijing Foreign Language School for interpreting (北京外国语大学).  I had a friend that went there for French-Chinese and said the program was top notch.

Anyway.  Sorry to be a downer.  I still have two friends that are in their 2nd year of this program.  If you'd like to tlak to them let me know.

 

I'm interested in talking to anyone that will let me talk to them, Beijing, Shanghai whatever. This looks like a jungle and I don't think I can get enough preparation. Maybe you could get some people to talk here like imron said. I've actually been considering going to guangwai, it looks like they're putting a lot of effort in their MTI master (http://english.gdufs.edu.cn/Article_Show.asp?ArticleID=2827), and they have some nice research teams apparently, I might be interested in that too. The chinese themselves seem to think it's still some way behind Beijing and Shanghai in prestige though...

 

Thanks a lot for your help, this is getting really complicated. Like Bruce if you know any chinese that'd like to train their french with someone let me know!

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angeia

Hi Simplet!

 

 

Damn. That is... upsetting. I was all ready to put up with the craziness but that's a bit much, what did the french guys do for 6 months?

 

I guess they didn't have any classes for 6 months while the teacher was away.  The Belgium girl told me she was quite bored.  I heard the Russian-Chinese one is actually ok, but I don't think it was mind blowingly good.

 

 

So how do you get there? Do they have a selection at the end of the first year? If you get there is the program a lot better or still kind of shitty overall?

 

 

After every semester they give you an exam.  They evaluate whether you can join CI or not based on the 2nd exam testing.  It's really no different from the first exam.

They don't give you a number, either.  I guess last year 5-6 students got into CI, whereas this year only 1 got in (but my classamtes were all really good, so I don't know how that happened...). 

 

CI is, from what I hear, 100x better than the MTI program.  MTI and CI are completely different courses.  CI is mostly compromised of people that are already working of interpreters and just want to up their skills to simultaneous.  CI is also 3x more than MTI in cost, so the real professors (the AIIC certified ones) actually teach this class.  So if you can get in--awesome!  (BTW, if you get in, even with a CSC scholarship you still have to pay 20,000 rmb extra to cover the gap in cost.  Ouch!).

 

 

 

I'm interested in talking to anyone that will let me talk to them, Beijing, Shanghai whatever. This looks like a jungle and I don't think I can get enough preparation. Maybe you could get some people to talk here like imron said. I've actually been considering going to guangwai, it looks like they're putting a lot of effort in their MTI master (http://english.gdufs...?ArticleID=2827), and they have some nice research teams apparently, I might be interested in that too. The chinese themselves seem to think it's still some way behind Beijing and Shanghai in prestige though...

 

I don't know anyone at BLCU, just heard through the grapevine.  I think the best course of action would be to e-mail or call the school and see how they respondto you.  If they answer your questions, can give you a curriculum and talk in-depth about how their program works then I think it's worth a shot.  SISU wouldn't be able to do any of those things.

 

A prestigious degree is nice--but the possibility of graduating with a degree from SISU and not being able to simultaneously interpret is extremely high.  If you graduate and you're not confident in interpreting, then really, the degree has no merit no matter where its from, correct?  The most important part is not where you got the degree, but what you can ACTUALLY do!

 

Guangdong might be nice, but sinc ethey all speak Guangdong-hua there (very heavily) it might hinder your Mandarin, actually.  For the most part people in Shanghai speak putonghua, but I still hear Shanghai-hua more than I'd like and it's really influenced my Mandarin.  Beijing (or anywhere up north) would be better because you can actually hear and speak Mandarin everyday without the influence of other dialects.

 

Sure!  I'll ask my classamtes about the French thing ;)

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simplet
Hi Simplet!

 

Hello :)

 

I think you might be right. I intend to do another year in France at the end anyway and the schools have plenty of prestige to go around here. Not to mention they won't be impressed by a piece of paper so I need to actually be able to perform. 2.5 years for the master is also a bit silly, that's an entire year wasted right there.

 

I really wasn't that keen to go to Beijing though, I've already lived a year in Tianjin and I think I've had my dose of 北方, especially the pollution. But if it's the best, it's the best, hopefully the scholarship isn't harder to get there. Do you know if they actually teach CI to MTI students there? I guess I should ask them myself.

 

Guangdong might be fun. I'm aware that they speak cantonese over there of course but the program will still be taught in mandarin, wouldn't hurt to pick up a little bit of cantonese along the way. It's still probably best to speak pu tong hua everywhere you go, and if their program is new their french classes might not be up to snuff yet...

 

edit : this might be relevant in case someone else is interested in doing french in ShangWai... Looks like a dead end.

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brucehuang

Hi, sorry I got a little busy today and forgot to respond.

Like Angeia said, most of first year MTI studets are taught by Ph.D students. However, Angeia is a little outdated
on that though. This year I think there has been a dramatic change in how they do things. I guess I am just lucky that I got to enroll with the class taught by professors, at least one of my 4 teachers are AIIC certified members that I know of. And I've asked around for you today, there are no other than Chinese and something else pair in the Graduate Insititute of Interpretation and Translation in SISU. Oh and I was a little off on the number too, the tuition cost of what you have to pay in differences if you do get into the CI classes are 100,000 RMB. But I heard 20,000 as well, so I have no idea which one to listen to. This there's been a change in class structure, the MTI students will be enrolled in at least ONE course in your second year. At least that is what I was told by the professors.

No offense, but I don't think Beiwai or BLCU is any better than what you would get there in SISU. It's Chinese school after all, I wouldn't expect anything fancy.

 

And I do agree with Angeia on the Mandarin part. I was trying to sound less offensive but yeah basically if you cannot speak and sound like a native Chinese person, you would probably be wasting your time here.

 

However, I do hold a different opinion about the school from Angeia. I just think that there are so much oppertunities here in the big enviroment as long as you work on your network. As you said, we live and breath by our connections right?

 

PS, if you apply driectly to CI program, you will be given a harder pre-selection exam. If you pass that one and can't keep up later in the course, you just pack up and leave. However, if you join the MTI courses, you will be given a comparitively easier exam and then be selected to join the CI couses at the second year competing against all the MTI students. The total cost of CI courses is 100,000 RMB, which is not covered by CSC scholarship, I don't know how much exactly you pay if you go the MTI route and then join the CI class. I guess somewhere between 20k and 100k.

PPS, trust me, you don't wanna go to Guangwai...

 

Best,

Bruce.

@ roddy

 

It'll be great if you do make a topic on it! Thanks!

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brucehuang

oh and PS, you will NOT get into BFSU (Beiwai) as a foreigner. At least not their Simultaneous Interpretation program. It has to do with politics. I also applied for Beiwai's Simultaneous Interpretation program at the same time when I applied for SISU. Beiwai didn't even give me an exam, wich is UNUSUAL for any Chinese university to reject an "international" student. I discovered later that Beiwai used to fall under the Ministery of Foreign Affairs and their mentality is to only train diplomats for the Chinese Government. So don't even bother to try, you'll just waste your 800RMB in application fee.

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simplet

I hear you bruce but did you click the link at the end of my last post? Apparently they've never even opened a class for french CI in ShangWai, they don't have the students! Probably not the teachers either. In BeiWai I will probably at least get some good classes, the name on the degree sounds good and if I study in France afterward I'll get all the AIIC teachers I could ever want.

 

I'm not that worried about my chinese level, my comprehension is up there and if I find some chinese people to train with I should be ok.

 

roddy : maybe you should make the thread about studying interpretation in China in general. I doubt you're going to get that many people for school-specific discussions.

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brucehuang

yeah, but trust me, you won't get into Beiwai...I'm sure about that.

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simplet

This all very upsetting...

 

edit : Do you think you could get me in contact with your friend that went to beiwai angeia? Looks like 北语 (BLCU) is also all right for a french MTI, but they don't have a MOU with the UN like the three big ones and it doesn't have the same prestige.

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陳德聰

"You won't get into ___" is terrible advice.

You need something to strive for, for one, and secondly, I don't trust brucehuang farther than I could throw him.

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brucehuang

@陳德聰

 
I hate to sound like an A-hole, but I believe you haven't read my privous post before that one. It's a political issue...not really my opinion, just some simple facts. My professor in my undergraduate studies told me this personally and I've also went experiencing it frist hand wasting my money kuz I wanted to "strive" for something. You've got to know something, when a professor who used to be in the administration of the same school that you're applying to tells you about their politicts, you want to believe them. At least that is one truth about Chinese schools.
 

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Lu

Has any of you considered Taiwan? My information is somewhat old, but Shida (NTNU) has (or used to have, at least) an interpreting program that I heard is both difficult and good. I didn't do that program myself, but in my experience the university at least is quite well-organised, horror stories such as angeia's would be unheard of.

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