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Which additional skills to pair with Chinese in 2020?


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Milkybar_Kid

Hi Everyone,

 

It's long been know that language skills on their own are not enough to have a successful career, but in 2020 what are the best additional skills to go alongside Chinese language proficiency?

 

I have been doing a job for the past few years that has no need for my Chinese language skills. This is also a job/industry that I hate with a passion; however, life, kids and money have prevented me from doing anything to get out of the situation that I find myself in. Like many people here in the UK, I have now been furloughed and am using this time to reflect on what I want out of life. I have always had an interest in translation and interpreting (and posted on here before about Master's courses in T&I) but never taken it any further. The problems I see with this field are: the march of technology will probably lead to these jobs being unnecessary in just a few short years, everyone in China/Taiwan is learning English nowadays anyway, and this field is mostly centered around self-employment (which isn't great when you have two kids to support). 

 

So what else is there? I was thinking about something to do with cyber security and hacking prevention. Something like this (part-time and in the city where I will be for the next few years at least), however I would probably need to do some sort of conversation course first as I don't have a background in anything but languages.

 

Is anyone else on here pondering over similar thoughts as we sit here furlonged and under lockdown?

 

 

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vellocet

"We" sit here?  Lockdown was back in February.  I don't know why you'd need Chinese for a computer security job.  That description was certainly buzzword-laden.  I think the best thing to do in computer security is start a company that offers it, find out the detailed requirements that companies have to fulfill their statutory requirements, and offer security audits and reports that match those requirements.  Actual security comes last.  You can hire offshore for that anyway.

 

The hospitality industry would seem to be the best place to use Chinese skills.  China isn't going broke any time soon, and there's a lot of demand for hotel staff, tour guides, and such.  Problem is, typically Chinese people would turn to your country's Chinese population, they wouldn't trust foreigners.  Still, there is room there if you can get a reputation and get recommendations.  

 

The other would be helping Chinese students find places in UK universities.  This is one where they might prefer you over a Chinese person.  You can help them find an appropriate university, fill out application forms for them, write essays for them, and otherwise ensure that they get admitted.  Demand for education will never go down in China, it's what they value above all else.  Chinese will come in handy talking to the parents.  Once you get a track record of getting the job done the parents will love to recommend you to all their friends.  

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7 hours ago, Milkybar_Kid said:

the march of technology will probably lead to these jobs being unnecessary in just a few short years

People have been saying that for ten or twenty long years.

 

Your other concerns are valid though. It's not easy to make a living in interpreting and translation, although it certainly is possible.

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roddy

What do you do currently, and if you weren't thinking about Chinese, what would you want to do? And is Chinese a passion, where you want to use it regardless, or more of a tool you happen to have that you want to make use of. 

 

Also - I'm assuming, given wife and kids, that you're not planning to move to China. 

 

Try doing job searches on UK sites for Chinese / Mandarin. There's not a huge amount of stuff on there - 67 jobs on Monster.co.uk for 'Chinese' currently - but enough to get an idea of some possibilities. Tech, finance and hospitality seem to be themes. Ideally though, you want to pick an interest or talent, rather than something that happens to pair well with Chinese at the moment.

 

Do you have other languages? Concerns about the sustainability of translation have a certain amount of validity, but there will still be jobs there. Perhaps fewer, and more focused on editing / monitoring computer translations. If you need a stable income though...

 

 

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Milkybar_Kid
Quote

Something like that probably won't be nearly as useful as working through something like this.

 

Quote

 ...that could be worth billions comma billions of dollars.

 

...that could be worth billions and billions of dollars, surely?

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Milkybar_Kid
3 hours ago, roddy said:

What do you do currently, and if you weren't thinking about Chinese, what would you want to do? And is Chinese a passion, where you want to use it regardless, or more of a tool you happen to have that you want to make use of. 

 

Also - I'm assuming, given wife and kids, that you're not planning to move to China. 

 

Try doing job searches on UK sites for Chinese / Mandarin. There's not a huge amount of stuff on there - 67 jobs on Monster.co.uk for 'Chinese' currently - but enough to get an idea of some possibilities. Tech, finance and hospitality seem to be themes. Ideally though, you want to pick an interest or talent, rather than something that happens to pair well with Chinese at the moment.

 

Do you have other languages? Concerns about the sustainability of translation have a certain amount of validity, but there will still be jobs there. Perhaps fewer, and more focused on editing / monitoring computer translations. If you need a stable income though...

 

Thanks for replying. To answer your questions in numerical order:

 

1. I'm currently sloggin' it out teaching EFL here in the UK. I had been doing it for so long overseas that it was the easiest thing to get into when I moved back here with my family last year. Reflecting back on it now, I think I should have put more effort into finding other things when I first moved back last year instead of jumping at the first option I was offered.

 

2. I would say that Chinese is pretty much the only tool I've got in my box that sets me apart from everyone else. Other members of my family have all got a trade or work in the NHS as nurses so have already specialised. 

 

3. I've done 10 years in Taiwan (which was great), but now I have kids of school age the UK is definitely the better option for us ATM.

 

4. I've got a couple of saved search criteria for 'Mandarin' and 'Chinese' on Indeed which probably brings up the same results. I'm a bit of an introvert so do like being my myself. I've also been described as a perfectionist (hence, my thoughts of going into T&I).

 

5. No other languages. Chinese is enough for me. I don't really like the idea of post editing MT either.

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Milkybar_Kid
16 hours ago, vellocet said:

The other would be helping Chinese students find places in UK universities.  This is one where they might prefer you over a Chinese person.  You can help them find an appropriate university, fill out application forms for them, write essays for them, and otherwise ensure that they get admitted.  Demand for education will never go down in China, it's what they value above all else.  Chinese will come in handy talking to the parents.  Once you get a track record of getting the job done the parents will love to recommend you to all their friends.

 

There are often jobs that pop up at these 'education agencies' which require Mandarin language skills. Is this what you are referring to? The job description is pretty much summarised by what you wrote above. Does anyone have any experience of doing this kind of role?

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roddy

Honestly, what that says to me is: PGCE, QTS, get another language under your belt (look at Dundee's distance PGCerts, designed for language teachers wanted to add another) and get a cushy private sector teaching job that builds on your experience. I may be delusional. 

 

There are also non-teaching jobs in universities that would make use of the education / China combo. Stuff like this, but I'd imagine any university student services / student recruitment job will look favourably on the Chinese.

 

Failing that, I think it'd have to be some tech or finance route, but those are numerous and I wouldn't know where to start. And I'm perhaps being influenced by the jobs I see advertised in Edinburgh, which seems to be made of tech and finance work.

 

 

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imron
1 hour ago, Milkybar_Kid said:

that could be worth billions and billions of dollars, surely?

Or maybe that’s part of it?

 

If you’re interested in tech and security, learning how to beat microcorruption will teach you the practical skills for a large part of what you need to know. 

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JenniferW

What's your educational background - do you have other fields where you have some sort of base to build on? I taught English in Chinese universities for 6 years and am sometimes contacted by former students for help with their translation work, and they always need help with specialist, technical English, at a level where I'm actually no help! For example, for articles for specialist journal publication, for papers being presented in conferences. Can you look at translation work as one part of a package? The only translators I've known who only do that have been people with a specialist field.

 

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