The power of language during COVID-19
Chen Xu has been working as a Chinese translator for 15 years. Born in Shanghai, China, Chen moved to Melbourne in 1998.
With a background and education in engineering, Chen specialises in utility and engineering translation. Previously working in the engineering field, Chen was drawn to language services as it provides a lot of flexibility and variety.
“I love learning about new fields, and am interested in learning more about the legal and government sectors.”
Since the global pandemic, Chen’s been able to work on some key Government initiatives.
After visiting his parents in Shanghai earlier this year, Chen got stuck in a partial lockdown. He returned to Melbourne just before the Government announced travel restrictions. At the time, there wasn’t much information in the community about COVID-19 and Chen wanted to help out as much as he could.
He contacted LanguageLoop’s Translations Team to assist in COVID-19 translations.
“I hoped that my experience would help deliver accurate information to the community,” Chen said.
“I was taken on board to work on jobs for the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), mostly translating their website updates on travel restrictions and visa arrangements. Due to the urgency, these jobs required a very quick turnaround.”
With more and more content being produced and made available online, technology is becoming increasingly important to generate quality translations efficiently. Chen believes technology has both positive and negative impacts on the translation industry.
“Translation Memory (TM) tools significantly improve the efficiency and quality of translation. The recent COVID-19 related work for DHA is a good example of being able to quickly generate large volumes of quality translation,” Chen said.
“However some clients are using machine translation which is not suitable for all types of content so in my work with some other clients, I see more awkward machine translated content being sent for editing. LanguageLoop does not use machine translation for any of its translation work.”
Another big challenge Chen believes interpreters and translators face in today’s climate, is maintaining the language.
“Language evolves quickly these days, new words and terms are coming up quicker than ever, especially online. I read extensively from a variety of sources, both local and overseas, to update my knowledge of new words and terms,” Chen said.
“I also travel to China every year to immerse myself in the language environment.”
Reflecting over his past work, Chen shared what he loved most about his job.
“I love seeing my work out there, knowing that I have contributed to making correct information available and promoting better cross-cultural understanding.”