New Start: New Career of a Translator


My career as a certified translator is quite new as I only achieved my credential in July 2018.  My major at University was Chinese Language and Culture, but my interest in translating can be traced back 20 years to 1999.

I was keen to study Chinese at primary school. Several of my essays were recommended to publications targeting teenage reader groups and they were published and distributed through all the major cities in China.  I have always appreciated this gift, cherish opportunities and try hard to keep writing in my leisure time.

I migrated to Adelaide in 2006 as an Editor and luckily my first job was Chief Editor for a Chinese newspaper. During this time, I met a lot of skilled migrants and international students. They shared their stories and my interview column became very popular within the Chinese community.  I made new friends and became more deeply involved with the Chinese community.

I found many new migrants need a good translator’s help. Migrants need to be sure that information written in English is expressed accurately so they can understand how to make life in Australia easier.

I didn’t realise this earlier, as I’m the one who has limited skills in English, but there is a large number of Chinese migrants who completely rely on a translator to help them bridge the language gap.

In 2017, I decided to enrol in a NAATI certified course for professional translators. My initial purpose was just to improve my language skills, so I could do better in translation.

During the course I met good teachers who were working in the industry. Some of them had over 10+ years of experience. They shared their stories and taught essential skills. It was a lovely journey of study and when I passed the test and achieved my credential, I felt really proud. One of my teachers once said to me; “The translation work might be tough sometimes, but when you complete every single task and the client is satisfied with all your efforts, you’ll be so proud of yourself!” That inspired me to start my career as a Translator, and now it is my motto.

One of my tasks was to translate an English letter into Chinese during an election. My client wanted to express her political ideas to the Chinese community nicely and accurately.

When, by chance, I read a post from one of my friends on Facebook, I saw that he posted the Chinese letter and expressed his appreciation for respecting multiculturalism. I felt radiant about my work on the letter. It was a lovely moment enjoying the acknowledgement and good payback, rather than earning a lot of money.


This is my story so far. I’m loving it and it is really a meaningful job that you can easily fall in love with.



Author Biography: Ying Dong has been living in Adelaide for 13 years. Before she started her translator career, she helped get Australian products into the Chinese market.  This involved translating materials from English to Chinese.  Being a professional translator makes Dong understand the culture and language of both English and Chinese, making the job itself become more and more interesting.

Photo of the author, Ying Dong

Author: Ying Dong 

Published: 27/03/2019