The country's top translators yesterday urged the government to strengthen supervision of the "disorderly market of the translation industry".
At a forum in Beijing to mark the 35th anniversary of the founding of the China Translation and Publishing Corporation (CTPC), translators voiced concerns about the poor quality of translations for communications with the outside world and the "vicious competition".
Liu Heping, professor of the Beijing Language and Culture University and a CTPC advisor, said many small firms do not have qualified staff but offer low prices to attract clients.
"The vicious competition has degraded the quality of translation," she said.
The CTPC's deputy general manager Jia Yanli said the problem was the low standards for entering the industry.
"Other industries have their standards for qualification, but the threshold for newcomers to the translation industry is too low," she said.
"There seems to be no criteria for them to register with industrial and commercial administrative authorities."
Huang Youyi, deputy director-general of the China International Publishing Group, agreed, saying "there definitely needs to be some regulations".
But he seemed optimistic. He said the National Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters authorized by the State labor and personnel authorities had been "guiding the market" by granting accreditation to translators who passed the test.
"When the test is better known, clients will go to companies who have qualified translators," Huang, who is also vice-president of Federation of International Translators, said.
Tang Wensheng, executive vice-chairwoman of the Translators' Association of China, urged the State to "attach more importance to translation".
The former interpreter for Chairman Mao Zedong said the industry should enjoy greater publicity so more people are aware of its importance.
Source: China Daily