CTS Professionalisation Talk: Starting Your Career as an Interpreter

A CTS Professionalisation Talk on 'Starting Your Career as an Interpreter' by Athena, Ying Zhang.

We are happy to have Athena, Ying Zhang as the speaker, an active Chinese/English interpreter with a long list of interpreting experience in various conferences and events, and also an alumna who graduated from our MACITS programme in 2013.


My talk will focus on the growth of a self-employed interpreter. It starts upon the moment of graduation, when the ‘only’ asset a young interpreter has is his/her skills, but a strong sense responsibility will be formed with time and even become way more crucial than the bare skills. It is a moment when the interpreter realizes that a certain action will be triggered following his/her interpretation, and such action might even lead to a certain consequence. It is not likely for this feeling of responsibility to be present during the training session, and that’s why I’d like to focus on it.

Please find below some bullet points about my talk.

1. Self-introduction

2. My career as an interpreter—3 years in-house with Shanghai Disney and more than a year of being a freelancer

3. Some struggles I had when I just started as an in-house interpreter--responsibilities of the role of the interpreter and how important it is to understand/identify different shareholders and their vested interests.

4. Some debates and anecdotes in the market about the so-called machine-SI

5. The Career Extension for interpreters—sharing of a truly inspirational story of an interpreter I know

6. Tips on how to create ‘Wow’ moments among clients

7. Q and A

The Centre for Translation Studies (CTS) is organising a series of talks by professionals working in the Language Services Industry to complement its taught MA programmes. These sessions will introduce additional practical advice, including careers guidance.

The talks will be given by enterprising alumni and professional translation project managers, in-house and freelance translators, subtitlers, and interpreters, representatives of international organisations such as the EU, as well as representatives of professional organisations and companies operating in the Language Services Industry.

The talks are open to all CTS MA students, as well as UG language students and interested members of the Professional Associations which collaborate with the Centre for Translation Studies.