About me and this web:
I set up this web to pacify my passion for three of my “idle” pursuits: literature, music, and (Chinese) chess.
My current job is translation and teaching. Besides being a freelance translator, I am also a writer and teacher. I teach English grammar and writing to my fellow Taiwanese and I have also authored and published a series of books on English grammar, composition, and conversation that have allowed me to enjoy a pretty loyal core readership in my country Taiwan.
Before I became a full time writer and publisher, I was a freelance translator; and before I became a freelance translator, I worked in this country’s then booming import and export industry. Since I worked mainly in the metalworking and electronics industries where the jobs often required me to write, often involving translation, industrial manuals and marketing material in both Chinese and English, I soon took to translation as a hobby. As I have always been a self-taught literary writer since my childhood – I seem to have inherited a lot of literary genes from my biological father and grandfather, particularly the later who was among the last and the greatest of a batch of anachronistic Tang-Sung style literati left by a 2000 year long tradition vanishing too soon in the early 20th century – it was only natural for me to turn to freelance translation and, later to full-time writing and publishing, when the country’s general trading companies went to bust in the late 1980’s.
Unfortunately, having been in a trade that is generally honest and with good ethics for too long, I proved too green and naïve for the jungle of my country’s publishing industry, where robbers and thieves abound. My wholesalers collaborated with my printing contractors and pirated thousands of my books, not only selling them for windfalls but also returning them to me as unsold to avoid paying me. (* I was too unlucky to have chosen such a trade in a country where all the book printing shops and book wholesalers cluster around just one suburban city and are very easy to collaborate in any conspiracy against a publisher operating from afar. I even caught them red-handed once – on a cold call to one of my wholesaler I saw in their warehouse two pallets of my new books to be shipped to God knows whom when I received not even a sheet of order. I was very unfortunate to be alone then and was unable to call the police. ) My boat was sunk and I was among the ruins. Although, I did later find evidences proving that my books have been pirate-printed, I have had difficulty winning my case, the judicial system here being the remnant of the notorious Chiang Kai-Shek regime and largely corrupt, inefficient and ineffective.
With the kind help of a young friend, I built the first one of my webs (www.yentzu.idv.tw ). And with the even kinder help of a few of my readers, who contacted me looking for more of my books, I started to sell those returned books to new readers and my old readers who have not yet bought all of my books. I also resumed my translation business again, in an effort to make a little new living and, to quote D. H. Lawrence, build up a new little habitat, and have a new little hope. Yes, it is rather hard work, for I still have to fight my case of little hope in the pretty corrupt and definitely inefficient local court of “justice”. But I've got to live, “no matter how many skies have fallen.”
As I have served both in general industries and publishing, my translation experiences seem to be quite varied. In my nearly 20 years translation career I have done translation jobs for both publishing and industrial concerns. For the former, I have translated poems, fictions, works of literary criticism, psychology textbooks, trade books on marketing and industrial management etc., most of which being from English to Chinese, but occasionally some from Chinese to English, particularly short passages from Chinese classics; for the later, I have translated operation manuals, product catalogs, marketing leaflets, patent applications etc., for Taiwanese manufacturers of metal working machinery, plastic injection moldings, LCD screen panels, cell phones, medical equipment, and other IT products, with most of the jobs being from Chinese to English, but occasionally some from English to Chinese, if the fees were “not too bad”. My customers have all been quite happy with my service, for I have always striven to give their works something more than just decent translation. That is, aside from grammatical and syntactical decency, I have always tried to give my translated text a literary touch. And thanks to the success of my Chinese web, I’ve been able to find quite a few competent associates who are very good at translating various industrial, scientific, and technological matters. My friend Dr. J. J. Yang is even the technological director of a patent attorney office in Taipei.
Of course, the trade of translation is a strange trade, for it is really not a trade, but “many” trades woven together and called one for the sake of convenience. No one can ever be well-learned enough as to be able to always produce single-handedly the result desired or demanded by his/her customers. This is particularly more so in today’s rapidly changing world. We translators must work together in order to give our customers the best possible quality service. I welcome any person interested in my service or interested in working with our team to contact me. I shall be more than pleased to work and make friends with people of different backgrounds and from around the world.
Like my biological grandfather and his kindred of the previous dynasty, I have also been a man with idle passions. I love literature and music, have been playing the classical guitar, the (Chinese) chess, and the chromatic harmonica ever since my high school years. I have been pretty hooked up to the later two that I have even designed and developed my own versions of them, in an effort to make the playing more fanciful and pleasurable. Of course, I’d very like to introduce them to friends and aficionados of the chess and harmonica circles around the world.