Translator manager and in-house translator

Lu Zheng completed a Master of Professional Studies in Translation Studies and is now translation manager and in-house translator for Straker Translations.

Key facts

Career: Translator manager and in-house translator
Programme: Master of Professional Studies
Subject: Translation Studies

“My interest in translation started when I was studying international journalism for my bachelors degree in 2007. This involved both English and Chinese, so we were offered translation and interpreting courses for a year. During that time, I found interpreting and translation stimulating and fun.

“I love how translation is like solving a puzzle – firstly, get the information right; secondly, make it right in the target language. It might sound easy, but by finishing those two steps, you have only got a raw product. The really challenging part is polishing the raw product by finding the best way of expressing the information.

“During my undergraduate study I began to imagine that becoming an interpreter/translator could be one of my future career options.

“Not until I came to New Zealand did I really have the chance to pursue this interest further. In an immigrant country like New Zealand, translation and interpreting is in great need. For people whose first language is not English, things such as submitting immigration files and talking to their neighbours regarding the tree branches that went over the fence, be it big or small, can be frustrating without translation.

“I had the luck to work in two major local Chinese media outlets offering daily translated New Zealand news to a Chinese audience. The experience prompted me to think more seriously about being a professional translator.

“During my studies I learned that being a bilingual speaker doesn’t mean that you can be an interpreter/translator, even though I had already translated news for a few years. Translation is not as easy as it seems. It is not just about having the skills to provide accurate and natural translation, it is about cultures, and even the gender of the translator.

“As I began to form a new perspective towards translation, I found that my way of thinking in other aspects of life had also changed – with a more logical and systematic view – thinking less in absolute terms.

“I am now working as the Translator Manager and in-house translator at Straker Translations. My postgraduate study made me look at translation and its relevant matters with more confidence. Equipped with the knowledge and the way of thinking gained through my arts study, I know what I’m doing while being able to understand other translators’ common situations.

“Most importantly, I love what I do, and I do it the best I can.”