PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 June, 2007, 12:00am

Name: Jenny Li Ling-fung

Age: 21

Course: Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Translation

School: Lingnan University

Year of Study: Third year

Duration of programme: Three years

Young Post: What courses have you studied?

Li: I studied translation and interpretation strategies. Linguistics including morphology and phonology with syntax are also covered. We are taught to use different skills to do different kinds of translations, such as film subtitles, and business and legal translation.

YP: Which courses interest you the most?

L: I like 'Popular Culture Translation' the most. We were taught to translate film titles, subtitles, lyrics and advertisements. Once, our professor played a comedy starring Stephen Chow in class and we had to translate the colloquial dialogue on the spot.

I also like the courses on interpretation a lot. We have plenty of opportunities to do consecutive and simultaneous interpretations. I found simultaneous interpretation the most challenging as you have to juggle many tasks at the same time. While you listen attentively to a speech, you have to jot down notes, process the information and do the translation, all at the same time.

YP: How do you hone your interpretation skills?

L: I read a lot of books, magazines and newspapers to familiarise myself with current affairs and knowledge of different fields. We have no textbooks. The world is our source of knowledge.

I also observe how interpreters do their job. For example, I watched the live debate between Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and his challenger Alan Leong Kah-kit in March and listened to how interpreters translated their speeches.

I'm planning to attend hearings in district courts to see how court interpreters go about their work.

YP: How is the course assessed?

L: We have to take exams including impromptu translation tasks. We also have to do translation projects. Last year, we were asked to make a bilingual magazine. I was responsible for writing 12 pages with Chinese and English texts. We chose Hong Kong entertainment to be the topic and I wrote about how locals can chill out on trams. I came up with a day's itinerary based on the different routes of trams.

For my final year project, I'm translating 7,000 words from a book by a famous Taiwanese prose writer.

I have to see my professor every week and present the translated passages to him. He helps me polish the translation and gives me advice on how to improve my translation skills.

YP: Translation students have to be familiar with different cultures. Do you often go overseas?

F: Nearly half of the students in my department have the chance to go on overseas exchange programmes. Last year, I went on a six-month exchange programme at the Trinity University in Texas. I learned a lot about American culture and colloquial expressions which will help my future work.


Applicants should be articulate and have a keen interest in languages. They have to attain a Grade E or above in two AL subjects, or a Grade E or above in one AL subject and two AS subjects. They also have to obtain a Grade D or above in Use of English.

Career prospects

Graduates can become translators in various fields, including public service, commercial organisations and legal firms. Well-versed in both English and Chinese, they can also work as reporters and editors in newspapers, magazines and electronic publications. They are also in huge demand in the field of public relations to handle corporate communication and publicity literature. For those who are interested in the field of interpretation, they can work in conferences, courts and business.