Today, China is Australia’s largest trading partner in terms of both imports and exports. Australia is China’s sixth largest trading partner; it is China’s fifth biggest supplier of imports and its tenth biggest customer for exports. Twenty-five per cent of Australia’s manufactured imports come from China; 13% of its exports are thermal coal to China, according to Australian parliamentary briefing.
It was our privilege to be part of the Australian team to check the translation of the The China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) coming into force on 20 December 2015. This is a historic agreement that is delivering enormous benefits to Australia, enhancing our competitive position in the Chinese market, boosting economic growth and creating jobs.
The Chinese provided the first draft of translation of the 17 chapters and the schedules. A team of 5 checkers were sourced around Australia working under a project manager in a tight time frame of a couple of weeks. The agreement text is in contract-like languages and our experience in legal and contract translation allowed us to grasp the meanings and key elements very quickly, and compare the source and the target text to ensure equivalence.
The schedule has on it tens of thousands of names of products including metal, porcelain, machinery and many other manufactured goods. Our efficient bilingual research skills built up over the years allowed us to confirm the translation equivalents of these names in Chinese and English very quickly. They were further confirmed by Google image searches.
It is our childhood dream coming true to be in a position to translate our love for culture and language and our curiosity about the world into bridges that connect China and Australia.
Looking forward, the Chinese market for more complex goods and services will expand in two ways. First, rising wages and consumer demand will increase demand for more sophisticated manufactured goods (for example, medical devices) and for services such as tourism. Second, as China moves production to more sophisticated goods and services, it will require high quality human resources, well-developed infrastructure, a well-developed financial sector, a good regulatory system, as well as health care and age care reforms. Australia has the expertise and experience in these areas that China can learn from.
We look forward to assisting with the hosting of more delegations from China. We will do all we can to ensure that these will become catalysts to open up people’s minds and change the ways of doing things, not just something that looks good on somebody’s C.V..