Local Linguists: Di Wu

This is part of a series of interviews with translators, interpreters, and other language specialists around Washington, DC. Read other posts in the series here, here, and here. If you’re a linguist in the national capital area and would like to join in the fun, contact me.

Di Wu is a Chinese linguist specializing in engineering, localization, and technical texts in Washington, DC. Find him on LinkedIn.

Question: How did you get started in translation?

I started teaching Chinese part time in 2004.  Then my previous company declared bankruptcy in 2005.  I knew it was just a matter of time until I lost my engineering day job, and I’d better start an alternate career just in case.  I started doing freelance translation in the summer of 2005, and the business did not pick up until a year later.

Q: Why do you keep going at it?

I love languages.  I enjoy translation a lot more than my old engineering job.  I did a year of full-time freelance translation in 2009-2010 until moving to DC area in late 2010 and started working as a full-time in-house translator.

Q: What advice do you have for a newbie?

If you build it they will come.  Be patient.

Q: What’s the wackiest story or two you have related to translation assignments?

I have two stories. One of my freelance clients has a tendency to assign me ultra-urgent jobs (few thousand words in less a few hours) while asking me to reply ASAP about my availability, but then always asks me not to start until I get a confirmation.

Also, once I did a medical interpretation job for a poorly managed agency.  They’d have up to four different people calling me four times a day to confirm an assignment I’ve already agreed to.  One time one of those calls happened when I was walking around in a big hospital trying to find the right room, so I was quite annoyed.

Many thanks to Di for sharing! I know I can certainly commiserate with those urgent-but-don’t-start-yet job assignments. Ha! How about you? Share your comments below!


3 thoughts on “Local Linguists: Di Wu

  1. Pingback: Local Linguists: Nadine Edwards | translation, untangled

  2. Pingback: Local Linguists: Mila Cobos | translation, untangled

  3. Pingback: Local Linguists: Spring 2013 summary | translation, untangled

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