17 FAH alumni return to UM to share their study and career stories

31 Oct 2018

17 alumni returned to UM on October 20 2018 to share their stories on study and career with the younger generation of FAH students. These alumni graduate from different classes of years, and are currently working in different fields of expertise. There are four panel discussions, namely public service and community, translation/interpreting and language service, education and media and enterprise, where alumni share their personal stories and perspectives.

Panel 1: public service and community

Lei Seong / BA in Chinese Language and Literature / Customs Officer, Macao Customs Service

Language skills are very important to me since my job involves encountering people of different languages and places of origin. So sometimes I have to speak Mandarin and English, which I still think I’m not speaking well enough. I am also learning Portuguese because the language is quite important for my job. The ability to communicate is also a big component in professional life, thus it is necessary to take some courses in communication, social interaction and public service – these are some of the skills I think would benefit my career, that’s why I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in Public Administration.

Lei Ion Long / BA in Chinese Language and Literature, MA in Chinese Literature / Auxiliary Technician, The Pension Fund

Simply possessing language skills in English and Chinese is sometimes not enough to work in public units since a lot of obsolete documents and laws are written in Portuguese with incomprehensible Chinese translated version, therefore taking elective Portuguese language class during college would help a lot. It is also very important to develop critical thinking skills and I would encourage students to take work-flow optimization, public administration, human resources management courses at university.

Lei Hang Hong / MA in Chinese Literature / Administrator and Editorial Secretary, New Generation Magazine

I would say communication is quite important from my personal experience, especially when working together as a team – how we should express our ideas properly so that the other person receives the correct information and make proper response to avoid miscommunication and conflict. Reading Chinese literature also helps to shape my mind and help me to think in other people’s shoes.

Panel 2: translation/interpreting and language service

Rita Choi / BA in Portuguese Studies / Chinese-Portuguese translator, Supporting Office to the Permanent Secretariat to the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (Macao)

I believe a great number of local students majoring in Portuguese studies will be looking for a job in the public service after graduation, but actually it usually takes quite a while before one finally reaches that goal. There are a lot of Macanese with high proficiency in both Chinese and Portuguese, so the competition is intense. I would suggest students should work hard and take advanced courses after graduation.

Tomás Sin / BA in Portuguese Studies, student of Chinese and Portuguese Language Translation and Interpretation Learning Program of Public Administration and Civil Service Bureau

I find it equally important to learn Chinese and Portuguese well after I became a translator/interpreter in both languages. Though Chinese is our mother tongue, we still need to learn Chinese because even if you understand the Portuguese text, you wouldn’t be able to render it into Chinese properly if you fail to achieve a high proficiency in the target language. It would take conversancy in both Chinese and English to become a bridge of communication between the two languages.

Stacey Qiao / MA in Chinese-English Translation / Reporter, Ponto Final

I graduated from University of Macau (UM) Chinese-English Translation master programme and before I became a reporter, I was in higher education and taught translation. Now I work for a Portuguese newspaper where I write articles in English and need to sometimes engage in Chinese-English interpreting and translation. This explains the multiple possibilities of studying at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (FAH) because there is no clear boundary or limit to what you could do.

I passed English Level 2 Translator test in China Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters (CATTI) during my master’s study at UM, then I went to teach translation at Sun Yat-Sen University. After some time I passed my Level 1 Translator test and this year Level 1 Interpreter test. My experience of acquiring Translation and Interpretation Proficiency Qualification Certificate is to maintain a sufficient amount of practice and training every day.

Anita Chao / MA in Chinese-English Translation / Chinese-English translator, Macao Supreme Court

The majority part of my job is court interpreting, including interpreting between English and Cantonese/Mandarin. It is pretty intense during a court trial thus it requires a quick response. The challenge of doing court interpreting in Chinese-English is that most judges and lawyers understand English so they would not hesitate to correct you when they think you interpret their words inaccurately, plus the interpreter will have to sit in the middle of the court instead of a booth. It is pretty stressful, but you will be able to deal with the pressure after a period of time.

I participated in a few interpreting contests during my MA study and I’ve seen how contestants from all around the nation, and even the world have performed, I would say I had benefit a lot from these competitions because they broadened my horizon. My experience as an intern at UM Rector’s Office interpreting and translation programme along with my training from Victoria and Hari’s classes have equipped me with the skills for my job.

Panel 3: education

Jason Cheang / BA in English Studies / English teacher and assistant principal of a local primary school

Primary education requires interdisciplinary teachers, who will teach other courses besides their own major, therefore the collaboration and creativity of UM’s 4C education are really important. During my fourth year I was a teaching assistant at UM English Language Centre, where I would design my own course plan, discuss it with my supervising instructor, give freshmen classes and collect feedback from my supervisor. This is quite similar to the internship of the Faculty of Education’s (FED). FAH has in fact provided courses and opportunities in education. The only thing the faculty cannot offer is the teaching qualification, which can be acquired through taking other advanced courses in education.

I would suggest those who hope to be an educator in the future should take some FED courses during their college years to find out what it is like to be a teacher and figure out whether they really want the job since it takes great passion and sacrifice to be an educator.

Nick Cheang / BA and MA in Chinese Language and Literature / teacher of a local primary school

I majored in literature and language, so I’m teaching related courses in high school; I also took history courses, so I am teaching history as well. And if you have passed Putonghua Proficiency Test, the school will also include Mandarin in your teaching assignment. Local high schools will assign teaching tasks to teachers based on what kind of training you have received, as well as other skills besides teaching, so it would be a bonus if you are equipped with different skill sets. I would recommend students to build up teaching experience in educational institutions during undergraduate years and obtain teaching qualification afterwards.

Bess Che / MA in Chinese-English Translation / instructor at a university in Macao and free-lance interpreter

I joined interpreting and translation programme of Rector’s Office at UM and this experience of intensive practice made it easier for me to find a job as in-house translator after graduation. Language learning enables endless possibilities in career such as translator, teacher, MC, copywriter, media professional and so on, so don’t set boundaries for yourself and think you can only be a translator after graduation. Try to explore the possibilities and find opportunities or build up working experience in related field as a student – all these will expand your employment perspective.

Ng Lai Wa / BA in Portuguese Studies / Portuguese teacher of a local public school

I took an internship when I was an undergrad and it was an experience so valuable to me because my employer at that time is the principal of the school I now work in, so I would say my hard work during my internship has paid off. Proficiency in the Portuguese language is an advantage in job hunting since local schools are all eager to find teachers who can teach elementary Portuguese classes for kids at kindergarten and primary school. Being a full-time teacher you have many roles – you have to be a bridge among parents, and a friend and tutor for students. So I would suggest you should set up rules in the first class to make future classes easier.

Panel 4 : media and enterprise

Charles Kou / BA in Chinese Language and Literature / TDM associate editor, anchor and reporter

I am working at TELEDIFUSÃO DE MACAU, S.A. and I believe a piece of good report that attracts public attention and make a change in the society is the most rewarding thing as a journalist. When I just started my job as a reporter, I came across a bunch of illegal workers during my routine interview, out of my instinct as a reporter I followed up the story, which later aroused huge social impact and awareness and even protest when the story was reported – it gives me a sense of obligation and significance.

Trista Chan / MA in Chinese Language and Literature / Editor of Macao Daily Supplement

I think I’m extremely lucky to be able to do learn what I love for a major and do what I love for a living. Being an editor is not easy because you have to put in a lot of effort in communicating, reviewing and revising other people’s articles, but lucky enough I was able to use my skills learnt at FAH to solve that.

Cathy Lai / MA in Chinese-English Translation / Associate Manager and Editor of Macaulink & Ariana Magazine

I quit my job as a copywriter in a casino company which was a much better paid job, because I have this dream of becoming a journalist, so I am now working in the media industry. Reporters have a heavy work load but a less than satisfying pay cheque. The drive for the job is the sense of accomplishment when your report gains public attention, and the act of covering the stories of the disadvantaged or environment protection issue, etc. I am currently launching an online petition seeking to have the use of plastic bags banned by the authority. And actions like this give me a great sense of satisfaction.

Tetko Wong / BA in Japanese Studies / founder of Golabo Education

I taught Japanese after graduation and I am now a founder and owner of a language teaching centre. I feel most rewarding when I see students starting from zero, find their passion in the language and later pursue their study or career in the field. I have tutored a high school student to participate in a Japanese speech competition at UM, and the moment I saw the student won I felt tremendous joy, this is what gives meaning to my job.

Winkie Lu / BA in Portuguese Studies / founder of Universal Translation & Consultancy Limited

I worked at a government unit after graduation. Though it is not a translation related job, my colleagues would let me do Chinese-Portuguese translation related work because they know I majored in Portuguese Studies at college, this made me realize the huge market of Chinese-Portuguese translation in Macau. That’s why later I quit my job in the government department and started my own company because I love the idea of creating working positions and giving opportunity to those who need it.

Louis Ng / BA in Japanese Studies / founder of OMDA Trade Company

I manufacture animation products and I enjoy the look on my customer’s face when we produce a product from ground zero.

When I was at college I would make the most of my time and study in advance. I would grasp every opportunity to practise my language skills. I think learning a foreign language students should aim for not only speaking in the language, but thinking and even making jokes in that language.