Saturday, 9 June



Kenneth Quek, Chinglish as she is writ: On the uses and abuses of English by native Chinese speakers


This presentation covers some of the specific issues involved in editing English-language texts produced by native speakers of Chinese and provides suggestions on how to handle them. Chinese speakers are growing increasingly important in academia and business, and it is crucial for them to communicate fluently and precisely in English. Unfortunately, having Chinese as a native language often interferes with English usage, as Chinese syntax and idiom is so different from that of English. Thus there is a strong market for providing editing and copywriting services to Chinese speakers, which participants may become better able to tap with skills specific to them – especially so when the Chinese market is still strongly driven by word of mouth, with most clients relying on recommendations through their networks to select service providers.

In this presentation I shall introduce some of the common mistakes made by Chinese speakers, especially those that are more challenging to correct, and suggest strategies for dealing with them. Many of these mistakes are particularly difficult to handle because they can distort the meaning of the text or even render it unintelligible to those unfamiliar with Chinese syntax. But the knowledge I hope to share will help participants to revise texts from such sources more efficiently while still capturing the essence of what the authors are attempting to communicate.

By the end of the presentation, participants will have a clear idea of some aspects of the Chinese language and how they can affect the English usage of native Chinese speakers. They will also have learned effective strategies for handling these issues, which may also be transferable to editing texts from speakers of other non-English languages.

This presentation will be of interest to any language professional who may find themselves handling texts produced by native Chinese speakers, or who may wish to break into this large and growing market.


About the presenter

Kenneth QuekKenneth Quek is a Singaporean who resides in Helsinki. He is fully bilingual in English and Mandarin Chinese and works both as a freelance academic revisor for the University of Helsinki Language Centre and as a freelance editor and copywriter in the corporate sector. He has previous experience in private teaching, translation and journalism.