From a Green-hand to a Future Interpreter

Major: English

Future University: University of Newcastle (UK)

The four college years has witnessed Dong Zixin’s growth from a novice at English to a future interpreter; she has received the offer of admission from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne and will major in Chinese and English Translation and Interpreting (the program is highly recognized as the top 3 of the world). Dong has walked with firm and steady steps towards her dream: obtaining certificates of Shanghai Interpretation Accreditation Test (Advanced Level) and China Accreditation Test for Translators and Interpreters (Level 3), conducting simultaneous interpretation practice in the United Nations International Maritime Organization, and winning awards in the National Interpreting competitions for three consecutive years. Her dream endows every second with significance and her self-discipline paves the way through the mists of future.

Think Big and Dream Big  

Traveling thousand miles from Henan Province to Wenzhou City, though being prepared, Dong found herself insufficient in English learning at the first days of WKU; compared to other students’ relaxed performance in class, Dong struggled with speaking and listening problems. Since then, she filled daily routine with study so as to “survive” in this university – long hours in library memorizing vocabulary and lunch time listening to BBC international news …

Dong’s enthusiasm for interpreting originated from an interpreting competition held in the second semester of the first college year. Though being anxious and fearful, Dong registered for the campus selection of the Fifth National Interpretation Competition. With the help of the English Language Center, she not only achieved excellent results, but also yearned for a career as an interpreter. “We should try and explore new things because only through trials and failures can we discover the true interest,” said she while recalling this unexpected encounter with interpreting. Dong’s story continued as she evaluated the output translation quality for, a website designed for automatic machine translation, provided translation and interpreting services for Wenzhou Museum and China-Italy Design Talent Exchange Fair, and assisted university departments to compile and translate school-related documents.

For Dong Zixin, persistence is embedded in her personality. Dong’s Microblog recorded her every growing step, where she utilized a wide range of applications to enhance skills of interpreting, sight translation, vocabulary and intensive reading. She kept to her carefully planned schedule to practice those skills at school, and filled her holidays with TOEFL and IELTS study, aiming to foster a life-long habit of learning.

Where there is a “dream”, there is a way

The most memorable experience for Dong was preparing for the application of postgraduate study with her roommate in her junior year. “To get up on time at 5:30am, we deliberately put the alarm-clock somewhere out of reach. Every morning at the same time, the two clocks rang like the scary death bell.” When the whole building was lighted up and darkness began to disperse, the morning drowsiness turned into her new fresh impetus. As a lark-type person, she enjoyed every quiet, undisturbed morning, but also into physical exercises, finding ways to balance life and release pressure.

Rigid self-discipline granted Dong a practice opportunity in the United Nations International Maritime Organization in London this January, bringing her so close to the field of simultaneous interpretation. Facing the intensive daily tasks assigned, her mood swung like a roller coaster. A second ago, she might immerse herself in the excitement for a good translation, but was perplexed by some confusing sentences. Despite the strict instructors and difficult assignments, Dong has obtained valuable practical experience beyond the book within a few days, and further solidified her determination in the pursuit of this career. On the way back home from the United Nations, she pictured a bright vision and future, “Through efforts and endeavors, I wish myself to be a professional interpreter for international conferences or meetings.”

Dream it possible  

April 18th, 2019 was perhaps a day that Dong would never forget. Having entangled with the admission office of Newcastle for over seven months, she finally received the University’s unconditional offer, making a step further towards her dream of being a senior interpreter.

Dong was deeply grateful for the favorable learning environment provided by WKU. When sharing her experience in applying universities, she mentioned that, “I benefited enormously from the American-style interactive environment and active classroom participation, which forced me to step out of my comfort zone and enhanced my English communication skills. All these allowed me to perform more confidently and naturally in the interviews”.

Besides, Dong mentioned that a comprehensive knowledge was one of the basic qualities of a good interpreter. Thanks to WUK’s flexible and various courses available to students, including biology, international relations, history, philosophy, psychology, Dong could have more access to different fields of knowledge.

In others’ eyes, she has obtained many admirable achievements, but to her, the journey as an interpreter is just about to start. She has been striving for more achievements in the National Interpretation Contest and CATTI Examination. She has been hoping to push the limits and march forward in the near future.

“The road seems endless. The journey seems far away. Anyway, we’re on the way.” For Dong, at this moment, the future is foreseeable.


Written by Zhuang Jia