Vocabulary for the NAATI Professional Interpreting Examination (English and Chinese)

As I just took my NAATI Professional Interpreting Exam (NAATI三級口譯考試) last week, I thought I’d share with you the vocabulary that I have collected over the past year in preparing for it.

There are ten glossaries in total, each with 30 words in total, including:

  1. 30 Legal Terms in English and Chinese
  2. 30 Medical Terms in English and Chinese
  3. 30 Finance & Banking Terms in English and Chinese
  4. 30 Business Terms in English and Chinese
  5. 30 Housing Terms in English and Chinese
  6. 30 Education Terms in English and Chinese
  7. 30 Employment Terms in English and Chinese
  8. 30 Social Welfare Terms in English and Chinese
  9. 30 Immigration Terms in English and Chinese
  10. 30 Ethics Terms in English and Chinese

If you can spot any translation errors please do not hesitate to let me know in the comments section. Many of these terms are tricky to get right!

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Physical Examination in English and Chinese


This is a demonstration of the most common steps involved in a physical examination, conducted by a physician in a hospital or general practice. Both the original recording in English, as well as the version translated into Mandarin, are provided. In both recordings, a beep is sounded at the end of each segment for the listener to pause and translate.

Important Notes

  • These recordings and transcripts are for interpreting training only, and should not be taken as medical advice or used as medical training material.
  • Most of the steps in this physical examination are adapted from the Duke PA Program Complete Physical Exam which can be viewed YouTube (Part 1 and Part 2).
  • I’ve tried to make the English as straight forward and non-technical as possible, but inevitably some parts may sound strange to those not familiar with physical examinations (e.g. the capillary refill time, translated as 微血管充填时间, a term I decided to leave out, though I kept the original test).
  • Although the Chinese was translated to make it sound as authentic as possible, some parts will sound a strange as the original was after all in English and some physical terms sound strange expressed in Chinese (e.g. frown, cross-eyed, etc.). Therefore, while the Chinese version is still useful for Chinese learners, it should be taken with a grain of salt.

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An Introduction to Criminal Law Terms in English and Chinese (+ Glossary)

The following is an introduction to commonly used terms in criminal law (刑法) that I’ve collected over the years of translating and teaching interpreting. The focus is mainly on vocabulary common in Australian and British law. At the end of this post is a glossary of all the terms mentioned (150 in total!)

Disclaimer: I am not a legal expert by any means, nor do I claim to be. The explanations and translations given here should be used for reference only. If you see anything that you think is inaccurate don’t hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section. I look forward hearing your feedback.

An Introduction to Criminal Law Terms in English and Chinese

Firstly, it is important to note the distinction between criminal law (刑法) and civil law (民法). Many Chinese students are confused about this because there is no distinction between prosecute or indict (the 起诉 process in criminal law) and sue (i.e. to file a lawsuit against someone, also known as 起诉 in Chinese, but can also be expressed as 诉讼, 打官司 or just 告 or 诉 in Taiwan). However in countries like Australia and Britain, the two processes are entirely different, with different terminology, criteria and penalties. Chinese also does not always make a distiction between a public trial and an interrogation in private – both can be referred to as 审讯.

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How to Describe Medical Symptoms in Chinese

Have been inspired recently to do more research into how a whole variety of medical symptoms can be expressed naturally in Chinese. Here is what I have found between reading a number of books and consulting with friends, both laypeople and medical experts alike. Enjoy!


How to Describe Medical Symptoms in Chinese


描述一般症状-Describing general symptoms

Wǒ shēntǐ bù tài shūfu.
I feel unwell.

Wǒ hǎoxiàng shēngbìng le.
I think I’ve come down with something.

Wǒ hǎoxiàng gǎnmào le.
I think I’ve caught a cold.

Wǒ hǎoxiàng liúgǎn le.
I think I’ve got the flu.

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Common “Society Concepts” in Chinese

Recently I have been busy collecting common “society” concepts in Chinese that are difficult to translate due to social, cultural and political differences that exist between China and the West.

Here’s the results of my research.

20 Common “Society Concepts” in Chinese

1. 社会保障 (lit. “social ensurance”): social security
2. 社会安全 (lit. “social safety”): national security
3. 社会实践 (lit. “social practice”): work experience
4. 社会风气 (lit. “the atmosphere of society”): social morality; social standards
5. 社会热点 (lit. “the hot point of society”): hot topic
6. 社会渣滓 (lit. “the dregs of society”): the scum of society
7. 社会名流 (lit. “the famous people of society”): celebrities; public figures
8. 社会青年 (lit. “the youth of society”): uneducated and unemployed young people
9. 社会效益 (lit. “social benefit”): positive effects on society
10. 社会群体 (lit. “social group”): different groups in society
11. 社会团体 (lit. “society organistion”): community organisation
12. 社会新闻 (lit. “social news”): human-interest stories
13. 社会调查 (lit. “social investigation”): research into social trends
14. 社会利益 (lit. “social interest”): the public interest
15. 小康社会 (lit. “xiaokang society”): a developed, middle-class society
16. 上流社会 (lit. “upstream society”): high society; upper class
17. 下流社会 (lit. “downstream society”): the underworld
18. 整个社会 (lit. “the entire society”): society as a whole; society at large
19. 社会的阴暗面 (lit. “the dark side of society”): social evils/ills
20. 社会不安定因素 (lit. “unstable factors of society”): factors leading to social instability

I should also acknowledge that there are actually plenty of collocations which happen to exist natively in both English and Chinese. I’ve gathered 20 of the most common ones:

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Random Word Trivia #9 – Marriage

See how many of these random words you can guess the English and Chinese for! This week’s topic is “marriage”! Enjoy! (Note: some of them do not have English equivalents!)

1. Getting married to someone you have only just met. (Chinese)

2. Getting married to someone without having first bought a house, car, or wedding ring, or without even paying for an official wedding ceremony. (Chinese)

3. Being compelled to marry someone against your will. (Chinese, English)

4. Living with your fiance for a certain (trial) period before officially getting married. (Chinese)

5. Getting married three or more years after when you are legally allowed to marry. (Chinese)

6. Getting married after finding out the woman has fallen pregnant. (Chinese, English)

7. Getting married for the political benefit of one or both of the parties, instead of out of mutual love for one another. (Chinese)

8. Getting married for reasons other than relationship, family, or love, but instead merely for personal gain. (Chinese, English)

9. Marrying someone for commercial gain, especially for the purposes of securing residency in a foreign country. (Chinese, English)

10. Being introduced to your future husband or wife via a third-party. (Chinese, English)

11. Getting married to someone who has the same gender as you. (Chinese, English)

12. Getting married and deceiving the government or society about its purpose. (Chinese, English)

13. A gay man and a lesbian marrying each other to ward off pressure from their families and society at large to find a partner of the opposite sex. (Chinese, English)

14. A marriage in which one or both parties are deceased. (Chinese)

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