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Translating LORs


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Two of my LOR writers are Chinese professors, whom I've worked under for my MA.


They don't speak or write English. As all Ph.D. applications require LORs written in English, my LORs need to be translated.


The only option is for me to translate them. There are no other native English speakers in the department to do this.


My dilemma is that I'm afraid my "writing voice" is going to show through in the English.


How will this affect the adcomm's view of the LORs? Will they count for less than a purely confidential LOR? Should I include somewhere that these are translations?


There's no way around this as I finished my undergrad back in '05 and I have no other options. I must use these 2 LORs.

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I've been told that letters which are not held in strict confidence will more or less count for nothing during the admissions process. If you tried to hide the fact that you did the translating (not saying you would, just hypothetically) that would probably result in your application being disqualified or you being dropped from a program if you had already matriculated.


I don't have any firsthand experience in this but is there a translation service you can use? I'm sure it will cost money but everything about this process does. Maybe the professors can mail the letters to translation services and then get them back in the post to send on to schools themselves (just spitballin' here)? You might try contacting programs and see what they suggest as well

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Thanks for your reply.


I was planning on having the letters uploaded to Interfolio, from which I could then deliver them to schools as needed.


I understand many websites require "extras," from professors, such as questionnaires, etc. While a translation service may help with the LOR, they won't help with these extras. My professors will need someone to walk them through these websites, uploading the letters, etc.


Additionally, I've read that professors which provide an email address (for contact purposes) which is not with an institutional domain may be contacted by AdCom's. Neither of my LOR writers use this type of email address.


As such, it needs to be clear somewhere that my Profs don't speak English, so that *when* they are contacted, it's known beforehand that a Chinese speaker will be required.


I don't want to hide anything from anyone. Yet the simple fact is that my two Chinese LORs cannot complete the required tasks without a translator, and there's no one except for me who can do this for them. (None of my classmates speak or read English well enough that I would trust them with this task.)



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I think in this specific case it wouldn't hurt to contact the schools you are applying to and explain your circumstances.  For all you know someone on the adcomm reads Chinese, for example.


Considering you are not the first student to apply to a U.S. school with foreign recommenders, it would make sense that adcomms would have a general plan on how to handle the issue.


Good Luck!

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Yeah, that makes sense.


I read on Berkeley's website (though I'm not applying to Berkeley) that they only accept translations certified by the American Translator's Association. I'm currently contacting a few freelancers I found on their directory for pricing and details on the provided certification.


I'll also contact the registrars to see what they suggest.


I'll be sure to update this post once I get more details on my situation.


In the meantime, if anyone has firsthand experience with this type of situation, please do share your thoughts!

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