I am fluent in English and Cantonese, and Mandarin is my second language (so I have a bit of an accent).
When should you use a Chinese celebrant?
If either of the partner or the witnesses do not have a competent grasp of English, a Chinese celebrant needs to be used or a NATTI approved translator needs to be hired (which will usually be more expensive than just hiring a Chinese celebrant).
Otherwise, having a Chinese celebrant is just sometimes nicer because I can conduct the ceremony in a language you and your family or friends usually liaise with and I also have a much better understanding on the cultural background and needs of Chinese (for example, I may edit more heavily knowing there are parents and relatives present with stories from friends). I take great care in my translations to ensure it is a good balance between people understanding what is happening and dragging the ceremony on for too long.
Ultimately it is your wedding and I want to ensure leading up to the most special moment, the vows, the moment is anticipated. Hence, what I translate and how much I translate depends on approximately how many people attending:
1) Can understand only one language, and who they are to the couple.
2) Can understand both/all languages, and who they are to the couple.
It also depends on which readings you have chosen. For example, letters to parents/family I will always read out in the language the bride or groom speaks to their parents in and then I will summarise just the funny and interesting childhood stories for the rest of the guests rather than the whole letter.
How much of the remaining ceremony I translate depends on which other readings you have chosen, and what languages the proportion of your guests understands. In some cases the entire ceremony is conducted in Chinese.
I have taken the precaution to use a lawyer to approve the translations of the legal wordings I use in my ceremonies to ensure the legality of my ceremonies.
Read below a testimonial from a couple who were very excited when they found out I could conduct the whole ceremony in Chinese.