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8 Professional Advises: How to Become an Excellent Translator

We all want to excel in our professions. As a translator, what can you do to improve?

What once used to be a far, unknown place hard to get to, is now just a three-hour-plane-flight away. Nomads have it easy these days. Businessman too. Company based in Los Angeles having offices in Island and Indonesia. Wishful thinking? Daydreaming? Nope, it’s called Globalization and it’s here to stay for good.

With this all being said and done we come to realize the world is rapidly changing and among the most frequent changes is the need for translation. The need for translators is constantly growing and companies now more than ever need reliable and solid translations.

A high-principled translator pays attention to detail, works patiently and has a strong comprehension of both the target language and the source language, as well as the expertise in the field he/she is translating from. However, these skills and qualities are something that is gained over time by persistent work and interest to never stop learning.

The suggestions are below to provide you with guidance that will cover the learning process and as for the work, well that, I leave it up to you!

Communication and Preparation

The start is one of the most important parts of the translating process. Your communication with the client is crucial in ensuring satisfaction of both sides. After you know what is expected of you, you move on to the text and try to make friends with it. Familiarize yourself with the writing style, field and time it was written in. For instance, if translating a book, translators read it before starting to work on it.

One at A Time

Quality over quantity. If you run around from one text to another and do a little bit of everything you’ll end up weary and ineffective. Instead, devote your time to one translation at a time and don’t take on any other projects until finishing that one. This way you’ll dive into the voice of the author and be able to replicate all the nuances and detail of the character into your language. This is particularly important and crucial when translating literature or dialogue.

What’s your register?

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Before starting to work as a translator all together make sure you choose the field of translations wisely. What kind of translations will you be doing? Legal documents, books, anything given by the client? Therefore, when a text is translated, the final product is expected to have the same register as the original. If the text is very formal in the source language and the translated text is full of abbreviations and slang, then the translator failed to write with the same register.

Characters

Not all languages use the same punctuation in the world. This is why a good translator will always get familiar with punctuation. Paying close attention to details like this shows that a translator doesn’t overlook details.

Be Persistent

One of the biggest qualities of a translator is staying true to the text. What this means is that you will be persistent no matter what and won’t omit certain phrases or sayings just because the thought is too hard to translate.

Feel the Translation

Always keep your ears open to how it sounds when read. When I say “sounds” I don’t mean whether you’ll read it melodically or not, but what your sense of proper language use tells you. Does it feel right? Would someone really say this in everyday life? The “natural” flow is also very important when translating literature or dialogues.

Good Tools = Good Translation

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A translator is as good as their tools are. You may like your source of help, dictionary or machine translator, but you cannot rely on one. An experienced translator knows that there are many ways to translate a certain text and helpful ideas can be gotten from a combination of more than one source.

Let it sit

After translating a text you should always leave it for a couple of days. Just hit “save and close” and let it be. Come back to it after two – three days have passed and read it with fresh eyes. This ensures for you to see all the teeny-tiny details that can be improved, replaced or structured differently. Trust me, it works. You will be able to read your text as if you aren’t the one writing it, thus you’ll be more objective towards it.

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