How to be a good translator
- Always review the documents and files before embarking on the translation process
Read all instructions that come with the job. Ensure all files and documents are well-received.
- Be proficient in your own language
To produce quality translation, you have to master your native language so that at one glance, you are able to ‘digest the information and translate’ them into another familiar language. This will then make the translation work much easier.
- Going the extra mile
From time to time, you will encounter words you are not familiar with. Take this as a challenge. A committed and responsible translator will go the extra mile to find the answers. Browse through online dictionaries, you will eventually find relevant answers. Seek help from fellow translators who have more experience than you. Search through the internet, where you can find a wide range of suggestions. Decide and choose the best translation that serves your client’s needs.
- Know your strengths
Translate in fields that you are good at. This will save you effort and time to check on terms you are not familiar with. Translating in unfamiliar fields will take more time in terminology research. Specialize in the fields you are expert in and try not to take on anything outside your sphere of expertise.
- Be a good writer and reader
Read widely. Be exposed to the media such as TV news broadcast, radio programs, newspapers and magazines. Keep an eye on the latest happenings. Be connected to the world. Write more to enhance your use of words and vocabulary. Continuous learning is the key to improving your skills and expertise. Languages are permanently evolving and developing so you need to keep up-to-date.
- Use all reference materials
Use all available glossaries and terminology databases. It is essential that you are consistent with the terminology and style of previous jobs.
- Always proofread at least 2 times
Your first draft will always have errors in it. Run your spellchecker and correct any misspellings and typos. Your final translated version has to read as if it had originally been written in your language, free of literal translations and cumbersome expressions that are directly transferred. Typos, grammatical errors, punctuation errors are unavoidable the first time. If you have an editor or proofreader, take full advantage of their services. A fresh pair of eyes will catch any errors a lot faster.
- Practice makes perfect
Another essential factor is experience. Translators get better at their job with experience – not just experience of translating, but also real-life experience. A translator needs to have excellent general knowledge and research skills, as well as a very keen eye for detail