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December 6, 2019 |

10 Tricks to Become an Excellent Translator 

What makes an excellent translator? Besides proficiency in a pair of languages, translation requires many skills across multiple areas, from communication and writing to industry-specific expertise. Furthermore, a good translator is also skilled at planning and adept at managing his or her time. 

There’s no universal recipe for becoming an excellent translator, especially in a highly-competitive market, where hundreds of thousands of language experts perform. But, how can you become a better professional and build a reputation in this field? 

Here are 10 tricks that can help you to master your translation skills and become a better language specialist. 

1. Read in Your Native Language

Most translation projects are into your mother tongue, so the better your writing skills in this language, the more accurate and engaging your translation will be. The easiest way to develop writing skills is by reading as much as you can. 

Not only will reading enrich your vocabulary, but it will also become a source of inspiration, as you expose yourself to new writing techniques and ways to develop ideas. 

Try to read all types of texts, written by multiple authors. From magazines and novels to web content; they’re all necessary when looking to get familiar with more writing styles. If you’ve chosen a narrow niche in the language service industry, you can still benefit from reading about something other than your topic of interest.   

2. Read in Your Second Language

Reading in your second language enables you to develop language sense. It’s also an effective way of familiarizing yourself with multiple life situations in a different language. Again, the wider your reading habits, the better for boosting your language skills. 

Reading regularly in your second language gives a new perspective on how people communicate and why they choose specific words to express themselves. It becomes easier to keep the correct meaning in translation than if you limit your reading to industry-related books.  

3. Compare Other Translations

Peeking on what other translators do can help you master your language skills and make you an excellent translator. It’s not copying what other people do, but simply learning from others and finding new meanings hidden behind words. 

Take both the source and the target texts to see how other translators have handled the message of the book or article. Analyze their choices and try to identify the reasons the translator decided to omit or emphasize specific details of the text. 

Every translator has unique techniques; sometimes, they make mistakes or they come up with non-literary translations that nail the intent behind the original text perfectly. You can learn from all of them and polish your working methods.  

4. Travel

Traveling changes your way of seeing new cultures and handling life situations. It allows you to meet different types of people and know them from the inside. So, next time you’re required to adapt your voice to a specific audience, it will be easier to connect with the readers. 

Moreover, when you travel, you get to exercise your language skills outside your comfort zone. It’s a different learning experience, in which you immerse yourself in new groups and adapt your language to local rules. In the long run, it will make you a better communicator and an excellent translator.  

5. Listen to Your Clients

Listening skills are a must-have for translators who wish to retain customers and build a reputation in their niche. These skills enable you to understand what your clients expect to achieve with translation, as well as anticipate their needs. 

You should remember that often in translation, the client and the end-users aren’t the same. So, the more you teach yourself to listen, the easier it becomes to deliver the benefits the end-users need without ignoring what the client wants.

6. Build a Rich Translation Memory

An excellent translator relies on top-notch resources. Language service providers no longer translate with just their knowledge and some dictionaries on hand. Technology enables translators to store all their projects and use previous work to speed up future projects. 

So, don’t treat every translation project as your first job. Use CAT tools to build a solid translation memory and store your knowledge. This way, you can improve the quality of your translations, while working faster and with lower costs. 

7. Go to Industry Events

Translation conferences and other industry events are great opportunities to connect with new clients and collaborators in the industry. You’ll learn about new trends, innovative translation tools, and better marketing techniques to get clients. You’ll also meet new people, which is almost a must when you have a relatively solitary job!  

Going to events can have multiple positive effects on how you feel about your work and how you choose to manage your business. It’s a learning experience that comes with fun moments and pleasant memories. 

8. Stay Updated About the Latest Technology

Technology is a game-changer for language service providers, regardless of their size or niche. If you don’t use innovative tools, you risk being left behind by competitors, as you won’t manage to deliver the best services in a short amount of time. 

Read magazines, subscribe to newsletters, test demos of new software. Try to keep up with the latest developments in the translation field. Otherwise, you may be underperforming before you know. 

9. Exercise

Exercising is a cost-effective way of boosting your creativity. It reduces stress levels, helps you stay focused, improves your memory, and helps you become more productive.  

Make room in your busy schedule for exercising a couple of times a week. Not only can this new routine make you an excellent translator, but it will also contribute to keeping you healthier and happier. 

10. Ask for Help

Translating may seem like a job for one person, but sometimes teamwork brings better results. If you struggle to get to the bottom of your text or meet deadlines, don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

Whether by asking for more details from your clients or by including another translator into your project, help is sometimes necessary to reach your goals and deliver better results. 

Becoming an Excellent Translator

These simple tricks can help you deliver a high-quality translation service regardless of your niche or language pair. They’re also useful when looking to streamline your projects, as they can help you cut translation costs and eliminate inefficient activities.