Translation is a job for passionate people who love languages and are highly skilled. As with other jobs, as technology develops, they are often required to learn to use new tools and continue studying. It is, indeed a profession based in experience and knowledge. And, since there is never really a time to stop learning, here are some tips to become a better translator:
- Love language
Translators work merely with languages so it is a requisite that they love languages, specially their own. Besides, it is important to keep studying and reading to have a vast vocabulary.
- Communication and preparation are vital
Cross-cultural communication requires some study and practice to master. This begins with preparing content for international readers and making sure it is easily understood and even easier to translate. After checking this, one can focus on the translation process and refining the content.
- Be comfortable with the subject matter and language style
Most translators will work with a variety of topics. However, it is important that they make sure they are comfortable with both, the subject and language style because, otherwise, they will spend more time trying to master the terminology. Even when this is not bad itself, it is important to keep in mind the time needed for checking quality, the revisions, etc.
- Get immerse in the world of reading
Since translators have to get familiar with general and specialized vocabulary, reading is a necessity that offers them many advantages. From books, blogs, newspapers, magazines, to adverts, cereal packets, etc.; reading will help them increase their vocabulary and grammar for the different types of content.
- Write clearly and concisely
It is important to use concise texts and appropriate sentences and paragraphs’ length, according to the target language. In addition, simple vocabulary is often recommended because the ideas could be easier to understand. A straightforward language is better.
Nowadays, internet makes it much easier to do research. This is important specially when working with technical topics. For example, if working with technical documentation for bicycles, a translator should look for the brand’s website in their own language and check some special terminology.
- Clear international dates
The style is vital and it should be the same throughout the document. The style for large numerals and measurements (height, weight, width, length, temperature, etc.) should be the same and according to the system used by the target audience.
- Keep good relationship with clients
Since translators offer a service, it often does not end with the delivery of a document or at least it is not the ideal scenario. In order to have a good relationship with clients, translators should keep in touch with their customers and prospective customers. A good way to do so is by sending reminders of availability, questions about the satisfaction with the work presented, etc.
- Use one term for a single concept
Sometimes, especially with translated documents, synonyms get in the way of clarity. It is often suggested to use the same word for the same thing. It is particularly important for the consistency of the translation. For example, when using the word blog the first time, it suggested to keep using that same word and not replacing it with words like article, post, entry anytime.
Doing spell checking is important to keep the high quality of the job. It can be done two or three times in order to check if everything is fine. A small typo could prejudice the whole work. Reading again and again without looking at the source of the text will help to check if the text makes sense. For this step, there are some software that can be helpful such as XBench that checks the consistency, coherence and can detect untranslated segments.