Every translator knows that, to be excellent at your craft, it takes far more than simply learning a foreign language. The profession requires passion and love for the culture, tradition and people to whom the language belongs. It requires translators to develop the ability to communicate meaning beyond written and printed symbols, in order to give others an accurate idea of how the language works, from the viewpoint of a native speaker. Clearly, providing high-quality translation is not a simple or straightforward task- it takes years of practice and constant self-improvement. That being said, however, there are some universal tips to keep in mind when undertaking a new project, that will guarantee that the quality of your work improves consistently and that, with each translation, you take away lessons on how to better yourself in the future.
1.The translation industry is evolving constantly – keep up with it
the translation industry is one of the fastest developing ones, with an average growth rate of 7% a year. Therefore, technologies, devices, best practices- they all change rapidly, and it is up to you to remain up to date if you want to be efficient in providing high-quality service. Linguistic skills are undoubtedly essential for a good translation, but having an understanding of the latest translation technologies and being able to incorporate them into your work is also invaluable.
2.Be Aware of All Details
Translating can be a very much individual job- once you have established the details around a translation with your client, there pretty much is not a need to interact with them anymore. That approach, however, is not recommended and can lead to a decrease in the quality of your work. In order to deliver satisfactory results, you need to have context- where is the translation intended for, what sort of audience it will reach, what mood are you trying to convey? These details can only be acquired through client communication, which is why you should aim to build not only a correspondence, but a good professional relationship with them.
3.Keep up with global trends
Language has the ability to change and evolve overtime, under the influence of various economic, cultural and political factors. A good translator aims to always be informed about the most significant world events and political shifts, since they can often impact the context for translation and the tone that the texts need to adopt. Being informed about the countries the languages of which you’re working with is vital for translating efficiently and accurately.
When working with a new client, always make sure to check back on any previous documents and materials they have had translated, to get a sense of the general style and voice that has been used. As a skilled translator, you need to be able to adapt your tone to the client’s and provide a piece of work that can be seamlessly integrated within their pre-existing content.
5.Never submit any work without proofreading
While this may be an obvious one, it’s important to remember never to submit a work without proofreading it. Grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes will only undermine your professionalism and make your otherwise hard work seem rushed and done with no regard to detail. However, proof reading your own work can sometimes be difficult- it’s best if you take a break from that particular assignment and come back to it a later time, with a clear mind that will be more likely to spot any errors.
6.Communicate with your project manager
While you may not maintain face-to-face interaction, the communication with your project manager is essential for your efficiency as a translator and for the quality of your work. They are the people who can provide you with more details on a certain client, with additional information and guidance about the type of work you are expected to deliver.
7.Be a problem-solver
Translation work is not an easy venture- oftentimes you may be faced with translating documents on unfamiliar business strategies, or your access to information will be limited by the clients you’re working for. Whatever the obstacle, you need to be creative and figure out which solution would work best in this particular situation. Be proactive; remain in constant touch with your client and/or project manager and pay attention to the differences in the language and culture you are working with – that will guarantee your optimal performance as a translator.
At 1-StopAsia, we believe that being a professional translator can be just as challenging as it is rewarding. Connecting foreign cultures and bridging the gap between individuals divided by language barriers is an exciting experience which, however, requires certain skills. While those skills differ greatly from one individual to another, we are confident that, following the tips we’ve shared, you will be able to majorly improve the quality of your work and reputation in the industry.