Can translators be trained?

What does it take to transform a poor or average level Translator into a high-quality one? Is it even possible? We’ll discuss can translators be trained below

Having access to great Translators is something that gives a Translation Company a strong foundation and reputation. As an LSP, if you aren’t providing your clients with good quality translations, then you can be sure that they’ll be looking elsewhere for what they need. In this article, we’ll discuss this topic from 2 different point-of-views, and then we’ll go over what it takes to see this process happen!

It’s a Trainable Skill

can translators be trainedA skill is a skill, and all skills are upgradable, right? This viewpoint explores the argument that if a person is able to learn, then they can get better in that particular skill. Period. But is there a limit to this, or does it apply only to certain skills or industries?

Well look at it this way, what’s to stop someone from getting better and better at something if they put in both the training and practice? And if that person has a great team of Trainers and people there to help them advance, wouldn’t that increase their chances of getting better? In other words, what or who can stop a person from increasing in skills and ability if that person is willing to put in the time and work to get better? With that said, I ask, can translating be looked at as a trainable/upgradable skill?

If an average level Translator puts in the same amount of work as a high quality, sought after one, and does even more work to compensate for lesser skills, what’s to stop that Translator from reaching the same level as the highly demanded one? Or better yet, what’s to stop them from one day surpassing them in skills and ability?

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It’s a Natural Ability

On the other side, you have the belief that high-quality translation skills are something a person just has, similar to a natural ability or something they’re born with. Something like second-nature or that comes as natural as breathing.

But just like in any other industry, finding a gem or special talent isn’t always easy. Typically it’s something you come across every good once in a while, and when you do, you absolutely know it. Finding a top-notch Translator is indeed like finding a rare gem. Once you get one, you hold on to it.

But this view also gives birth to another question: ‘Like rare gems, are there a limited amount of high-quality Translators out there?’ If this is the case, what does that say about the current state and future of the Translation Industry? Can this be viewed as somewhat of an Achilles heel, giving footway to the next big trend to take over in Translation?

What it takes to see it happen!

For a start, it takes more than just training a Translator to become better. There has to be a strong enough desire to get better and a willingness to do the necessary work on the Translator’s part. Because the truth is, there’s nothing that can stop a Translator from operating at a higher level and from becoming better except the Translator themselves. It’s really not a matter of if you can train them to be better or if they can get better, but rather, do they want to get better?

You can give someone the best training in the world, pay for classes, training materials, and numerous resources, but if they don’t have the will to apply the training or to put forth the effort to work to reach a higher level in their field, then the training is pointless. So, with that said, here are 3 things to ask when considering more training for your Translators:

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Do your Translators want to get better and are they willing to work for it?
Do your Trainers and Senior Linguists share the same determination and have the necessary patience to help the Translators get to that next level?
Have the Translators learned from previously taken tests and are they conscious of and perceptive to client feedback?

These are questions you as an LSP should ask first before spending the time and/or money to proceed with training someone who may not have the aspiration or drive to do what’s required to move to the next level.


There’s really no limit to how far up the bar a company can reach when it comes to the quality and level they can supply in services to their clients. This statement also pertains to your Translators. The answer to the above question, “Is it possible to train a poor quality Translator to become a high-quality one?”, is yes it’s possible. But only time will tell how long it will take.