Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Good Translator?
By: Vanessa Anderson
Are You a Nerd at Heart? During Your Childhood What Was Your Passion? Who’d You Want to Be?
Perhaps a Scientist?
Or Even an Actor?
Even if you struggle to choose a profession today, you can enjoy the options as long as you haven’t picked one. What is there is a chance for you to become a translator? How about that?
Language is tricky and a fun prospect. You can really enjoy the struggle to catch up with the phrases or get annoyed when interpreting the words in the wrong way. It's a growing industry, with the prospect of a language becoming popular, it's always a handy tool to know a different language and use it for professional or personal purposes. Regardless of the type of language, you learn, with the obvious skill set you can make translation work.
What is the Job Specification of a Translator?
People often confuse translating and interpreting with each other. But remember, both are different professions. The main difference between the two is that translation is in written form while interpreting is vocal. One similarity, however, is that you need to be familiar with the language to perform your role whether as a translator or an interpreter.
If you do become a translator you should be able to write (translate) words into the desired target language with the cultural connotations. Usually, text produced in the native language is a lot smoother than a foreign language.
Work is diverse, related to different industries, it can be either a government sector or private organization seeking services of a translator. The result is you can work with any industry because translation is required for all.
Freelancing is just another key for translators to earn more. Working for an agency sounds easier because work is constant but so is the pressure. Sometimes you prefer to work as a freelancer. You have the freedom of choice to pick work of your choice, whenever it suits you best.
Mind Over Matter: What Does It Take to Become a Translator
A translator has to meet specific expectations when working on a translation project. Before you hit the navigational road to become a translator, you need to be able to have;
• Language Command
If you are an influential speaker, you may have the skill to become a translator. Having high command over the language is what makes a translator better than others. Rumor has it, being familiar with two languages is not enough to become a translator, but in pure honesty, it's the other way around.
Some of the best translators around the world speak a native language and a second language instead of being a walking talking dictionary.
But learning a foreign language is more than helpful, and you can broaden your skills by gravitating your skills and polish them over time.
• Culture Awareness
You may become familiar with words, learn the meanings and be able to translate from one word to another but what good it will be if you do not understand the cultural reference? Regardless of whatever industry you work for, cultural accent, the tone is always hidden behind the words.
Become aware of the culture, as language and culture go hand in hand. Culture helps you retain the consistency of translation in terms of the original context.
It makes a huge difference when you translate words from English into Mexican or Spanish language. The dialect, tone of the sentence structure will ultimately represent the dialects and differentiate one from another.
• Play With Words
People forget the translator is a writer as well.
What makes you a good translator? Your passion to read and write is what makes it all fun. The translation is a complicated process, but you can thoroughly enjoy the work if you have a clear indication of how to translate and maintain the context after translating in a foreign language.
To become a good writer, you have to be able to differentiate between the writing styles. You are a writer yourself, but you have the liberty of not creating content from scratch. It’s easier but you still need to be creative with the original message.
A Translator is a Marketer
When you hone your translating skills, you are moving forward to market your skills and present your services to a customer. Unless you work a 9 to 5 in-house job, you need to be more than lucky to work as a freelancer. Either you work solo or with a team of translators, your skillset is unique and distinct from the other translator.
Make yourself available on the freelancing platforms (such as LinkedIn) if you want to capitalize your skills as a translator;
• Study the Language
As described earlier, learning a language is more than helpful. Pick a language of your choice and study it extensively. Certain languages are hot in demand because of certain external factors making them at the top of the list. It’s wise to learn any of the top picks, it will not only be an extended hand to your skillset but since it’s in high demand, you will get more projects as well. If you are interested in a particular language you can find relevant work in the field with high demand and vice versa.
• Get Training
Even if you are fluent in a language, it still doesn't reach the requirements of being a translator. You need to be able to provide a clear vision of the content to be translated. American Translators Association (ATA) or ALTA Language Services are the top schools to help you learn to become the translator.
You can even take online courses and learn some cool tips to enhance your skills as a translator.
• Certification is Important
Need proof how good a translator are you? Certification is the way to put down everything in writing. It's a proven record of your skills that you need to get projects. Once you become a certified translator, your credibility is what will bring new clients and perhaps better job opportunities as well.
Even getting certified in non-language related certifications is a bonus point. For instance, you can become a paralegal that is an added value to your skill and you can work in the legal field and so on.
• Target an Industry
You may want to expand your resources in a target-specific field. Give yourself a goal to achieve instead of working randomly.
Find the field you are most interested in. Learn about it, how translation works for it and indulge your services at the right time. Focusing your translation for a specific field lets you have the expertise for the terminologies and become more fluent and accurate in your translation.
Go Ahead and Live Your Dream
Still, think you are no match to become a translator? If you dream to become a translator, you have all the access to the world you can ever need. Make new friends from various cultures, learn and engage at social media platforms, and follow the tips mentioned above to clear the fog in your head.
You can translate your dream into a success story.