What are the Key Skills to Look for in Translators?
By: Ayesha Israr
If you want to get success in any field, some major characteristics should be present in you in the true letter and spirit. As far as the localization industry is concerned, some key skills must be found in a translator. The translation is not a simple process, it requires proper attention, knowledge of the language, knowledge of different cultures, and knowledge to use advanced technical computer-assisted tools. So, skills according to the requirements are necessary to be a good translator. The localization industry is growing due to the success of an efficient translation process. And this process is carried out by the translators who should have proficient skills.
Let’s have a bird’s-eye view of some key skills to look for in translators:
1. In-depth Cultural and Traditional Knowledge
The translators should always have a deep understanding of particular cultural norms and traditions. In general, anyone can write or translate the text from one language into another. But in the localization process, translators should have detailed ideas about specific regions’ customs, traditions, local jargon, and national sentiments. Misinterpretation of these crucial initials can harm your business. For instance, in Japan, the pink color is for gents not for ladies. There is a possibility that while translating, its meaning can be delivered in different aspects. To avoid any serious mistakes that can offend the audience, vast knowledge about cultural differences is the key to being a good translator.
2. Translator Should be Bilingual or Multilingual
The first and foremost key skill of being a good translator is having a good command of various languages. This knowledge of different languages makes their career foundation. For a good translator, at least you must be bilingual or multilingual in a proficient way. As the localization industry is about context-based translation. What if you do not have command of any other language? If you do not have proficiency, there will be no chance of becoming a good translator. But being bilingual or multilingual does not mean only knowing a language. You must have to be contextual based bilingual or multilingual. For instance, if you are translating English to the Chinese language. You need to have a command of the language, local jargon, and also their traditions.
3. Knowledge of Computer-assisted Tools (CAT)
Gone are the days when only papers were required for translation. And the translator must have good writing skills. With the advent of the technical and digital revolution, the demand for large projects with technicality has been increased. For instance, video game localization requires CAT tools assistance more than mere translation. It is not a machine translation but features to ensure quality, fasting of process, etc. So, by considering the modern trends, it is pivotal for good translators to have the knowledge of modern technological equipment.
4. Marketing Skills
Business is all about marketing strategy. Having only the skills of good translators is not enough if you do not have marketing strategies. You have to communicate with clients. You have to understand their requirements, and you have to undertake their queries. Having the marketing will allow you to communicate and pursue potential customers. As various localization platforms hire vigilant translators like MarsTranslation who have the potential to communicate with customers also. Also, professional companies always look at translators’ social media channels to get an idea of how they respond to customers.
5. Management Skills
If you are going to start any work, you are likely to design a roadmap of that project’s details. You will outline the task, calculate the budget, estimate the deadline, etc. Likewise, a good translator must have management skills. Before starting, he must design the time frame, estimate the budget, translation gadgets, and communication setup. Due to these pragmatic and administrative plannings, he will be able to produce productive and efficient results. A good translator completes his work on time, he does not miss his deadline and does not break the communication barrier.
6. Well-orientated Research Skills
Research is the key element in pursuing the translation process. It does not matter if you are a beginner or an expert, you have to do research. Knowledge is stationary, not constant. As it is continuously growing, there is a need to engage yourself in research with the changing trends of knowledge. Translators can not find every word in the dictionary. Above all, the most important part is the context-based translation. And that can be only possible when you have an idea about new research tools, authentic websites, and researching techniques. It is for this reason that a good translator must have the ability to do well-oriented research. Because new techniques, words, and terms are able to garnish the overall translation process as well as translators’ performance.
7. Command over Translation Rules
Following the rules holds vital importance in any professional field. As for the localization industry, to be a good translator you have to follow some basic rules regarding translation. For instance, any good translator should do a lot of practice before starting the career. Because his lack of experience will lead to consequences. Secondly, governing the translation principles is important. It requires different translating methods, approaches to be adopted during translation, techniques to solve the problems, and long-term strategies.
8. Fluent Writing Style
As translation is all about writing and expression. To be successful in this field as a good translator, you need to have mastery of writing skills. You can not become an expert translator if you have a mere mediocre writing style. Your writing is not only limited to the descriptive style. It contains language expressions and signals. So, the localization industry is about writing and translating. A good translator must possess coherent writing skills with respect to accurate sentence structure. He should not fall for any grammatical errors. Any grammatical or syntax can change the entire meaning of the sentences. For instance, there are great grammatical variations between the Japanese and the English languages. These language differences, if not taken seriously, can cause damage.
Conclusively, it can be said that translation is not quite a simple process. Like every process, many minor details have to be kept into consideration. As translators are the soul of the translation process. So, some skills should be mastered in them to be a good translator. Without these skills, the translation process would get affected. Therefore, the above-mentioned characteristics are some major skills that should be present in a translator. Without these skills, one cannot be called a translator. Choosing a profession like a translator is like choosing a profession as a doctor. Because mere a wrong understanding or misinterpretation can result in drastic consequences. Likewise, misinterpreted translation can lead to chaos and can harm one’s business in multiple ways.