Top Tips for a Good Translator
Translation plays a vital role in successful communication. It is more than the substitution of one word for another. It is the cornerstone of the seamless exchange of ideas and information. Highly proficient translation is a vital part of any globalization plan. Research shows that 76% of online shoppers prefer to buy products with information in their native language. Perhaps more importantly, 40% will never buy from websites in other languages.
The job might seem simple, but every language has nuances and dialects that can be complicated to learn and challenging to speak or write fluently. The ability to translate accurately is a carefully honed skill that requires significant effort and patience. By consistently adding to your skillset, you can improve your fluency and ability to include all the subtleties of correct translation effectively. These tips can help you improve your efforts as a translator.
1. Advance Your Language Knowledge
For truly effective communication, it is essential to go beyond knowing the right words to convey the right meaning. Raw translation from one language to another is fairly straightforward and can be accomplished through machine translation. Human translation preserves the speaker’s or author’s tone and style while conveying a message designed for the listener or reader. The translation will adequately convey tone, culture, and other aspects to clarify the message. You must have advanced knowledge of the source and receiver languages to achieve this effectively.
2. Develop Your Research Skills
Translators must be capable of learning extensive vocabulary, different cultures, background information, context rules, business jargon, and slang. Often, you will need to perform research quickly in different environments. This requires sound multilingual research skills using a variety of sources. To expand your research skills, you will likely need to build a physical and virtual library of reference sources and connect with other professionals to learn as much as possible about your target language.
3. Become a Voracious Reader
Reading develops vocabulary, builds familiarity with context, and creates an environment for continuous learning. Read in both your source and target languages to compare the nuances of each and the different way speech is conveyed. Reading literary works will help you learn more about dialects and the different tones used for different audiences. Listen to audiobooks composed by a native speaker of your target language, and read aloud to improve pronunciation.
4. Study the Local Culture
Good translators have a deep understanding of both the source and target cultures. This knowledge is essential to understand where cultures overlap and differ to reveal different subtle meanings and views. When speaking in your native tongue, you unconsciously use gestures and subtle tone changes based on the nature of the content and your relationship with the person you are interacting with. However, these contributions to communication may translate differently in other cultures. By developing a firm understanding of both cultures, you can understand what will translate well and avoid offensive communications. By adding culture-specific aspects to translations, you can develop more authentic relationships through your communications.
5. Develop Your Writing Skills
The written word is an important part of any translator’s job. This is especially true in a business environment where communication with business partners and customers is often relayed in written communications that range from marketing efforts to business emails. It is also a crucial part of localization for eCommerce.
While fluent speech in your target language is an important part of written translation, written communication is usually conveyed differently than spoken communication. Consider the writing style of marketing compared to formal communications with a company leader. You can improve your written translation efforts by honing your general writing skills and the skills needed for writing in your target language.
6. Be the Receiver’s Advocate
Your top priority as a translator is to share information. To accurately convey any type of communication, it is essential to include the original message’s style, tone, and meaning. Begin by trying to understand your text’s content and purpose. When you translate, consider the importance of brevity and simplicity. Context is paramount. Maintaining a large vocabulary in your target language allows you to accurately transmit different types of information without falling back on default translations. When you can effortlessly communicate all speech styles in your target language, your audience will feel more comfortable corresponding with you.
7. Maintain Professionalism
As a translator, you are expected to be an expert in conveying all communications in a specific language. While everyone makes mistakes, errors in translation will be glaringly obvious and detract from the message. You can expect hurdles to overcome, like poorly written source material and limited knowledge about local business practices. However, you should take advantage of these shortcomings. Instead, you can use your own professional knowledge to fill in the gaps and always shape language in an appropriate manner for the situation you are in.
8. Improve Your Sector Knowledge
Business is one of the most common uses of translation. Some business terms are universal. For example, every business is subject to local sales, tax, and shipping laws. Researching these ordinances will likely be a part of learning your target language and culture. However, it needs to address common terms and requirements for the specific industry of the company. To adequately convey important business information, you need to understand relevant jargon associated with the business. This knowledge will assist you in delivering smooth translations that are faithful to the original message. This requirement is even more important in medical, financial, and legal sectors, where missing the mark can have severe consequences.
9. Never Fail to Proofread and Edit
Whether you are preparing to submit your own translation or revising text from a machine translation or another translator, it is essential to strive for perfection. Search out misspellings, grammar errors, and poor word choices. Revisit the original source material and confirm your ability to convey the message as intended. Consider every edit a chance to make the text easier to read, more enjoyable, or more faithful to the original.
10. Stick to a Proven Process
It is easy to become lax when you become accustomed to performing any process. In translation, this can allow inaccuracies to build and contribute to sloppy work. In any repetitive job, it is common to become over-confident or occasionally be tempted to rush your work. Such actions can be extremely detrimental to the efficacy of translation. This is why translation courses usually teach specific processes. Translation is a mentally challenging process that always requires your full attention. Following a step-by-step process, you can always deliver your best work with attention to accuracy and tone.
A good translator is important to any effort to communicate across language barriers. Yet, there is more to good translation than knowing two different languages. You can produce accurate translations that include proper dialect, cultural awareness, and subtle nuances by upgrading your skills. If you are seeking high-quality translation services that bring your message to multiple countries with varied languages, you’ve come to the right place. Contact us at Vistatec to share some information about your translation goals.