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5 Tips to becoming a successful translator

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Learning how to become a successful translator is not a day’s job. If you are reading this piece, chances are you know that already. In the same light, though, this does not mean it is impossible to become one.

In fact, the reason why many fail at translations is not because they do not have a good enough grasp of the languages they are working with, but because of the way they go about translating.

If you want to know how to become a successful translator, here’s what you should do:


1 Get your tools

Every job has a toolbox to help the worker get the best result out of their efforts. The same is true for translations.

Before you get started, check to see that you are equipped with all of your encyclopedias, bilingual dictionaries, dictionaries for various languages and more. And of course your Translation Memory software.

With that, you already have one foot in the door to a successfully translated text.


2 Read through

Good translators don´t just dive into the document they work on. They take the time to read the entire document, getting the context of what they are supposed to translate.

This gives them the ability to set a tone and style in their mind such that the final work comes out with the same tonality as the original piece. Without reading through, you might also be caught out with wrong expressions when you must have progressed largely into the work at hand.


3 Understanding Purpose

Now that you have done a read-through, what is the purpose of that piece of text? If you can’t identify it, you might have to take another read.

Once you identify the purpose, your mind will be better set on the kind of diction to use in conveying the same message across in the target language.


4 Read out loud

Spoken language is not the same as the written language, but they work hand in hand for the best results. Whenever you translate, say, a phrase, it helps to pronounce it and hear yourself say such phrases aloud.

Doing so gives you an insight into how appropriate (or otherwise) your choice of words is, quickly informing you of what you could have done better before going on with other parts of the document.


5 Read again

Now that you must have reproduced the original document in other words, it is time to re-read the document. This time, you are reading through the translated piece. It always helps to read things aloud so that you’ll know how they sound.

Such practice will quickly help you eliminate wrong word placements, inappropriate phrases, misplaced contexts and so much more.

It helps if you have a native speaker of the target language around. Give your document to them and listen to their opinion.


Rinse and repeat the process. You now know how to become a successful translator!

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