Earning as a part-time translator is the highlight of your profession. This is the best solution for anyone who shares the same meaning and has translation skills; but first, you need to have good skills. It may sound so easy, but as I was reviewing some texts for clients, many translators had not mastered the text before sending it to potential clients. Here is how to improve your translation skills.
The ability to understand most of the text
As a good translator, you should have the ability to understand most of the text without using a dictionary, to the level of a native speaker. There is no need to be able to write on the same level (especially for grammar, because very few non-natives will master that skill completely), but you need to comprehend contexts as a native. Good translators always use good dictionaries or other tools to find the correct word for expressing the meanings, ideas, and terms in the target language. Just remember that these tools are here to guide you, not to complete the whole work for you.
Advice for improvement:
- Try to spend time in the origin country;
- Buy and use language guides;
- Read as many newspapers and articles in the source language as you can;
- Read the texts that match your specialization in the source language;
- Attend language courses and acquire qualifications.
The target language
These skills are often neglected by translators, as a great surprise. The translators’ job is to provide communication, so you have to be precise, accurate, and concise. Therefore, you need to possess broad vocabulary and perfect, detailed knowledge of grammar rules and usage in the target language.
The best pieces of advice to improve your translation skills:
- If you have not been to your target country for a long time, it is essential to spend time there, regain language knowledge, and acquire modern usage;
- Do not feel odd for buying language and style guides, because they are here to help you avoid the most common grammar mistakes;
- Read newspapers and articles in your target language;
- Read the texts that match your specialization in your target language;
- Think about continuing education (master, seminars, and courses) in the area of your translation specialization, so you could provide more accurate and correct translations;
- Try to check any term or meaning that you are not completely sure of. Ask friends, family, or search online (Google particularly).
Translation skills cannot be acquired overnight
You will need to understand how translation works in order to become a good translator. When you are a non-native, nobody expects you to know a language completely. Even most natives lack a deep understanding of their language. But when translating, you must know the right words, idioms, and phrases that you can use in translation.
If you have been working as a translator for some time, you must have developed a basic understanding of translation, but there is always room for improvement. You can keep on working to polish your translation skills. Here are a few tips you can follow to improve your translation skills:
- Try to broaden your knowledge of the source language by reading books and newspapers.
- Get a good dictionary of the source language and try to learn synonyms of common words.
- Look up online videos and courses for the source language.
Improving your translation skills will allow you to provide better, quality translation services.