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 translation skills and always watch at your translation quality. It may sound so easy, but as I was reviewing some texts for clients, I found out that many translators had not mastered the English translation skills before sending texts to potential clients.
Skills in source language
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. Working with the best materials will improve your translation quality.
The best pieces of 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.
Skills in 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 in order to provide high translation quality.
The best pieces of advice for improvement:
- 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).
The best translators always choose specializations in relation to their academic education, experience or hobbies and interests (combination of all three would be a hit!). When you decide on your specialization, first you should think about your interests. If that is something you enjoy doing, and of course if you have the appropriate and professional skills to provide high translation quality. If you do not have them, or they are too low, then there is a great probability that you will lose potential clients, that you will receive very few offers for work and, therefore, lower rates.
The best pieces of advice for improvement
- Choose a specialization area in relation to your academic or professional experience, and in relation to your hobbies and interests;
- Calculate the time necessary to perform document translation and charge rates according to it;
- It would be best to have a minimum of your specialized areas, 1-4 is optimal; if it is more than two, it would be better that these areas are related to each other, for example IT and technology, or business and finance;
- Check for the updates of the latest terminology both in your source and in the target languages.
Translation is an art
Translation is an art and translators are artists. But like all other arts, translation cannot be perfected without continuous practice. If a translator wishes to become the best at their job, they must give their full attention to each task and try to improve their translation skills every day. A good translator has not only the best vocabulary but also a lot of hours of practice to their credit. That’s why good translation quality is the difference between an experienced translator and someone who is not fully committed to their job as a translator.
If you want your translation’s quality to be exemplary then you should follow these basic rules:
- Take out time for practicing every day.
- Read translated works of famous translators.
- Don’t give up when you don’t become an expert straight away. Learning a skill requires time, and you must give yourself that time.
- Be fully committed to your work and never cut corners to become a good translator.
If you like what you are doing and you enjoy your niche you will always provide high translation quality.