“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” -Nelson Mandela
We are all aware of how difficult it is to learn another language, let alone a second one you can be fluent on. From this, we can safely assume that becoming a translator is no easy feat. A lot of hard work, dedication, and commitment go into it.However, being a translator and doing professional translation services is one of rapid growing fields that would, in turn, would offer an avenue for learning new things and an opportunity to meet different types of people. Apart from this, being a translator is a noble job—as it is, they are the metaphorical bridge of communication that effectively conveys what one language is trying to say in another language. In essence, a translator is the necessary vessel of communication for people of different languages. In effect, these people with very diverse backgrounds can not only talk to one another, but learning and growing would also ensue.
However, becoming a successful translator does not happen overnight. Many people might think that all it would take to succeed is to know two different languages and effectively translating them to the other, but this is an oversight and vast underestimation of the profession. So, if you are looking to become a successful translator or are hoping to improve your skills, here are some of the skills you need to possess:
1.) Excellent reading and comprehension skills in your source languages
By now, you should know that in order to succeed in translation services, you would need to be fluent or at least almost fluent in all of your source languages. With language fluency, comprehension and understanding of source texts will come to a lot easier which will make you more efficient in translating texts. To hone your skills in this aspect, you can read, listen and watch material in the source language and take language courses in your source language. If your finances permit, spend time each year in a country where your source language is spoken and mingle with the locals.
2.) Excellent writing skills in your native language
Successful translators possess superb writing skills. Apart from that, they have good grammar and are well versed in the various writing styles in their native language. Bilingual translators should only translate into their mother tongue as translations will be read by native speakers. These native speakers have more experience in the field, and if you are unable to write at their level or at the level which your audience would read, you would only bungle it up and cause unnecessary confusion for both your clients and yourself.
3.) Good computer and keyboarding skills
Translators often work with computer-aided translation tools (CAT tools) which mean good computer and keyboarding skills are necessary. Apart from the fluency in a source language they are required to possess, successful translators should be computer savvy enough to know how different software programs work, have an excellent leverage of the new tools and be able to market themselves online effectively. Keyboard or typing skills are also necessary if one wishes to be a profitable and competent translator. After all, you would need to use all of your fingers as even if you use a speech-to-text software program, you would still need to do some editing to produce stellar work.
4.) A specialization in one or two subject areas
If you have a certain affinity for a particular subject, you are more likely to talk about it and are able to provide better translations on that specific subject as a result. Suppose you are employed in a company as a translator, for you to be effective not only in translating services but in marketing a particular product as well, you need to know about their services and products to avoid translation errors. A competent translator has the ability to discuss a subject matter with the people who wrote it as if they were one with them. Ideally, you should choose an area of expertise as well.
5.) Excellent customer service skills
Customer service entails everything from contacting clients, collecting payments and talking to them. Providing excellent customer service to your clients would leave a positive mark on them. So much so, that the next time any of their friends or colleagues would need professional translation services, they would refer you. Additionally, marketing skills are indispensable in this field as you cannot fully exploit your skills and services if you fail to market your services.
About Author :
Raiza is a writer and a dog lover . She is currently working at Lexcode Professional Translation Agency . In her spare time , she enjoys reading and composing music.