Every job requires a certain skill set and amount of knowledge and being a translator is no different. It is often assumed that anyone with a good education and the ability to converse in two languages can become a good translator. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Being a translator does not just mean knowing how to replace one word with another. There are numerous other skills you need to possess, of which the fundamental two, includes an understanding of the wider context and creating meaning within in.
Here we have listed out 7 more important skills a translator should possess:
1: WRITING SKILLS:
Translators need to be good writers in both the native and target language. It is not enough for them to just be informative; they need to have a flair for it and a way with words. Reading has a huge influence on how you write and thus, translators will need to read a lot of books in both languages to improve the way they write. Finally, Language is ever evolving and thus, translations might need to attend writing classes and online courses to keep up with the ever changing vocabulary and use of words.
2: CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE AND INTELLIGENCE:
A translator deals with the cultural barrier that exists between two different countries and thus needs to be aware about the cultural differences that exist between these countries. They also need to act as cultural consultants at time, telling their clients if something is culturally inappropriate.
Translators need to be good listeners. They need to properly listen to the text or recording at hand before going forth to interpret it. They need to listen carefully to their client’s requirements, before pitching in their own opinions and clarifications. They must remember it is not about what they might want to say, but what their clients want to convey.
4: SPECIALIST KNOWLEDGE:
Translators need to be specialised in at least one field. This can widen their horizon beyond just translating and give them something to work with later if they decide to quit. Further, IT, Legal knowledge etc. can be exceptionally beneficial when they need to translate any legal documents or technical terms.
5: OBSERVATION AND EYE FOR DETAIL:
Translators need to be observant and must pay close attention to what people are saying. Many colloquial phrases and Jargon are not found in dictionaries and the only way to learn them is to carefully observe the local people who speak the language. Attention must be given to even the smallest linguistic detail if they must accurately translate it.
6: COMPUTER SKILLS:
Today translators usually have to work with a computer aided translation tool, or CAT tool, and most client transactions are done online through their websites and thus translators must have thorough knowledge as to how different computers and programming software’s work. They need to invest in a good computer with the best possible internet connection to hold online calls and conversations with clients without interruptions.
7: TIME MANAGEMENT:
A lot of translators take up individual projects and work at home as freelancers, and thus need to know how to manage time and their work hours. Time is money and thus, if translators aren’t good time managers, it will result in different projects clashing, which will further lose them a lot of clients. They need organise their work and make sure they follow a schedule to stay at the top of their game.
It is evident that being a linguist isn’t the same thing as being a good translator. Translating is a much more challenging job and needs a lot of talent, study and hard work to master it. They need to stay connected to two cultures that could be entirely different and manage to form a bond between them, beyond just the knowledge of their languages.