To become an excellent translator who always deliver flawless translation, having the full professional proficiency in the source language and the target language is not enough. An experienced translator often does a better job as they know how to ensure that the translation is accurate starting from the moment they receive the project. Here are the steps to follow for you to become an excellent translator.
- Read all the instruction and reference material before starting the translation
No matter the document looks straightforward and simple, or complicated with in-depth industry knowledge involved, make sure that you read all the instruction and reference material before you accept and start the project. Unnecessary mistakes can be avoided and save you lots of time if you pay adequate attention to the instruction at the front. If you cannot fully understand the instruction or find that it demands a misrepresentation of the original document, you may need to contact the client to ask for clarification or let them know all your concerns.
- Decide responsibly whether you are the right person for the job
There are times you receive documents with in-depth terminologies and require you to have a good understanding of the topic to complete the translation. Sometimes a document would be challenging for translators who haven’t worked in the industry for a long time, and it’s important for you to decide responsibly whether you have the capability of delivering a flawless translation in the beginning. If you are not confident in your skills to complete the project in time without making any mistake, you should let the project manager or the client know at the first time. They would understand that documents with in-depth knowledge involved would be hard for someone without years of experience in that industry.
- Understand the context
One of the biggest advantages of human translation over machine translation is that translators are able to understand the context far better than machines. It’s important to understand the background information of the document and do research if needed to ensure that the translation accurately conveys the original meanings. Depending on the context and the purpose of the document, you may select different wordings and expressions, or even apply different styles of translation to the project. For example, word-for-word translation may be needed for a business contractual document, while not preferred for business marketing material.
- The translation should comply with the custom of the readers
People in different countries are used to using different idioms and measuring units. Currency being used is one of those differences among people from different countries and adapting the currency to the local one is crucial when you are translating business material with pricing to be presented to people around the world. Paying attention to the custom and cultural differences may make it more attractive for the readers, and in turn, making the client more satisfied with the translation.
- The format should be close to the original document
Nearly all the clients would expect the translation to have the same format as the original document. Although sometimes it’s challenging or very time-consuming to keep the format, this is crucial to make an accurate translation even better. You may need to practice and improve your computer skill to deliver the contents in different formats; as you become more proficient in using the software to reproduce the translation in the right format, it would take you less time.
- Make sure to check the document carefully before submission.
Even when it’s just a very simple document, people may still make mistake. You may use a variety of tools such as spellchecker to make sure the translation is flawless before you submit it to the client. But keep in mind that spellchecker can’t identify if names or other proper nouns are spelled correctly, and you may need to check all those proper nouns by yourself before submission. You may also compare the translation to the original document, to ensure that things like a short barcode in the corner are not missing from the translation.
- Correct the mistake ASAP and learn from the mistake
People make mistakes. Even an experienced translator may make a mistake, but it’s important to correct the mistake and help the client as soon as possible and learn from the mistake to prevent that from happening in the future. Moreover, many mistakes can be avoided in the translation process. If you are not sure how a sentence should be translated, and if the time allows, you may consult the project manager or the client to make sure the right wording would be selected in the translation. If it’s a rush project and you may not be able to reach the project manager or the client before the deadline, you should stay tuned and be ready to fix any mistake after the file is submitted.