What makes a good translator? There’s definitely more to being a successful member of this profession than just language proficiency. What exactly are the qualities of a good translator that will make them stand out in the crowd? Below we discuss some of the characteristics that seems to be a prerequisite of a good-quality translation and a sign of professionalism. Would you add anything to the list?
Top qualities of a good translator
#1. Language qualifications
For starters, a high level of language skills, although it’s worth pointing out that the emphasis is not only on proficient use of a foreign language, but also the native-language competence.
But there’s more – the ability to translate a text also requires the knowledge of the cultural context. A good translator must not only understand the source language perfectly, but also be able to detect all the nuances, ambiguities, humour or irony and transfer them from one language into another.
#2 Decent Writing Skills
Equally important, is to have excellent writing skills, as the ease to formulate thoughts into words comes in handy when translating both literary and technical texts. Readiness to experiment with words and an ability to express ideas in a concise way (especially when you are faced with word limitations) is also of great importance.
Another thing you can’t underrate is specialist knowledge, and that includes having a particular area of expertise. Some projects require detailed knowledge of a given subject, which is something not every translator can provide. While narrowing your services to one or a few areas of expertise may limit the potential number of clients, it can be beneficial in the long run. Having your own niche will send your prospective clients a signal that you’re an expert in your field. That’s definitely more satisfactory than focusing on more general translations. Plus, you won’t have to compete with a plenthora of other non-specialized translators.
#4 Knowledge of the industry
Specialist knowledge of a subject matter is important, but there are other factors you shouldn’t overlook. Some of the qualities of a good translator also include being computer savvy, having decent touch-typing skills, and a good command of CAT tools, especially if you’re planning on engaging in collaboration projects with other translators or working for a translation agency. Knowing your way around CAT tools can make you more competitive on the market and make you work more efficiently.
If you still haven’t had a chance to come to grips with any CAT tool, it’s high time! Give it a try with DVX3 Professional – test it completely free of charge for 30 days and then come back for more. Here and here, you can learn all about its features and functionalities.
#5 A thirst for knowledge
A good translator, no matter how successful, shouldn’t rest on their laurels. Instead, they should try to be up to date with the changes and innovations in the industry and their specialization field. Being open to new things will also make you more competitive and successful. Curiosity and eagerness to learn about new developments and innovations also shows you are serious about your career. Staying in the current may also help in building connections, and you can never undervalue the power of networking.
#6 Self-discipline and management skills
Specific personality traits are no less important, as delivering translations often involves working on tight deadlines, dealing with pressure and stress. That’s why good organizational skills and the ability to stick to a routine are a must.