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7 Tips to Be the Most Accurate Translator You Can Be

In 2017, the global language industry revenue reached $43.08 billion and it is projected reach $47.46 billion by 2021.

We live in a worldwide age of connectedness. Business sectors traverse continents and languages and so the potential for employment in this field is always high.

Read on for 7 tips to be the most accurate translator you can and surpass your competition.

1. Specialize

Choosing a specialty not only makes you the most accurate translator you can be but also makes your job easier.

When specializing in a specific field such as technical, medical, IT, legal or marketing, you are able to become very proficient in the parlance of that industry.

You might have an excellent grasp of multiple languages, however, it is impossible to give excellent and accurate translation work in every sector. Not just anyone can translate legal documents, technical texts or scientific reports fluidly.

If you have a background in one potentially high demand industry, you can charge more for your expert knowledge in that area. Continue to add additional industry specialties which will let you be more diverse and charge more.

Having a degree or a certification in a specific type of translation will give you access to higher profile clients. You will also become the go-to person in that field.

This will lead to repeat business and an overflowing inbox. What a nice problem to have! Read 7 important language facts you should know as a translator.

2. Expand your Cultural Intelligence

Translating effectively has to do with cultural intelligence just as much as it has to do with knowledge of grammar and syntax.

To be the most accurate translator possible you should have good cultural knowledge of both your target and source languages. Effective translation work requires you to be very familiar with the cultural differences between the source and target countries.

The rules for translations require you to let clients know when text is not suitable in the target culture. You are the cultural consultant that ensures there are no cultural faux pas.

Translation work will not meet the client’s goals unless the text is received by the target audience as it was intended. This is one of the biggest aspects that sets you apart from pure machine translation. To know how to do translations, you need to sympathize with the audience who will be reading your translated text.

If you need to improve your cultural knowledge in either the source or target cultures, spend time in that culture. If that is not feasible, take classes or study material on this topic.

Cultural intelligence will not only improve your skills as a translator, but it will also help you to work with people from different backgrounds in any situation.

3. Translate Meaning Over Words

One of the most important rules for translations is to not be literal. Readers will not appreciate a carbon-copy version of a foreign language.

Be extra careful of references that may not be relevant to the target audience. For example, pop culture references rarely translate as intended.

Remember that accuracy in translation (with the exception of technical documents) means conveying the meaning of the original text. It does not mean having a stiff document that is directly mirrors the structure of the original.

Focus on making sure that the information and the feeling the readers walk away with is the same in the target language.

4. Use Reference Materials

Use any and all reference materials, style guides, glossaries and terminology databases that the client has provided. Refer to the glossary you were given.

The most accurate translators remain consistent with the terminology and style of previous jobs. Clients expect consistency in style and terminology. Utilize a translation memory system to ensure consistency across projects and review the changing needs of the translation buyer.

Do this right, and you may just land a repeat client for years to come.

5. Do Your Research

If you want to be the most accurate translator, you will want to identify relevant reference sources online. Find the brand’s website in your language, review the competitor’s site as well for good terminology to note.

While this background work can be time consuming, it pays off, in the short and long term if it makes you a trusted brand ambassador.

6. Check for Errors

One of the golden rules for translation is to always give an error-free document to the client. You may have a lyrical, accurate translation piece for them to review, but if it has typos or misspellings they will not be impressed.

Remember, your reputation is always on the line. Take the time to run your spellchecker and correct any grammatical or spelling errors.

Next, go over the document from start to finish and compare it to the original. You might want to tweak a word or two. Also look for missing text or any formatting concerns.

Most CAT tools include QA features as the standard within their software. Each tool offers different features, but they all are good at detecting untranslated segments, source text that is the same as the target, and even missing or wrong numbers.

Finally, read the final product one last time without comparing to the original. Make sure your translation work is free of literal translations and cumbersome expressions that are inappropriate.

Taking this extra time will be well worth the effort. The client will judge your competency based on this final version so it must be perfect.

7. Brush Up on Your Business Skills

Many translators work as freelancers. If this is you, you need as much business acumen as you can get.

A commitment to excellence is necessary. So is organization and punctuality. These skills will help your reputation as a professional offering translation services.

You should also get a handle on sales and marketing to help you grow your network and business opportunities. Take webinars or courses as needed.

This investment in your business will reap many rewards for you in today’s competitive market.

Being the Most Accurate Translator

Becoming the most accurate and professional translator will take time and effort. We hope these 7 tips have helped you see what areas you can improve on.

Looking for ISO certified translation services? Argo Translation can help.