Being a translator is a challenging yet rewarding job. Many people choose this career path and plan their education accordingly, often getting a bachelor’s degree and completing other postgraduate qualification courses. With knowledge and experience come many interesting tasks and assignments, and you can be sure that this profession never gets boring.
Do you have what it takes to provide professional translation services? In this article, you’ll learn what you can do to achieve anything you want in this career field. Keep on reading to find out what are our five effective tips to becoming a professional translator.
Find Your Niche
One thing that’s certain about translation is that it’s not a boring job. In almost any field imaginable, there’s a need for translators’ services. As such, you can make your pick according to your preferences. Working in an area that’s interesting to you will help you produce better translations and deepen your knowledge and understanding of the subject.
Once you find something you’re passionate about, you’re more likely to become an expert the more you dig into it. You can also consider getting a certification or accreditation. This way, you’ll prove you’re knowledgeable, dedicated, and that you’re in the industry for a reason.
Hone Your Computer Skills
If you’re a language service provider, you won’t survive in the industry without technology and technical expertise regardless of your chosen language and niche. As a translator, you’ll need a wide range of tools to make your job easier. Typically, you’ll need to know how to use MS Office programs, desktop publishing, and CAT (computer-assisted translation) tools.
Fortunately, you can learn how to use specialized programs and software in time. Once you get accustomed to them and keep using them regularly, you’ll notice how quickly your skills improve. Sure, you’re unlikely to avoid tedious or extremely detailed tasks, but technology can make them more manageable.
Learn from Other Translators
You won’t become a professional yourself if you don’t learn from experts in your field. Some people may have a knack for language learning and linguistics. However, without proper guidance and some reference figures, you’re very unlikely to improve your skills and grow as a specialist.
If you’re studying to become a translator or you’ve already obtained your degree, and you’re now looking for some job opportunities, it’s always a good idea to look up to your older colleagues. They have more experience, and many of them will be more than happy to share their knowledge with you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, ask for advice, or simply compare your translations. It’s your best bet to discover what makes for expert performance. Translating is, by no means, a team discipline. However, it takes a village to make a good translator, so don’t hesitate to ask for help whenever you need it.
Many translators work as freelancers. As such, it’s important to hone your networking skills to ensure a steady workflow. Consider building a website showcasing your projects, and always have your resume at hand. Join online groups for translators and look for companies, government organizations, and translation agencies that may be interested in your services. Starting out is never easy, but begin on the right foot, and you can expect many assignments and useful business contacts coming your way.
Language, technology, the linguistic and translation society, and your clients’ needs are constantly evolving. As such, it’s safe to say that the worst thing a translator can do is to stop learning. Don’t let your natural curiosity for the language die, and make sure you’re up to date with the latest technological advancements, field-related research, and industry news. You can also pursue your academic career to improve your marketability and gain new knowledge that will allow you to get into a new field or specialize in your current one even more.
Even though being a translator, especially those who work as a freelancer, is no easy feat, it’s an interesting and fulfilling career. If you’re doing it because of your passion for languages and you’re an excellent wordsmith, then you’re up for years of exciting tasks and linguistic challenges.
If you want to build a career as a professional translator, you have to start from scratch. Choose your language and niche wisely, learn from other professionals in your field, and make sure you’re up to date with the latest technologies and linguistic news. Always provide your clients with the best translation possible, and keep working on your personal brand. With time and effort, you’ll see it was all worth it. Good luck!