Guide How To Become a Translator: Your Step By Step Guide To Becoming a Translator

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I know several translators who specialize in very narrow subject areas, such as cosmetics or waste management, and do very well. They can speak directly to a special target group, and their clients view them as valuable experts worth paying good money for. Most translators these days work with a computer-aided translation tool, or CAT tool, and have to know how computers and different software programs work, be able to learn to use new tools easily, and understand how to do research and market themselves online.

To be a good freelance translator, you also have to be proficient at keyboarding in order to be profitable. You need to be able to type fast, with all of your fingers, even if you use a speech-to-text software program, since you will need to edit the texts you produce. If you can provide good customer service, your clients will appreciate you and come back for more.

Marketing skills are also valuable; you cannot be a successful freelance translator without marketing your services. You need to be motivated to continually market your services, and you need to be organized and disciplined in order to meet deadlines and make money efficiently. This does not necessarily have to be a degree in translation.

There may be other skills that are useful to have as a freelance translator.


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Most translators I know, including myself, enjoy learning and strive to constantly learn new things, and those are also good qualities to have as a freelance translator. Are you a constant learner? Please share your thoughts below, especially if you can think of other skills that are important when becoming a freelance translator.

For more information and help to create a marketing plan and get your year started right, check out the Quick Start Guide — 8 steps to a marketing plan for translators. Thank you for subscribing! One last thing, check your email to confirm you really want all my marketing tips and checklists.

I look forward to helping you grow your business! All the best, Tess. I shared this article on Linkedin. Thank you. Hello i liked your article it is very useful and everything is written clearly what makes it easily understandable. Thank you for sharing this blog with us. I enjoyed your article it is extremely valuable and everything is composed unmistakably what makes it effectively justifiable.

Much obliged to you for offering this blog to us. Knowledge and experience about the thing which is to be translated is a must according to me. Cultural point of view in both source and target is a most important and genuine skill one translator should have. Thanks for the blog, it is very informative. Thanks for sharing the explanatory tips with us, I also agree with these points. Being professional is the most important thing in the translations, love to share it as much as i can!!!

I completely agree that becoming a freelance translaor is such a great idea. Thanks for sharing these top skills. Hello Tess…..

So, You Want To Be A Translator?

I completely agree with you and these 8 skills must succeed freelance translators are very helpful for every freelance translators, love to read it thanks for sharing such a use full information. I really like the way you are describing about the whole stuff. Thanks for sharing the valuable tips for better translating.

Thank you so much for the post; reading your blog was very informative! I enjoyed reading and learning from your content. I agree with the points you have mentioned here. Great Post.!!!! Thanks for sharing this post with us it was really very informative and quite helpful for my small research. Thanks again. Hello… Thank you very much for sharing these translation tips, it is very helpful for any translators.

Your email address will not be published. Episode — Marketing for very specialized translators — Interview with Karen Tkaczyk. Episode — Blogging for translators — interview with Catherine Christaki. How to Become a Successful Freelance Translator.

How to Start a Translation Career: A Guide for Students

Excellent writing skills in your native language To succeed as a freelance translator, you have to be a very good writer, with excellent grammar and knowledge of different writing styles in your native language. How to improve these skills: If you are not living in a country where your native language is spoken, it is extremely important that you spend a lot of time in such a country as often as you can in order to keep up with the evolution of the language.

Purchase and refer to language and style guides, and update these resources regularly. Read newspapers and journals, watch TV and listen to radio in your target language. Take continuing education courses to improve your writing skills and writing style. Collaborate with proofreaders and ask to see the changes they make so you can both learn from each other.

Excellent reading and comprehension skills in your source language s To succeed as a freelance translator, you need to be fluent or almost fluent in your source language s so you can understand source texts perfectly and truly know what you are translating.

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How to Become a Translator: 7 Steps to Your Dream Job | FluentU Language Learning

How to improve these skills: Spend time each year in a country where your source language is spoken. Read, listen and watch material in your source language. Take language courses in your source language. Purchase and refer to language and style guides. Cultural knowledge in both your target and source language s A good freelance translator is very familiar with the cultural differences between the country or countries in which the the source language s and target language s are spoken.

How to improve these skills: Spend time in both the source and target cultures. Take classes in intercultural communication and study material on the different cultures. One easy way to grow and maintain your language skills is by studying regularly with FluentU. FluentU takes real-world videos—like movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language lessons. Being able to provide clear, efficient translation often requires specialized training in addition to language study.

How to become a certified translator in Canada

Here are some options to consider:. A certification in translation is an easy way to show you have the skills necessary to do the work. Additionally, there are industry-specific certifications available, though these are often targeted at interpreters. However, getting certified as an interpreter in a specific field can still show that you know a lot about the language used in this context, so it could also help you get translating work.

Step 2: Get Tested

For instance, becoming a certified paralegal could help you get translating work in the legal field by showing that you understand the industry. Similarly, being a certified nurse might help you get medical translation work. For instance, you might consider studying words that are particularly necessary in medicine, business, government or education.

There are several ways to do this. For instance, there are plenty of medical Spanish courses and resources available. Then, you can look up and study the equivalent vocabulary words in the language you want to translate from. Some language training services, like Cactus Language Training and ALTA Language Services , offer customized training to help meet client needs, so they might be able to customize a course to teach you more specialized vocabulary.

A lot of translating requires using specific computer programs. This is meant to make the translation process quicker and more efficient. Common programs used by professional translators that you might want to familiarize yourself with include:.

The linked websites can give you a brief introduction into the capabilities and interface of the programs. You might also consider subscribing to get more firsthand experience with the programs. One of the cruel ironies of translating and most other career fields is that to get most jobs, you already need work experience in the field, leaving you with a conundrum—how do you get that experience in the first place?

The answer is simpler than you might think. You might find your first gigs through acquaintances or business connections. If you want to make yourself even more marketable, you might want to acquire more languages that you can translate between to expand your range of offerings. However, what if you also managed to add Spanish to your range of offerings? Now, you could translate from Spanish to English or Chinese to English. If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn languages with real-world videos.