Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
The activity of translation essentially consumes the majority of an individual’s creative side. It is exciting and fun to decipher a message and encode it into another language.
If you are considering a career in translation, here are some tips to get you started:
1. You have to think about whether you want to be a freelancer or work as an employee. Working as a freelancer is a long and difficult path and you will have to break out of your comfort zone several times, learn a lot of new skills and be very proactive. The next step is to gain experience as quickly as possible.
2. You need to know both the source text and the target text very well. It is advisable to read written materials in the target languages to familiarize yourself with the vocabulary and phrases. Diversify the kind of materials you read. Before you start translating the text, you must read it in its entirety. If you do not do so, you may only translate words instead of their meaning in the context.
3. Whether you translate into or from English, French, German, or any other language, use short and clear sentences. Using long sentences can confuse your readers, the text being too difficult to follow. Be as straightforward and simple as possible.
4. Using English terminology is always a good idea if you are not sure how to translate a particular word or sentence. Adapt it to the target language you translate.
5. One of the best ways to learn a language is to speak it. It is important to participate in debates and groups that use the target language. You will find out what you need to improve.
6. If you want to become an expert, you will need to learn not only how to write and read in that language, but also the culture and style of speaking. A visit to a country with native speakers will help you interact with the people of that country and so you will learn and understand the local culture and the particularities of the language.
7. Texts have different goals and purposes. This is why it is up to you as a translator to adapt to your reader. Some books or texts are intended for younger audiences and you will need to use an appropriate tone. Others may be specialized in certain areas or intended for the elderly. This will also require an appropriate degree of adaptation.
8. Even if you are a professional translator, it is often a good idea to consult a language expert. Translating texts is more difficult than it seems and you should not let any word or slang slow you down in this process. Do everything you can to speed up the process, getting help from a language expert.
If you want to find out about the qualities of a good translator, check out our article on this topic: What are the qualities of a good translator?
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