Translation requires the individual to accurately convey the meaning of the written words from one language to another.
As a translator, you will convert written material from one or more ‘source languages’ into the ‘target language’, making sure that the translated version conveys the meaning of the original as clearly as possible. The target language is normally your mother tongue.
Trans-creating may also be part of the job, which is a mix of translation, localization and copywriting, where the text is culturally and linguistically adapted to suit the reader.
Translators predominantly work with business, technical, legal and scientific written materials including letters, reports, articles, books etc. Their work incorporates:
- reading documents
- writing and editing copies
- preparing summaries
- consulting clients
- developing contacts and using translation computer programmes
- read through original material and rewrite it in the target language, ensuring that the meaning of the source text is retained
- use translation memory software, such as Wordfast, memoQ, Across, SDL Trados and Transit NXT, to ensure consistency of translation within documents and help efficiency
- use specialist dictionaries, thesauruses and reference books to find the closest equivalents for terminology and words used
- use appropriate software for presentation and delivery
- research legal, technical and scientific phraseology to find the correct translation
- liaise with clients to discuss any unclear points
- proofread and edit final translated versions
- provide quotations for translation services offered
- consult with experts in specialist areas
- retain and develop knowledge on specialist areas of translation
- follow various translation-quality standards to ensure legal and ethical obligations to the customer.
A language degree is normally the minimum academic requirement for entry. You can also become a translator with a degree in any subject, provided you are fluent in two or more languages. However, certain degrees may increase your chances of securing work and these include:
- translation studies with languages
- business, law or science with languages.
- fluency in two or more languages
- a good understanding and in-depth knowledge of language/country-specific cultures, known as localisation
- subject matter knowledge specific to the content you’ll be translating
- excellent writing skills and command of grammar
- attention to detail combined with the ability to work quickly to meet deadlines
- the ability to use initiative in a commercial context
- proficiency in the use of a range of computer packages – knowledge of translation-oriented applications and software is helpful, though not essential
- self-motivation, particularly if working as a freelancer
- eagerness to acquire new knowledge.