Three easy steps to improve your freelance translator skills

Three easy steps to improve your freelance translator skills
24.12.2020 | Language Learning, Productivity

Regardless of industry or language pair, the demand for translation services is growing in our increasingly globalized world. Companies can cooperate regardless of borders through the Internet and other modern technology. Translation is vital in this process and helps you avoid language barriers in your communication. Despite significant improvements in machine translation over the past few years, the need for human translators has never been greater.

For you, as a freelance translator, this need for high-quality translators is good news! Be warned, though. The competition can be fierce since many people are discovering the merits of the job. That's why making sure you have all the skills you need is essential to finding a better job and building a solid career. To that end, we've put together some top tips to improve your translation skills.

 

1. Continue to work on additional languages

The comprehension level of the text you have been asked to translate will determine its quality and reliability. Therefore, being a successful freelance translator who maintains a high proficiency level in the source language/translation languages is fundamental. This requires regular time and effort to perfect your skills.

Tips for improving your source language skills:

  1. Source language courses are not just for beginners. Constant communication with a teacher who will be with you all the time is extremely valuable. It is best to choose one-on-one tutoring, as the tutor can tailor the lessons to your needs.
  2. Surround yourself with language as much as possible, especially in writing. Read, write, and do practical translations whenever possible.
  3. The best place to spend time is in a country where that language is used. If this is not possible for you, get people with whom you can practice a lot. If you can find fellow translators, it would be so much the better! For example, if you are a Chinese-to-English translator, establish a relationship with an English-to-Chinese translator. It will be very helpful to share each other's experiences of translation.
  4. Check out the guidelines for communication and writing style and
  5. apply them. Enjoy watching movies, listening to music, and any activities that involve language - having fun while you learn always brings more success!

 

2. Perfect your command of your native language

Most translators give priority to their foreign language skills. Still, while this is important, your native language skills should not be neglected. Exemplary writing skills are essential to performing a translation that is not only readable but also accurate. Qualified interpreters not only have an excellent command of grammar but also understand different styles of writing. They can assess the needs of the target reader and produce texts that meet those needs.

Tips for improving your native language skills:

  1. Read the guidelines for vocabulary use and writing style and apply them to your work. Update your sources regularly.
  2. Collaborate with people in the field, contributors, editors, and other translators to share knowledge. The people who can give you honest feedback on your work are priceless. Be sure you are open to this constructive feedback!
  3. Read! People who write well always read well. Any kind of reading is helpful, but try to devote some time to reading texts in your field.
  4. Suppose you do not live in a country where your native language is spoken. In that case, it is important to create opportunities to communicate in your native language. You need to be aware of the evolution of language to avoid creating texts that sound old-fashioned.

 

3. Specialize in more than one subject area

If you have one or two subject areas to focus on, you will be very successful in your work. When it comes to translation, the saying "Jack of all trades and master of none" is true. When you understand the relevant topics, you will spend less time learning the terms and translating faster. This efficiency will have financial benefits. Specialization in a particular area also allows you to develop stronger relationships with loyal customers. Having regular customers means you don't have to worry about job instability and cash flow.

Many translators choose to specialize in a particular area of their profession. If that doesn't work for you, focus on a topic you find interesting and easy to understand. As you gain more and more experience in a particular area, you will communicate directly with the client and discuss the topic of interest. Over time, you will promote yourself and get recognition from satisfied customers as a valuable professional.

Tips for improving your specialty:

  1. Once you have chosen your subject area, try to be consistent. The more experience you gain in one area, the more you will be perceived as an expert. The more your employment opportunities will expand.
  2. Make a plan to explore your area of specialization further. Will you read relevant articles, consult with experts, or attend courses? All of these opportunities are of great value!
  3. Once you have mastered the subject, you should remember to keep up with new advancements related to the subject and update the language terminology in your native language and your source language. Keep reading the latest publications and consider going to industry events, which are also a great place to network.

 

By following these basic recommendations, you will enhance your position and get a good reputation. Remember, being a professional translator is a job, and it's worth it in the end.

 

At iText, our talented translators specialize in subject areas such as business translation and IT translation. Our linguists are highly qualified and only translate into their native language. If you are looking for a professional translation company that you can rely on, contact us. For more information or a translation quote, contact us today.

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For you, as a freelance translator, this need for high-quality translators is good news! Be warned, though. The competition can be fierce since many people are discovering the merits of the job. That's why making sure you have all the skills you need is essential to finding a better job and building a solid career. To that end, we've put together some top tips to improve your translation skills.

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