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10 Essential Translation Skills and Abilities a Freelancer Must Have

10 Essential Translation Skills and Abilities a Freelancer Must Have
translation skills and abilities

10 Essential Translation Skills and Abilities a Freelancer Must Have  If you are looking to become a freelance translator and start a great career in translation, there are some translation skills and abilities you must have or develop to become a professional. There are plenty of people that consider freelancing an easy job, which allows one to work whenever he wants while becoming a freelancer is not easy. The stress of not getting enough assignments to make ends meet is tough to deal with.

Must have translation skills and abilities for a freelancer

No matter what the internet and successful people say, going to school and college is very important for survival. Sure, there are a few who got lucky and established empires without getting a higher education. But they are the exceptions, and you can’t rely on exceptions to give you the right advice. Along with knowledge, having skills but also research skills is also pretty important. When you have a useful talent, you can get by even with a little knowledge. It is only with the power of skills that many people escaped their ordinary lives and made a name for themselves on the global front.

Every job, no matter which industry it belongs to, cannot be appropriately handled without having the necessary talent and general knowledge. Without it, you won’t get anywhere in life. The translation industry requires the same thing. Your translator skills have to be perfect if you want a make a name for yourself by doing accurate translations for people.
Many people believe that being fluent in two languages is all you need in order to become a translator. This is far from the truth. To provide high-quality translation services, you need to have (and further develop) the following translation skills and abilities.
native language knowledge

1. Excellent command of your native language

To become a freelance translator, you have to be an excellent writer with extensive knowledge of grammar and different writing styles. Keep in mind that your translated text will be read by native speakers with a lot of experience, so if you can’t reach that level of knowledge, you might cause trouble to your clients. Usually, translators only translate to their native language (called target language), and we follow this rule all the time.

second language knowledge

2. Excellent command of your second language

Translating a text (called source text) is not replacing work in a language with its correspondent on another language which is your target audience. That is what machine translation does, and the results are pretty bad. To be able to translate from a language, you have to fluent in that language and be able to understand the text you are translating. If you are only almost fluent in your second language, you will only be able to translate from your second language to your native language.

cultural knowledge

3. Extensive cultural knowledge in both languages

A freelance translator must be very familiar with the cultural differences between countries. If you are only translating words and preserve the meaning of the text you might not do a good service for your client. What if some of the text is inappropriate in the target culture? Here are some translation blunders that had a disastrous outcome for some companies due to not adapting the translation to the local culture.

avid learner

4. Avid learner and researcher

If you are just starting up you will have to do a lot of research to provide quality. Terminology, words, local concepts are only a few things you will need to be able to dig for and develop the ability to use those in your translations.

computer skills

5. Great computer skills

This is one of the must-have translation skills and abilities for a freelancer. You will have to know the ins and outs of your computer and how to use it efficiently. Fast typing skills and the ability to understand how different tools work will give you a great advantage.

subject area specialization

6. Specialize in one or more subject areas

Knowing a lot about a specific subject will allow you to provide a faster and better translation. Specializing in a few subject areas is a huge advantage for a freelance translator as he won’t have to spend a lot of time researching for specific terms. Deep understanding the subject is extremely important.

self motivation

7. Self motivation and organization

You have to be self-motivated and perfectly organized in order to market and sell your services. Promoting yourself is not easy and motivation along with computer and internet skills plays an important role in marketing your translation skills and abilities in order to get more clients.

management skills

8. Management skills

You have to have great time management skills in order to be able to deliver your translations on time. Delays are never an option when it comes to translation as each and every client wants his work delivered in due time, no matter how busy you can be at that moment with other jobs.

customer oriented

9. Customer service skills

A freelance translator should be customer-oriented, always communicating with its customers about their needs. It is not enough to communicate until you get the job, you need to be ready to answer all your client’s questions during and after the project.

accessible and affordable

10. Accessible and affordable

A translator must be affordable and easily accessible all the time. While there are customers that allow you some time to respond, there are also clients that want your full attention asap and they do not come back if they do not find you the first time.

Free Video’s To Help You With Getting “The” Translation Skills

  • How would you describe your language skills?

    There are various ways to describe your language skills. If you say you are a native speaker of a language then that means you know it very well. Beginners are those who only know the basics of a language. Intermediate skills are when someone has not become fluent in a language but they have become familiar with it.

  • What are the different levels of language proficiency?

    Here are the different levels of language proficiency:

    • Beginner: when someone is only somewhat familiar with a language
    • Intermediate: it is the level where a person has learned a language to some extent
    • Fluent: once someone achieves fluency, they can be considered fluent
    • Advanced: it is the level at which a person has reached the height of language proficiency
  • What does command of language mean?

    Command of language means that someone has sufficient knowledge of a vernacular. It is often used when someone has learned a foreign language efficiently and achieved fluency in it. The person who has command of a language will be able to speak it without any hesitation and will not make any mistakes.

  • How do you mention languages on a resume?

    You can mention your language skills on a resume in a number of ways, but here are the most commonly used levels:

    • Elementary, it is the same as the beginner level when someone has basic knowledge of a language
    • Limited Working, people at this level can speak a language with some hesitation
    • Professional, if you don’t have trouble speaking or reading a vernacular then you are at this level
    • Native, this level is only for the native speakers of a language
  • How can I improve my translation skills?

    There are multiple ways to improve your translation skills. The best way to go about it is to read as much as you can. It is also important to work on your vocabulary. Learning will help with your vocabulary but you should also write down every new word that you learn to keep yourself from forgetting it.

  • What do you need to become a freelance translator?

    In order to become a freelance translator, you should:

    • Get a degree in translation or language studies
    • Become fluent in your second language
    • Learn about the cultural aspects of your second language
    • Practice as much as you can
    • Gain experience by volunteering for different organizations
    • Set up your profile on freelancing platforms and start offering your services
  • How can a freelance translator succeed?

    A freelance translator can succeed by being consistent. They should also make sure that they are at the top of their game by practicing regularly. Another way a freelance translator can succeed is by joining a well-known agency. This way, they won’t have to look for projects themselves and be able to earn a decent amount of money.

  • How do I market myself as a freelance translator?

    There are various ways you can market yourself as a freelance translator. You can:

    • Post the link to your freelance profile on your social media
    • Share your portfolio in freelancing groups
    • Send proposals to big companies
    • Volunteer for different organizations to get free publicity
    • Deliver quality services to get word of mouth publicity

Download for free a sample of a translator resume

How would you describe your language skills?

There are various ways to describe your language skills. If you say you are a native speaker of a language then that means you know it very well. Beginners are those who only know the basics of a language. Intermediate skills are when someone has not become fluent in a language but they have become familiar with it.

timely delivery

What are the different levels of language proficiency?

Here are the different levels of language proficiency:

 

  • Beginner: when someone is only somewhat familiar with a language
  • Intermediate: it is the level where a person has learned a language to some extent
  • Fluent: once someone achieves fluency, they can be considered fluent
  • Advanced: it is the level at which a person has reached the height of language proficiency

What does the command of language mean?

Command of language means that someone has sufficient knowledge of a vernacular. It is often used when someone has learned a foreign language efficiently and achieved fluency in it. The person who has command of a language will be able to speak it without any hesitation and will not make any mistakes.

How do you mention languages on a resume?

You can mention your language skills on a resume in a number of ways, but here are the most commonly used levels:

 

  • Elementary, it is the same as the beginner level when someone has a basic knowledge of a language
  • Limited Working, people at this level can speak a language with some hesitation.
  • Professional, if you don’t have trouble speaking or reading a vernacular then you are at this level.
  • Native, this level is only for the native speakers of a language.
keep to your promises
helpful tips translator

How can I improve my translation skills?

There are multiple ways to improve your translation skills. The best way to go about it is to read as much as you can. It is also important to work on your vocabulary. Learning will help with your vocabulary but you should also write down every new word that you learn to keep yourself from forgetting it.

What do you need to become a freelance translator?

In order to become a freelance translator, you should:

 

  • Get a degree in translation or language studies.
  • Become fluent in your second language
  • Learn about the cultural aspects of your second language
  • Practice as much as you can
  • Gain experience by volunteering for different organizations
  • Set up your profile on freelancing platforms and start offering your services

How can a freelance translator succeed?

A freelance translator can succeed by being consistent during the whole Translation Project. They should also make sure that they are at the top of their game by practicing regularly. Another way a freelance translator can succeed is by joining a well-known agency. This way, they won’t have to look for projects themselves and be able to earn a decent amount of money.

How do I market myself as a freelance translator?

There are various ways you can market yourself as a freelance translator. You can:

 

  • Post the link to your freelance profile on your social media
  • Share your portfolio in freelancing groups.
  • Send proposals to big companies.
  • Volunteer for different organizations to get free publicity
  • Deliver quality services to get word of mouth publicity
Skills Translator
skills translator

Timely delivery is important.

When it comes to freelancing, the most convenient part of the business is doing things according to your own schedule. But as soon as you are given a deadline, a time frame to deliver something, then there is no backing out. For a freelance translator, delivering translation on time is not only a professional obligation but also a matter of sustaining and building an impeccable reputation.

Although the following are not translation skills and abilities, it is important to mention them. Freelance translators may have the upper hand as they are not bounded by any contract with a given company, but to stay in business and to get more work, timely delivery plays a crucial role. The world today is the world of reviews, people search for reviews before buying products, services, and just about everything. And if you are a freelance translator , chances are your work will be under consideration only after your potential clients have seen your reviews. If a translation is not delivered on time, particularly when the client was having an emergency, they are most likely to leave a bad review.

Keep to your promises

Some agencies that claim to provide translations on discounted prices often don’t pay the freelance translators well. The reason they don’t deliver on time. This is why it is even more important to ensure the provision of a timely delivery, which is a must-mention when it comes to translation skills and abilities. If you are a freelancer and you’ve already worked with a client in the past, a great way to get that client back for more is to offer a discount on their next order. Whatever promises you to make in terms of discounts or quality, keep to them no matter what.

The translation industry constitutes a rather tricky business as it has no room for inaccuracy, low quality, and most importantly, delays in delivery. Most of the time, clients require urgent translations in situations that are inevitable, and in those cases, a minor delay in translation could cost them big time. It is, therefore, important to acct professionally and always deliver according to expectations.

skill translation service
skill translation

Be Friendly

Did you know that the client is always right? Even when they are not? Well, that’s not just a saying. Working with clients from different countries may seem challenging but the real dilemma is dealing with their mindsets. Indeed, you cannot satisfy everyone but you must satisfy your customer at any cost.

This is why, if a client is difficult and want changes in the document, you must never lose your calm. Be friendly with them as this goes out as an indication of your commitment to delivering the best. They’ll only work with you when they recognize that you have their best interest at heart. So if such an issue arises, the first thing you’ll have to do is stay polite, ask what kind of changes they need and how soon do they require it. If there’s a misunderstanding, you must point out it in an amicable manner.

Skills Translator

If you have prepared your resume then you would know how important skills are. Most jobs include a few talents in their requirements that don’t have anything to do with education. So, if you don’t know how to operate Microsoft Office, you must say goodbye to your chance of joining a company for an office job. This is why many people do diplomas and courses while they are studying so when they graduate from college, they would have a chance to fill their CV nicely. A few fields in the world will only get mastered if you are born with the talent for it. But in some, if you are interested in the subject, you can become good at it.

Translation falls in the latter category. The skills translator should have can be developed and polished via practice. Reading different languages can also help with the improvement of your abilities as a translator and help you become an expert in your field.
best translation skill

Would you willingly go to a service provider for help if you knew beforehand that they are not good at their job? No, right? Because no one would. But there are a few fields where you can’t be sure unless you try for yourself and see if a company deserves your money. It is a fact that people of every profession must have specific skills to succeed in their field. If they are not hardworking, they won’t be able to achieve a level of expertise. Consequently, they won’t be able to make a name for themselves in their industry.

In the language industry, the skills translator has are very important in solving a linguistic issue. This is why translators have to give a test before they can be accepted by a company. If they are qualified and experienced, they will be able to provide linguistic assistance of the highest quality to their clients.

Some people are born with a talent that they get better at with each passing year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something if you are not naturally good at it. In fact, most professionals in the world learn their profession through hard work. Surgeons aren’t born with a talent to make precise surgical cuts. They learn everything in school and then practice extensively to improve their skills.

The world of languages is no different. It is an acquired talent that you can improve every day if you keep on practicing. Developing translating skills is not something that will happen overnight. But if you are patient and willing to work hard, you will get to the level of experts in record time. And once you become a professional, you should not stop practicing as it is the only way to become an expert in your field. Your skills will get better than everyone else if you don’t give up on practice and learning.

Everyone has wishes that they have postponed for the future. Some of us want to learn an instrument once their life gets less busy. Some have always wanted to study Latin to be able to understand ancient texts. Then there are skills that you must learn if you want to excel at your job, like how to work with Microsoft Office if you’re going to do an office job. But one good thing about skills is that you can learn them at any point in your life and you can also work to make them better. You can get them polished with constant practice.

Anyone working in the language industry has translation skills . But only the experienced ones have improved their linguistic abilities over the years. They are the ones who are qualified to provide quality assistance whenever someone requires help with a linguistic problem. Don’t let anyone tell you that you will survive in the world of translation without having the necessary skills.

People generally think that anyone who doesn’t pick a scientific field of study will be stuck making drawings and illustrations. But they don’t know that there are way too many options outside the world of science. The options are endless for someone who doesn’t want to pursue a medical degree. And most of these options are pretty interesting, like creative writing, filmmaking, and linguistics. Anyone who wants to understand the linguistic diversity of the world can study the differences and see how unique our tongues are. It is the beauty of these languages that attract many towards the field.

Translating said languages is also a very useful field of study. But no one can succeed in it without developing some translational skills . Without working to obtain and polish these skills, they won’t be able to do much for those who require help with a language problem. These skills can make a person the most respected professional in the translation industry.

“Dont forget to invest time and practice in knowing the Translation Memory Software around” See our free learning translation memory video’s.

There are a few things no one prepares you for when you are a child. One of them is picking a career and then living with your choice. Sure, your parents may give you advice regarding the issue, but it will be your decision in the end, and you will have to make the most of it. People think that kids are giving up on books and language studies, but that isn’t entirely true. Many individuals are studying languages and entering the linguistic field to help people connect.

These people not only get their degree in linguistics to understand their field in a better way but also practice regularly to polish their translator skills . It is only because of the effort of these professionals that you can get qualified work in the translation industry today. If it weren’t for their hard work, a lot of the world would fail to get over the language barrier, and peace would not have prevailed on earth due to conflicts between nations.

There are many misconceptions in people’s minds regarding a few fields. They believe that if Google Translate can help them understand a foreign language word, maybe it isn’t that difficult to get linguistic assistance. They don’t know that the study of languages is a separate field with its own rules. A person must obtain a degree and practice extensively if they want to be able to handle documents written in foreign vernaculars. They cannot work in the field until they are fully trained and understand all the rules of translation.

The most important aspect that people ignore is translators skills. It is these skills that help these experts perform their job accurately. If they don’t regularly work on polishing their skills, they won’t be able to deliver quality work to their clients. This is why the linguistic services provider hires only the most qualified professionals. An inexperienced person cannot provide good results when they are given the task to translate a document.

As a new freelance translator in the market, you need to have all the above translation skills and abilities to be able to make it. While there are other skills a professional translator must-have, these are the necessary requirements. Do you know any other skills? Share your opinion in the comments! If you’d like to work with us, please see how to become a professional translator page or get in touch by live-chat.

If we can help you with any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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