How to become a professional translator online

Tips for translators

If you want to become a professional translator online and get more jobs, follow our tips for translators and you’ll surely get there.

Become a professional translator online

If you’re proficient in two languages and have lived in the countries where those languages are spoken in quite a while, you may consider becoming a professional translator online. The job comes with many benefits but also with a great responsibility. It may have its ups and downs just like any other freelancer job, with quiet days but also with busy, rewarding times. If you’re looking for a job that you could do from the comfort of your home, being a professional translator online may be well worth it. In order to become one, follow our tips for translators below.

To translate is a great way of communicating with foreign individuals, especially when a professional translator online runs a small business. Translation is a way of transforming documents from one language into another, whether scientific, technical, business, personal or literary. No translation is done word by word as a translator needs to convey the meaning of the text while keeping the same tone and considering the particularities of the target market.

translator tips
tips for translators

We have gathered the best tips for translators

To become a professional translator online working with Universal Translation Services, one needs to have the experience, skills and other pre-requisites such as advanced knowledge of at least two languages. A translator must know his/her mother tongue accurately as his/her first language and the second language is the target language. In short he/she must have great knowledge of both languages, his/her mother tongue and also the second language.

There are also different references and sources that he/she could use and should do some practice in order to maintain their translation skills. To become a professional translator online, he/she must gain experience or should undergo training under an experienced translation agency. He should continue acquiring knowledge of the subject matter that is associated with his / her translation job.

When a professional translator is actually well experienced in the two languages intended for the task, he may encounter quite a few challenges with the main topic of translation. Even though translators are linguistic experts, they must be aware of the technicalities of subjects which they are translating. There are several spheres in which translation work might be carried out.

A translator must gain knowledge about the subject he/she chooses and must also know the cultural background of his/her target language. The translator may have to put in quite some effort in order to have deep knowledge in the field of translation.

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12 Most Important Tips for Translators

have the expertise

Thorough homework

Translation demands commitment to work and diligence. One just can’t translate a text or interpret a message based on his usual understanding, he has to have a strong base knowledge and complete understanding of the local culture. Not only that, he should also constantly update his knowledge according to the current situations and newly introduced practices in the language of his proficiency. That being said, translation also demands in-depth understanding of the project at hand. A translator should check beforehand all the possible resources that he must have while starting on with a translation project. He should thoroughly read the accompanying documents and revise the files he receive from the client’s side. He must read and understand the instructions for the job at hand, it is usually a general guideline which shows the path the translator must follow/adopt/go on.

work from home

Have the expertise

This one is probably the most important thing in our tips for translators. While a translator might be tempted with new projects and the accompanied money but that shouldn’t put his reputation at stake. He must always confirm with the project manager if he is or is not comfortable with the subject matter and language style. He should choose to take on a translation project that fits best in his field of knowledge. In case that he takes on a task that is not his domain then he will have to invest an ample amount of time in familiarizing himself with the related terminologies and stuff which can lead to delayed projects and the translation might even be inaccurate, putting his reputation at stake. Being a professional translator online may be rewarding, but if you take on just about any project just for the money, you may end up not being able to do it and your relationship with the company you’re working for will suffer.

formatting matters

Formatting matters

In most of the cases, formatting matters as much as translation does. A highly accurate translated copy with a poorly formatted document gives a bad impression to the client. They both have to go side by side. One has to complement the other and vice versa. In case of one’s lacking, the whole document can present a sloppy image. The responsibility then lands on the shoulders of the project manager who has to reformat the whole document which can consume a lot of his precious time which could result in ruining the relationship between the two. It usually leads to delays in delivering the project and a lost client. Therefore the translator should make sure that he is well acquainted with formatting and structuring. He should use a translation-friendly format along with a translation memory when specified. And lastly always stick to the CAT tool the client specified.

Use of style guides

Use of style guides

The translator should and must always use the style guides and reference material provided by the client. He should never ignore the glossaries or databases sent to him from the client’s side. In case if it is a simple excel sheet, then the translator should import the format into the CAT tool which will assist in creating a glossary file. Be sure to follow the previous practices in the use of terminology and styles. The clients can shift from one translation service provider to another, but it’s in the translator’s hands to maintain consistency and not deviate from usual practice. It is therefore advisable to use the glossaries the client might send along with the document.

Background work

Background work

The translator is advised to do some digging before taking on a project. This is to ensure the fact that the translator gets a strong grip on the type of document he is assigned to translate. Either it’s technical, financial or medical the translator should consult the relevant websites and look out for the specific terminologies and relevant material. Research always gives one inspiration and new ideas so it is considered the best practice to look out for relevant material on the internet. This should be done before starting the translation work. This always leads to better and accurate results. And this makes another important item in our tips for translators.

Proofread yourself

Proofread yourself

Upon finishing the translation, a translator must recheck the whole document before sending it on to the next person in line, possibly an editor or a proofreader. This will ensure there are no mistakes and will contribute to his professional image. He must first read  the whole document comparing it to the original document, then read it without comparing so as to analyze the whole text and  see if the translated document makes any sense or not. It shouldn’t be a word to word literal kind of translation rather it should be such that it can stand on its own and sound as if it was originally written in the target language. The meaning and the tone count the most in a translation!

Address issues immediately

Address issues immediately

Now there might as well arise some issues with the source material provided by the client or by other translators working on the project. Previous translators might not have followed the glossaries or could have left some phrases untranslated, so it is best to contact the project manager immediately in order to clear things up. If any kind of problem is faced, it must be addressed right there and then.

Cross check again

Cross check again

One slight misspell can pour all the efforts down the drain. So, a translator must run the document through the spell checker again in order to make sure there are no errors in the translation. The project might contain glossaries or notes from the client, which may have been neglected and that could lead to problems in delivering the project. It’s best to check that all resources sent by the client have been used in the translation.

Remain in touch

Remain in touch

Translator must always be in constant contact with the project managers as well as clients. Being personally in contact with the client will save him a lot of time and will eliminate any ambiguities that may arise at any stage related to possible mistakes from the client side, document formatting, word count or delivery time. The translator may receive additional messages from the client or could have questions, so it’s best to keep in touch.

Avoid being literal

Avoid being literal

Word for word literal translation should be avoided, because such translations lack consistency and continuity, they even lack proper structuring and flow. Such a translation presents a very sloppy image. But there are certain exceptions in case of technical translations or certified translations and sometimes in translating idioms and expressions which can have literal translations.

Recheck for misspells

Recheck for misspells

Always recheck for misspells or untranslated segments. Checking and rechecking is the key to producing an error-free document. The translator at this point should recheck the translation for any missing text or formatting issues. All CAT tools offer QA features and are able to detect untranslated portions or any missing segment, while for more in-depth checks, XBench should be preferred.

Revise the proofread copy

Revise the proofread-ed copy

At this stage the translator must get his hands on the proofread-ed copy of the document and look through the changes made by the proofreader. It’s not necessary that he agrees to the changes being made, but he should discuss with the proofreader and with the agency. The document is presenting the primary translator’s image so he shouldn’t avoid this step at any cost.

The translation tools you should learn how to use

While only some projects would need special tools to be used, it is essential for a translator to learn how to work with computer assisted translation tools. Such tools are a great help for translators as they allow faster translations while improving consistency and lowering translation costs without compromising the accuracy.

There are many such tools on the market like Trados Studio and MemoQ, and while as mentioned before not all projects require usage of such translation tools, there are plenty of clients who have long figured the advantages in using translation memory and they ask their translations to be done in Trados. If you don’t know how to use it, you won’t be able to take that specific project and you’ll be at disadvantage among the other translators in our team.

Sounds complicated, but it actually isn’t. Using such translation tools is more a question of will rather than knowledge since they are pretty straight-forward. Still, in order to help you out, we have created quite a few videos where we explain how to use various translation tools, which you can find in our translator training videos page.

Our translation management software

We have developed our own translation management software called Tranwise. The application is made to ease things out for the translators by aiding them to open and update their work directly on the application, communicating with the project manager and applying for available jobs. All work is done via Tranwise, which you need to install if you want to work with us. We also created a few videos on how to use Tranwise if you need help with it.

The application is updated periodically to ensure its working capability is kept up the notch and to enhance its further high-quality development. This is all maintained through our programming team who is entirely dedicated to this cause.

translation tools

Some tips for translators to follow

As a communicator, the translator role is to ensure a smooth exchange involving information. A translator qualification is a big help. As mentioned above, education is very important. If you’re a professional translator online that uses personal computers or any hardware for translating, you must have the ability to handle a computer. The best and most appropriate software and hardware is not always the most expensive. Feel free to do some research to help you make your choices, or get in touch with us and we will tell you what software is mostly used by our professional translators. You can also contact us for more tips for translators or to have any question answered. Getting a good, efficient, reliable software and hardware can make your task a lot quicker and easier.

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