Virgin Translators

What is good advice for ‘fresh’ translators? What should those new to the field be aware of before they dive into the rough waters of professional translation? There is much more to becoming a translator then simply knowing something about translation. The linguistic professional, as we have seen in previous posts, needs to be au fait with a host of different fields.

Firstly, the virgin translator should be well-grounded in the working practices of translation procedures. How does one approach the text? Are standards like the ISO 9002 actually of any help? Do ‘good’ translators use certain fixed procedures not shared by ‘poorer’ translators?

Secondly, the virgin translator should have a working knowledge of the most important theories in/of translation. Why? Without some kind of grasp of the theoretical workings of translation, the virgin translator can have no hope of understanding and dealing with texts which are difficult to translate due to their multiple-layered complexity with regards to equivalence.

Thirdly, the virgin translator should be acquainted with the main tools used in the modern translation world. Using dictionaries effectively is simply not enough nowadays. Time constraints in the business of translation has meant that knowledge of multi-media dictionaries, translation memories and other computational tools is crucial to both effective and efficient translation.

Finally, the virgin translator needs to have a certain level of business nous in order to cope with life as a freelancer or at least understand the workings of corporate existence if he/she begins life in a corporation. Over the years, the worlds of translation and business have come together so much so that we can safely say that more efficient translators ususally have a high level of business acumen.

2 Responses to “Virgin Translators”

  1. blattdorf Says:

    Finding the right words isn’t really the problem. But nobody is going to wait for you to find out how to translate a contract or a market analysis text. It’s best to get some basic grounding in the field of economy and law, as that’s what will crop up most often. Find a hard specialist text and translate it to the best of your abilites: it will benefit you greatly.

  2. Bill Eden Says:

    Blatt, what does that have to do with advice to give to new translators? Nobody’s talking about “finding the right words” or “waiting for you”. I think you miss the point here.


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