What is the main task of a translator? In general terms, this is the translation of text from the source language into the target language. In practice, everything is much more complicated. For example, a translator must consider the intention of the author of the text. And translate it as accurately as possible, but not verbatim. Let’s take a closer look at what a translator needs to build a successful career.
Specialization in a specific area
Large and small companies, as well as international language service providers, use the services of best certified translators who are native speakers of the target language. They prefer to turn to freelancers with the necessary qualifications: if the translator has the required skills, then the lack of a diploma in linguistic education is not critical.
A foreign language should be fluent. Your chances of getting a job are higher if you speak several languages with many speakers (such as Spanish or Chinese) or, conversely, a less common language such as Basque.
Professional skills of an interpreter
The translator must be familiar with the terminology of a particular industry. While some clients may provide a glossary to work with, others expect you to learn the terms yourself.
In the skill of translation, details are important: one should convey the meaning of the original text without changing the essence. At the same time, localization must be considered: adapt the translation with an eye on the target audience and local culture.
And, of course, you need to complete the work on time. When it becomes clear that the translation will have to be delayed, discuss with the customer the possibility of postponing the deadline or transfer the order to another contractor.
Cooperation with translation agencies
You can work with clients directly, but it takes time to find them and, preferably, a financial cushion for the search period. Orders can be received through numerous online platforms for translators. They are built on the principle of a rating system: clients rate their translations and are more likely to trust translators with a high-profile score. In addition, you can cooperate with the bureau. The latter option provides several advantages
If the bureau is satisfied with the quality of your work, it will regularly give you orders. Accordingly, you do not have to spend time looking for customers. Here, the local economic context should be considered: for example, a Translation of documents agency in London will certainly be able to fill more orders than an agency in Budapest.
Make a list of bureaus you are interested in working with, make sure they work with your language pairs, and get in touch. It is advisable to communicate with the employee who is responsible for the selection of performers. Do not write standard letters: adjust the text according to the requirements of the bureau and the value you can offer. To increase the chances of a regular flow of orders, look for professional bureaus that provide language services in different languages and on different topics.
What to pay attention to
Update your resume
The resume should contain all the necessary information: the language pairs you work with, your rates, the average daily amount of work, the CAT tools used, the possibility of discounts if there are repetitions, etc.
Stay in touch
You will be offered a job when the need arises at the bureau. If you miss a call or email, the work will be transferred to another artist.
If the proposed deadlines are too tight, be sure to let us know. It is extremely undesirable to violate the deadlines since in the end this will lead to the fact that the bureau will not be able to fulfill its obligations to the customer.
Conduct in-depth content analysis
For a high-quality translation, a simple understanding of the text is not enough. A thorough analysis of its content should be carried out. This will allow you to understand the style of the document and how it is perceived by the target audience. You will also be able to navigate the terminology, wording and tone of the presentation.
Use CAT tools
They are used by most bureaus, and some projects should be carried out in certain CAT tools. To be considered for any type of project, keep an eye out for new technologies.
Don’t use machine translation
MT can speed up the work, but the quality of the result leaves much to be desired. Often such a translation is literal and does not consider the context. You can save an hour or two, and then spend a lot more time editing the resulting text.
Collaborate with translation agencies
In this case, you get the benefits that the expertise of the entire team of performers provides. Several specialized specialists work on the project. Thanks to the optimal quality of work is achieved.