The art of translation is tricky. It’s not just about changing words from one language to another, but creating efficient communication, as well as multicultural understanding. Sure enough, it’s challenging in today’s translation marketplace, a demanding and highly competitive one. For translators to stay the course, continual learning, skills development, focus, time management, inspiration, and energy boosts are must-haves. Implementing habits for every professional translator will help them face up to competition, offer high-quality services, and stay motivated.
If you aim for efficient translating, here are ten habits for every professional translator that will help them succeed.
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Organized translators want to be ahead of the game, so they plan work and everyday life two or three months before deadlines. This allows them to manage tasks, set time limits stimulating them to translate faster, and become more focused and concentrated.
Trello, Wunderlist, or Evernote are tools that help professional translators with planning. Use notebooks, printed calendars, sticky notes, or whatever works for you. The point is to plan your time so it becomes your best assistant in organizing all translating endeavors.
2. READING THE NEWS
For better writing and translating, you need to read. A lot. Fiction and non-fiction books in your target language work well, but so does the news you read online. This is one of the most beneficial habits for every professional translator, as it can enhance your passive vocabulary and encourage better brain functioning and cognitive skills.
To make this habit work for you, avoid reading everything everywhere. Choose channels that inspire and educate you, and use applications such as Newsbeat or Digg to organize your newsfeed accordingly.
3. USING TEMPLATES
Depending on what you translate, use templates to follow a format and flow. That’s not about laziness and plagiarism, but better performance and more effective translating. Medical reports, tech, legal documents, and other specific writings require definitive formats, rather than a clunky, literal translation; so make it your habit to find corresponding templates and use them for work.
4. DRINKING COFFEE (OR TEA)
The benefits of drinking coffee are scientifically proven! It stimulates productivity, increases creativity, and helps to stay more alert. So if you are a translator who can’t imagine your day without a cup of cappuccino, don’t hurry to give up this habit. The trick is to know when to drink coffee for better work: it’s between 10 a.m. and noon, and between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Good news comes to those in love with green tea, too: this drink contains elements that make the brain work better, which is significant for translators whose work is sometimes monotonous. Caffeine consumption is actually one of the habits for every professional translator that is as enjoyable as it is rewarding!
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5. ORGANIZING A WORKSPACE
The place where you work influences your translating productivity and motivation, too. Organize it well to get the most out of your knowledge and skills: choose blue or green colors for walls, work in daylight or buy a lamp, get rid of clutter on your desk, use a comfortable chair, and add inspiration to the workspace. (Green plants, motivational quotes from a favorite writer, photos of your close people – you choose!)
6. LEARNING THE CULTURE
As a contact point between multilingual people, a translator should be aware of their cultural differences as well. This is where the habit of learning international diversity would be appropriate. Business culture and etiquette rules vary country-to-country, so you need to be sensitive about the language you use. The historical record is peppered with examples when little translation mistakes caused big problems or even turned the course of history.
7. USING MONOLINGUAL DICTIONARIES
It goes without saying that translators use conversion dictionaries for their target languages. However, professional dragomen have a habit of checking the meaning of every dubious word in monolingual dictionaries as well. They do so to make sure the actual translation doesn’t bring any uncomfortable nuances in the target language because sometimes even a tiny shade of meaning may cost a business its success, and a translator their reputation. As far as habits for every professional translator to develop, this is probably one of the less used, but can make a huge difference to client satisfaction.
8. CULTIVATING CURIOSITY
Even if you specialize in one language and field, develop a habit of stepping out of your comfort zone: practice translation of some interesting documents or funny texts, volunteer for translation projects, learn a new language, and don’t hesitate to set up new translating challenges for yourself. Stay curious about your target language and the world around, as it allows you to develop skills, broaden the mind, expand cultural exchanges, and become more productive.
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9. REVISING WITH NO MERCY
For professional translators, revising their works systematically is a must. To ensure the quality of your interpretations, make editing your daily habit: check spelling, grammar, punctuation, collocations, and meanings several times; read your translations aloud or from the end to spot problems and make sure there are no mistakes in your writing. Also, don’t hesitate to ask other translators to read your work because they would see it with a fresh perspective and notice details you might miss.
10. MAKING WORDS POWERFUL
All words have meanings, but what is more important, all words have power. Professional translators understand this when seeking the best equivalent of a word. They need to convince, captivate, and entice; so don’t hurry to use basic definitions. Think about the right words to convey the emotions of the original. Consider the power of every word you translate: even if not the most literal, make it the most beautiful.
When passionate about a target language, you do well to explore its forms, learn the culture behind it, and develop your skills to offer high-quality translations. Daily habits for every professional translator can help to organize and improve your experience, so glean the most from them by implementing those assisting you in work.
Lesley Vos is a professional web writer and editor. Generating content for the blog at Bid4Papers.com, she’s also a regular contributor to publications on writing, digital marketing, and self-development. You are welcome to check Lesley’s profile here.