Generally speaking, a translator has to be fluent in at least two languages, but aside from this, someone who wants to be a marketing translator should have additional skills. It’s much better if the translator has a bachelor’s degree with a major or minor in languages.
A high school graduate who takes special courses in languages, writing and comprehension can work as a translator as well.
Several abilities and qualities are needed when you want to become a professional translator.
Translation work is divided into several categories. Some translators only accept general translation work, such as translating brochures, letters or informative documents that do not require specific subject expertise. Others want to concentrate on medical translation, legal translation, literary translation, business/financial translation or marketing translation.
With the ubiquity of global companies, the demand for marketing translators is getting higher. But before we talk about the specific qualities of a marketing translator, let us first discuss the basic requirements that can help you find success in the business.
Essential Qualities of a Translator
Not everyone can be a translator as the job can be demanding. It takes inherent skills and training to stay in this job. We’ve mentioned the educational requirements earlier. Here are some of the qualities you should possess.
1. Approach and attitude
A career in translation begins with your skills in two languages (at least), but your career path can veer off one way or the other. Even if there are two translators skilled in the same languages, the direction of their careers may differ. It comes down to approach and attitude.
Many translators work freelance, so how you approach your work and your capacity to find the motivation to move forward matter. You have the option to accept work from only one translation company or find clients yourself. If it’s the latter, you should learn how to woo clients, network and use referrals to the maximum. All these mean that your work should speak for itself. You should be determined as well because translation work rarely drops on your lap.
2. Skills in organization
Your success depends on how good your organizational skills are. You should be good at managing your time, especially if you are a freelancer. You should know how to prioritize, consider deadlines and send bills to clients on time.
3. Skills in marketing
You should learn how to market yourself and identify the opportunities for more work. Marketing skills can be acquired. You can find plenty of information online, so choose the marketing techniques that work for you.
You should not leave out this one thing. It’s one of the keys to your success. Your professionalism covers how you deal with your clients and your work, but also the other aspects of your career. You can highlight your professionalism with a good website, complete with good testimonials from satisfied clients. Although pages on social media sites help, your website is the one that will speak highly of you.
Show your professionalism by carefully designing your invoice, email signature, business cards, and letterheads. Professionalism likewise shows in how you answer your phone.
5. Continuous learning
Your success as a translator depends on how you stay on top of developments in the business. Just like computer and mobile phone operating systems need updates, so do you. You have to know the developments in the industry and the best practices. You should not stop learning. As a linguist, you know that dictionaries are regularly updated. If you specialize in a particular subject, it is to your benefit to learn new developments, new technologies and new terminology to ensure that you deliver excellent translation work all the time.
The items above are the personal qualities that would help you succeed as a translator. Aside from those skills, you should have specific skills related to your work. As mentioned, to be successful in the translation business, you should possess a complex set of skills, because translation is likewise a complex process and only the most skilled can stay in the business for a long time.
One of the primary work skills you should have is a passion for language. Along with this, you should translate into your native language, for accuracy and quality of the translation, since the nuances of the language, as well as the specific grammar rules will come into play.
You should be a good researcher. Although some documents require straight translation into the target language, most translation projects require research since some things might be outdated. Doing research helps you access new data, new technologies and new developments that could ensure that your translation is of high quality.
A good translator should practice self-discipline. It is very easy to while away your hours when you work freelance, which could lead to missed deadlines. This is critical because your professionalism is at stake. You should always meet deadlines and be ready to show valid reasons when you cannot submit on time.
Accepting only the right amount of work you can adequately handle is a good skill to practice. It is tempting to accept several projects at once, since your livelihood depends on what you are able to earn. However, workloads have a tendency of piling up and if you’re not careful, you lose more, from late or non-submission.
Couple that with poor organizational skills and you’ll have a disaster in your hands. Remember that your reputation is a key factor in acquiring clients, so learn how to say no when you know that you cannot handle any more projects for the time being.
If you want to advance in your career, see to it that you acquire certifications. Aside from that, it is better if you are an expert in a subject matter. Earlier we enumerated the different categories of translation work. Since more businesses are going global, one of the in-demand types of translation work is marketing translation.
What it Takes to be a Good Marketing Translator
If you are experienced in marketing, you might want to specialize in marketing translation. Being a subject matter expert combines your skills as a translator and your work experience in marketing. This means you understand its specific language – the terminology used particularly in marketing that other marketers would easily understand.
Here are the qualities you should possess:
1. Cultural knowledge
Marketing involves identifying new markets and drawing up strategies to penetrate the market, connect with target customers, beat the competition and cater to the needs of local consumers.
A good marketing translator must have an excellent knowledge of target cultures. Language is connected to culture and translation would be more accurate if the translator knows what specific words to use, as many words, for the local consumers, have different significance. Thus, a marketing translator must be able to use the right idiomatic expressions, such as slang, colloquialisms and common words that are appropriate to the target audience.
Cultural knowledge includes knowledge of local traditions, local consumer preferences and behavior and laws and regulations, including socio-economic issues and political directives.
2. Analytical mind
A good marketing translator should have an analytical mind. It’s vital that the translator analyzes the source document so he or she can discuss the actual translation requirement of the client in view of his or her cultural and local market knowledge. The client might not fully understand the culture and needs of the target market. As a subject matter expert, the translator can openly discuss with the clients what should be done with the translation, what things to add, what to alter or what cannot be translated into the local language. Moreover, the translator can share views on how the local market behaves, what needs they have and what solutions, in terms of new products or services they seek.
Adaptation or transcreation is one of the modern methods employed in marketing translation. In this method, the translator not only translates but becomes a creative writer, adapting the content from one language to another. This means that the translator should make the material as compelling, as persuasive and as electrifying as the original.
He or she should be able to extract the context of the source content and adapting it to the target language without losing the original message. He or she may substitute more commonly used words, delete some words or even add more to ensure proper delivery of the original message. In the process, the translator may also indicate changes in layout, typefaces, colors and images to adapt the marketing materials to local preferences.
These are the set of skills you need to become a translator and the specialized skills you require to make a success of you career as a marketing translator.
Translation Accuracy is the Key – Contact Us
Accuracy in all translation projects is key to communication and marketing success. It’s vital for global companies to work with a professional translation company to ensure that all documents for multinational partners are in the language that the intended audience speaks. Remove the worry and doubts about translation fails. Get in touch with Day Translations, Inc. We’re a marketing translation company that works only with native speakers who understand local culture extensively. We make it easy for you to get in touch with us. We’re open 24/7, all throughout the year, so you can give us a call at 1-800-969-6853 or send us an email at Contact us anytime, wherever you are.