A professional translator is someone who understands the two cultures, strives to find the right words, and who has excellent writing skills.
The Definition of a Professional
A professional is a person who does something for a living; a person who has the right skills and is committed to continual professional development. A professional translator is someone who understands the two cultures, strives to find the right words, and who has excellent writing skills. Unless you’re able to make a career out of translating and are generating a good monthly income from your translation skills, then you’re still an aspiring professional.
What Kind of Translation Work Are You Looking for?
Before you make too many decisions about your career, you need to think long and hard about the kind of translation work you believe you’d enjoy for the rest of your career. A translation career in the technical arena might suit a primarily left-brained translator, whereas a translator looking for a career in the medical or legal fields should target their marketing towards these industries. Perhaps you’re interested in the world of finance, or you’re considering specializing in marketing translations, then you need to make sure you fully understand the terminology. Remember that mistakes can be very costly, and mistakes in the medical arena could well make the difference between life and death.
Continuing development is not difficult these days because there are so many CPD courses available for translators, and some of these are free. Keep in mind also that the translation community is a very supportive community and there’s always someone there ready to lend a hand if required.
Don’t Attempt Translations Beyond Your Ability
When starting out as a newbie translator it can be very tempting to accept any translation project that’s offered to you, but a word of warning: never accept translation projects that are beyond your abilities. Besides the fact that it will take you a long time to complete, doing a just-okay job instead of a high-quality translation will have a negative impact on your reputation and subsequently any future assignments that may be offered to you. And, of course, there’s the potential damage that your mistranslation could well be responsible for, even though the mistake may be innocent and caused solely by your inexperience.
Building a Career as a Successful Professional Translator
Being a successful professional translator is a lot more than simply having a full-time job as a translator. One of the most important aspects of being a professional is career progress, and this is where your work ethic comes in. If you want to be treated like professional, then you must act like professional.
- Any completed project that leaves your hands must be error-free;
- Never accept projects unless you’re fully qualified to take them on;
- Make sure your translation projects are completed in a timely manner;
- Schedule your translation work in an efficient way using project management tools;
- Never, never stop learning and perfecting your translation knowledge and skills; and
- Finally, don’t get flustered: try to always stay cool, calm, and collected – the true signs of a professional!
We wish you every success on your path to becoming a successful, professional translator, regardless of whether you decide to work as a freelancer or an in-house translator.