How to be a Professional Translator

Knowing to speak two or more languages does not make you A good Translator at all, then what does?

How to be a Professional Translator

Knowing to speak two or more languages does not make you a good translator at all, so what does?

"Languages are seas" a saying describes what languages are, no matter how good you are in speaking a language, it does not mean you can be a translator of that language, because there are always more things to learn. And in this article, we'll try to see what can we do to be excellent or professional Translators?

Master your native language first.


Being skilled in a second language is in no method enough to provide quality translations. Your mastery of a language apart from your natural or native language becomes unimportant if you’re making basic grammar and spelling mistakes, or if you’re solely able to virtually translate idioms and cultural references. obtaining translation and linguistic education could be a vital advantage.

For example, the structure of a Being skilled in a second language is in no method enough to provide quality translations. Your mastery of a language apart from your natural or native language becomes unimportant if you’re making basic grammatical and spelling mistakes, or if you’re solely able to virtually translate idioms and cultural references. Obtaining translation and linguistic education could be a vital advantage.

For example, the structure of a sentence in Arabic nearly always starts with the verb. Arabic translators of English text usually find themselves source text sentence structure, putting the verb in the middle of the sentence. The result is an awkward Arabic sentence that gives the work away as a sub-par translation.

Being proficient in a second language is not enough to create quality translations. Your mastery of a language that is not your mother tongue is irrelevant if you’re making basic grammatical and spelling errors, or if you’re only able to literally translate idioms and cultural references. Getting trained as a professional language translator is a considerable advantage.

KNOWLEDGE OF THE TARGET LANGUAGE

The translator must have mastery of the target language to reproduce the context or tone of the original text.

Research

Whatever your translation skill level is, you have to face challenges in both source and target languages SL-TL. and we're talking about Linguistic, grammatical and of course, cultural issues. (both languages explained in my first translation article in addition to a lot more!)

A great translator goes the extra mile to find an answer to any problem he might face. And there is a combination of academic and guerrilla methodsto find solutions for complicated terms:

The Dictionary: of course! Find useful dictionaries for the languages you translate and utilize them often. Online dictionaries are more convenient and efficient, but the quality may vary depending on style. For Arabic, we sometimes use the online Sakhr dictionary and surely oxford dictionary, "that should be it," you may say but there is never enough in translation.

Ask a friend: Seek help from experienced translators and see how they would translate the term. There is A LOT of help on the internet, I usually use translation Facebook Groups or Telegram or even proz.com term search. The answer is around you; the trick is knowing how to find it.

“With a Little Help From My Friends” — Arabic calligraphy print. By Everitte Barbee. The image is of The Beatles, and the text is the Arabic translation for the song written by John Lennon Paul

Wikipedia: Wikipedia provides the same context in various languages. That gives you a reliable indicator of the accepted and widely used. This depends on the number of quality of articles on Wikipedia in the translation you work in, so your mileage may vary. This expands to any literature in the field you’re translating, so always check more and more just to be sure.

Google: This is especially helpful if you’re trying to decide between to potential translations to a term, or if you’re just not sure if your best guess is the right answer. Google the translated words, and you’ll get an indicator of the quality of your estimate both in the number of search results found. The example uses in the top results, but never ever use google for idiom translation or cultural ones because google always use translates Literally word by word. And that is not good for the quality of your translation.

KNOWLEDGE OF THE MECHANISMS

Also, the translator should know when to use a literal translation and when to seek functional adaptation that will replicate the meaning of the original text.

Thus, the role of the translator is like an actor in a play. Translation services involve making decisions that require interpretation. This applies to literary texts, but also to other types of jobs.

Literal translation is almost never asked for, never use it in poetry or such.

Know what to work with

Choose your wares. Translate in the fields where you can produce your best craft. I focus on films and digital translation and simple nonspecialized translation. I always avoid legal and medical translation, because the effort to create a quality translation is too high since I have neither the experience nor the education to work in these fields. (check main modes of interpretation here).

Read, and then read some more

A good translator is an excellent writer and an avid reader. You can’t be a good writer without having a mind of a reader first. Read with purpose; I read the tech , political, and nearly every kind of news every day in English and Arabic, keeping an eye on the terminology used. I also read every Arabic book I can get my hands on (harder than you think in the US), and seek out more of the works of writers and translators whose style I like. Check your best Translator all the time and try to learn what you see.

Proofread, then do it again

Your first draft will have errors, that’s normal. Grammatical errors, typos or punctuation errors are unavoidable…it's kinda a rule for the first time translators. If you can hire a proofreader, take advantage of it. A new pair of eyes will catch any errors quickly. And always ask about what they're looking for.

Make it beautiful, translation is an art

Do you lose yourself in a great book? The translated text should produce the same effect on the reader. A literal or error-ridden text detracts from the experience. It’s crucial to find your voice as a translator. Find your style, and master it.

I write in simplified Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and often use words that Arabic speakers use colloquially without realizing they come directly from MSA.

Typing style matters

Learn the conventions for your languages to create the most visually appealing and easy to read documents. Arabic should be 2 points bigger than the corresponding English text to be legible. A ‘beautifully’ looking font might not be particularly easy to read, especially in longer books. Now you may wonder, “what makes a great translator?” The answer is simple, but not easy: Practice, much of practice.

KNOWLEDGE OF CROSS-LANGUAGE INSPIRATIONS

Knowing two or more languages is an astounding accomplishment on its own. Though, it does not suffice: the translator must have a deep-rooted understanding of the etymological and linguistic correlations between the two languages required for the interpretation.

Thanks!!


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