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Quality translations. How to identify a really good translator

Do you think that quality translations can be done just like that, without having any special qualities, without practicing the target language – but just a little more than other people – ,besides a few tricks known only by the connoisseurs?

For those of you who think that a linguistic specialization can open the doors of translation agencies, let’s see the first rules of a good translator: which skills he/she needs to have and how he/she can improve them constantly.

A good translator has a deep knowledge of his/her mother tongue

…better than his/her own dictionary. All recommendations for translators all over the world start with this advice: the quality of a translator’s work depends on how well he/she knows his/her mother tongue, whether it is the source language or the target language. The language is a living organism that evolves and grows in a different way according to the group which uses it. Getting an A in mother tongue subject is a good start, but this is not enough. Staying connected to the continuous development of the mother tongue helps you render the texts fluently, coherently and using the right terms. The translator should be the first person who finds out that an old spelling rule has been changed; he/she should have deep knowledge about the meanings, usage and spelling of neologisms and continuously improve his/her vocabulary.

A good translator searches the right places

According to the rules, a good translator does not necessarily have to be… a dictionary. Even if you are widely experienced in a certain field and you do not need to search for a specific term, you will always come across new phrases or terms which will challenge your “hunting” skills. Be sure you use the best dictionaries; the multitude of online resources is not necessarily helpful. Online dictionaries, although at hand, spread errors very easily.

A good translator proofreads his/her work

It is obvious that all translators should proofread their work; however, you will always find this rule inserted between all kinds of rules applicable to a good translator. Many of the translation projects are handled in a hurry, leaving no time to check the details. A text full of mistranslations sent to your client will probably put an end to your collaboration. Not to mention that every translation is specific to you and builds your name in this field.

A good translator makes a correct self-evaluation

Do not make any promise before ensuring you are able to meet all your client’s requirements. You must always remember that only a few clients have the necessary experience and knowledge to understand all the implications of a translation project. Each time you are asked to do impossible things, provide explanations and you might make yourself understood!

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