The 5 Skills of a Good Translator

skills of a good translator

You work in a company that wants to export its products / services? Or maybe you want to export your own brand abroad?

Using professional-quality language services has become almost indispensable for any company seeking to strengthen and strengthen its image in China.

However, there are so many translators on the market that it is sometimes difficult to make a choice or decide on the criteria for selecting a good translator. When it comes to soliciting the services of a professional translator, it seems fair to ask the following question: what are the skills of a good translator?

1. A perfect mastery of his working languages …

Needless to say ! The translator is above all a linguist. He must have a very thorough knowledge of his source languages, that is to say the languages from which he translates.

Knowing and mastering a language is not synonymous with being able to have a basic conversation with the locals of a given country. No! To master a language is to know all the subtleties, to be able to spot the puns, the irony, or the touches of humor.

Therefore, beware if your future translator announces that he can translate a text, for example, from English to Chinese, thanks to the two weeks he spent in Beijing during the Easter holidays!

2. … but also cultural systems related to these languages.

To understand a language and to detect its subtleties, it is necessary to know the culture (s) related to the language in question. Why ? This approach helps to better understand the cultural subtleties of the source text, that is, the text from which the translator works.

Moreover, a translator must communicate with his clients in a transparent way. Knowing the culture of other countries also makes it possible to point the finger on elements of a text that could perhaps shock or hinder other populations. In this case, the quality translator must inform his client.

Reading, immersion travel, or some courses can help a translator to improve his/her knowledge of a given country.

3. A perfect mastery of one’s mother tongue

Above all, it is essential to know that a quality translator translates only into his mother tongue. If that seems logical to you, it is not the case of everybody. Many translators also practice the so-called “return” translation, where translation takes place from the mother tongue to the language of work. Quality translators will only offer translations to their mother tongue.

A translator must know his/her mother tongue on the fingertips. He must possess excellent writing skills, regardless of the text. He also has to master perfectly the grammar and all the linguistic subtleties of his mother tongue.

The translated text will be read by a native audience. It is therefore imperative that no fault has occurred. This could discredit your content, and entangle your brand image.

4. Expertise in one or more specific areas

If your company is specialized in horticulture, for example, or in angling, it is essential that you use a “specialized translator”, that is to say a translator who has in-depth knowledge in the field you operate.

Indeed, a specialized translator will save you time, since he/she will already have tools or lexicons specific to your area of expertise. In addition, using this type of translator is a guarantee of quality.

Again, make sure that the skills of the translator you are using are grounded and based on concrete experience.

5. Good command of translation tools

Translators usually work with translation tools such as software, glossaries, lexicons, etc.

Translation software allows translators to save time, but also to harmonize the vocabulary they use with translation memories.

For you, or your business, it saves time and money. For example, if your text contains word repetitions, the program will count them, and you will not have to pay for each of these repetitions!

When you use translation services, you have to take a lot of things into account. Take your time! Just wait and solicit quality translations, rather than hurry and get bad ones. Do not forget that your brand also depends on your international communication, and therefore on the quality of the linguistic services you are requesting!