Business culture has changed, with more business than ever being conducted in writing, rather than in person. A decade or two ago to talk with colleagues you would have just walked down the hall or held a face to face meeting, but today you are more likely to send an email. Effective business writing skills are, therefore, more important than ever.
Thanks to globalization it’s not just competent business writing skills that are in demand, but also quality business translation skills. Being a professional translator requires continuous learning, as languages are always evolving. Take a look at the following translation tips that will help you improve your skills and remain adept at your craft.
A Good Translator Is a Good Reader
There is always room for improvement, don’t they say? Reading is essential to ensure your translations are contextual, meaningful, and current. First, you need to read in your target language as much as possible. Reading will help amplify your vocabulary and increase your knowledge of correct grammar, both of which are key when translating. You should read local newspapers, magazines, publications in your specialized field, and novels.
Using every chance you have to read in your target language will help you understand the trends, jargon, cultural nuances. This will greatly enhance your word choice and sentence structures.
Your dictionary should become your best friend. Reading dictionaries of both your target and source languages will help you learn new words and their multiple meanings. Never stop learning as no language stays stagnant. For example, The Oxford English Dictionary is updated four times a year. In every update, there are at least 1,000 new words, subentries, and senses added. Your translation skills will suffer if you fail to keep up.
Finally, you should read actual translations. It will allow you to pick up some useful translation tips and tricks. Examine the translator’s word choice and how they use language, take time to consider why some texts are more engaging than others.
Increase Your Cultural Awareness
Language and culture are deeply connected. Languages are complex and cultural awareness helps to breakdown language barriers. A term or phrase may seem simple to translate but it could contain cultural subtleties that, if they are left out, can distort the intended meaning.
For every text, as a translator, you should be able to understand the significance of its cultural context and any deeper meanings it may have, and be able to convey the message in a way that makes sense in the context of the target culture.
There are different institutions, practices, and beliefs that exist in one culture but not in others. It is these unique features of a culture that a linguist must understand for their translation to be effective. Observing and practicing with natives can boost your cultural awareness. You should also engage with pop culture from both the source and target countries, for example listening to songs and watching movies to cultivate your cultural awareness.
Never Stop Refining Your Language Skills
You should keep your language skills up to date. Even in your native language, there may still be a lot to learn, especially in specialized areas such as business and technical language. Corporate and business language training programs by companies such as Preply are extremely useful for developing proficiency in business English for you and your team.
Specializing in One Field Increases Your Employability
One of the best ways to improve your translation skills is to specialize in a particular field, say medicine, finance or legal translation. Specializing helps concentrate your skills and knowledge, so you become effective and efficient. The more you work in a certain field, the better you become.
Other advantages of specializing include:
- Working faster – as an expert in a certain area you can work faster and to a higher standard due to your familiarity with the content.
- Higher rates – specialization comes with higher pay. It’s simple math; if you can produce top-quality work quickly, you become more profitable.
- Get more clients – it becomes easier to find clients as they trust someone who doesn’t claim to be an expert in everything, and each client can open doors to more.
Talk with other translators and let them help you sharpen your translation skills. Nobody is a perfect translator, but we all have different skill sets. Ask for tips on how you can develop your translation skills. You can also request that they read your work and give you some advice as to how you can refine your abilities.
Read Your Work Out Loud
Seeking feedback from your seniors and peers is very important, but evaluating yourself is still critical. Proofreading your own work can be difficult, as you might be resistant to the characteristics of your own style. Reading your work aloud can help you pick up on awkward sentences and vocabulary.
Translate Vice-Versa for a New Perspective
If you are used to translating from English to Japanese, why not try to translate from Japanese to English? This way, you will be able to understand the relationship between the two languages better. This will cultivate your translation skills and fluency in the target language.
Practice Makes Perfect
It’s a cliché for a reason; practice makes you better at what you do. Translation requires continuous practice. Spare some time every day to work on your craft. Keep track of your mistakes and learn from them.
Use Computer-Assisted Translation (Cat) Tools
CAT tools can help enhance our translation efficiency and speed so it’s vital that you familiarize yourself with them. CAT tools also ensure your translation is consistent and can allow you to discover skipped lines or words and repeated phrases. There are several CAT tools available in the market.
Remember That You Never Stop Learning
However experienced you are as a translator, there is always room for improvement. You can develop your business writing and translation skills with the help of an online language tutor.
A private tutor is the best way to learn specific vocabulary and be a proficient translator in a specific field (medicine, legal, finance, etc.). You can learn specific vocabulary in your specialized field online at Preply.
When you hire professional translation services such as BeTranslated you can rest assured that your project will be delivered to the highest standard by a qualified and experienced translator with specialized knowledge in your area. Why not get in touch for more information or to get a quote today?