Should I Become A Translator?
5 Signs You Could be a Terrific Language Translator
When you start learning a foreign language you might think that you could never be proficient enough to translate it professionally. However, we all have to start off somewhere and then keep on improving. If you like the sound of working as a translator but are just starting out with a new language what are the main skills and characteristics you should have?
You Have to Love to Learn New Words
A top class translator needs to know a huge amount of words. This might sound obvious but not every language learner has the willingness to learn a lot of words. I have seen some people who learned the basics pretty well but then decided to settle for what they have learned to date instead of pushing on. A translator needs to be someone who sees a new word and thinks, “Wow, what does that mean?”
You Have to be Accurate
A lot of people seem to have a misconception about translating. Personally, I blame Hollywood, as I do with most things in life. You see, the only times we ever get to see language translation in the movies seems to be in fast moving scenes. These are usually set in the UN or somewhere similar and the star will have an earpiece on which relays a fast and complicated political speech into their ear to translate immediately. Sure, a movie about someone sitting in front of their PC for a few hours would be pretty dull but it would be nearer to the truth for most of us. Accuracy is far more important than speed in most cases, so if you pride yourself on getting the right words every time then you are on the right track.
You Have to Read a Lot
Reading a lot and choosing varied material is very important for anyone who wants to work in the world of translations. Ideally, you will read about the same sorts of subject you plan to work with. This is how you will pick up the best words, phrases and tones for the future.
You Have to Want to Travel
You can learn a foreign language well in your home country. However, if you want to reach the best possible level then you really need to immerse yourself in it at some point. If you don’t have friends or relatives who speak the tongue then this means travelling to where it is spoken. Of course, the first time you do this you will probably get a shock, as you realise that you still have a lot to learn. This is fine, as we will see in the final point.
You Have to be Willing to Give It Time
The very best translators have spent years or decades studying the languages they work with while learning to love them. Even if you start off really strongly you can’t expect to be a top class translator right away. It is, instead, something you need to work on over time. If you are in the beginning stages then you will want to get to off to a strong start with testing your language skills.
After that, it is up to you to find the inspiration and motivation to carry on learning over the years.
BioRobert is a UK writer who has discovered a passion for learning foreign languages. He writes for Listen and Learn, a company that offers great resources for new and experienced learners.