PR Log - Jan 11, 2013 - There is often the misconception that to become a translator, you just need to know a foreign language, however this perception is completely wrong as there are many other required skills necessary to become a successful translator. Such skills include the ability to make the right analysis of the meaning in the target language and being aware of the essence of the subject, including spelling and language rules.
Having complete knowledge of a foreign language is only one part of the translation process. Only a talented translator is able to convey the meaning and beauty of the initial text and convert this efficiently and effectively.
Successful translators have the talent to transfer messages from one language to another, whilst preserving cultural ideas and values. The following criteria underlie the skills required to become successful in this area.
1. Being bilingual - The first step is having supreme knowledge of the languages in question, both source and target speech, including an understanding of the diverse genres in both
2. Writing skills - The second step requires having the ability to write perfectly in both the source and target language. This is paramount for a text converter; this skill also involves having a great awareness of the different styles of writing and techniques, such as editing and proper punctuation and grammar
3. Listening skills - The third step is being a good listener. In order to translate successfully, idioms need to be understood, expressions need to be grasped and meanings need to be portrayed correctly
4. Cultural understanding - The fourth step involves having social and cultural awareness of both languages. Understanding lexical content and syntax, as well as ideologies, value systems and ways of life in a given culture is important in the communication process
5. Use resources - The fifth step is developing translation proficiency. Using resources such as bilingual dictionaries and encyclopaedia’s provide an excellent source of information. This needs to be combined with an understanding of the diverse meanings of words and the change in these in differing situations.
6. Understanding the meaning behind words - A successful translator will also have knowledge of sentence structure and indirect speech, including exaggeration, irony, intentions and tones.
To fine tune these skills a translator should read extensively in their non-native language, strengthen their knowledge in news, politics, history and economics, frequently visit or live in their non-native language country and improve on their analytical skills.
All the above points are best utilised when all combined together and as can be seem, it takes more than just knowing a different language to become a talented translator, there are many skills and qualities that need to be optimised.