What Makes A Good Translator?

If you have ever tried to read or write or even say something in another language, then you know how difficult it can be to translate. There are so many nuances in many languages that make it difficult to get your point across exactly.

Even within popular languages, there can be different dialects or often-used slang which can mean the translated information is not painting the whole picture. It is imperative that a translator is well-versed in a language–including popular idioms and phrases as well as the cultural ramifications of certain verbiage.

Knowing the language inside and out

Have you ever tried to learn a new language? Perhaps in school you learned how to conjugate verbs as well as learn every noun that you may use in your day-to-day life. Now imagine you had to understand the language used in very specific work areas, such as law or medical care.

Working in language interpretation and translation means knowing the ins and outs of your specific language. Not only that, you need to be able to understand how the subject area will be understood in the translated language. Knowing a language inside and out often means spending time in the country where the language is spoken or studying it intensely both in the written word and verbally.


Of course, knowing everything about the language is very helpful, but there is a lot more to language interpretation and translation then you might realize. When translating for a specific purpose such as for a law office or a border agency, you must be detail-oriented to ensure you have crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s with every aspect that you are translating or interpreting.

So not only do you need to know the ins and outs of a language, you may also need to know the ins and outs of the specific subject area involved in the translation. Being detail-oriented means being prepared for anything that a client or customer may need within that service.

Knowing when to step in

When translating somebody else’s work, there may be times when the source material has words can be construed by the translator as errors. The translator or interpreter needs to remember the importance of just translating what is given to them. It can be difficult for translators when there is an error that they know they can quickly and easily fix–but they also know it would be inappropriate to change the source material.

There are so many factors to consider when translating something to another language, and translators need to be on the ball. In certain subject areas, there is a great demand for translators and interpreters who have extensive background knowledge in almost every language. People working in the field of translation will be detail-oriented and prepared to help with all of the nuances of their chosen language.

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