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5 Must-Have Skills To Succeed As A Translator

A lot of people think that only mastering one or two languages replacing words of the source language with words from the target language would be enough to become a proficient translator. In reality, this is far from the truth. Even if you understand the newspaper from another language or can communicate with native speakers of another language, the situation becomes entirely different when it comes to translating a piece of content from one language to another. In the case of the latter, you not only need to deal with the words but subject matter, complex grammar, terminology, and tone as well.



Translation is one of those highly-skilled professions that require expertise on a lot of skills. Having worked in this industry successfully for years now, we’ve created a list of five must-have skills that you need to prioritize in order to become a successful translator.


Top 5 Translation Skills


1. Master your native language

It’s common for translators to start with translating into their native language. Therefore, it pays to master your own language even before you start mastering another language. Be sure to be able to write and understand all of its grammatical, lexical, structural, and semantic rules. Things you can do to accomplish this are reading national literature within multiple genres, reading local magazines and newspapers, and of course, writing as much as possible in order to improve it.


2. Copywriting skills

Having only a thorough understanding of a foreign language would never help you become a good translator. You’ve to be able to maintain a clear and coherent writing style in every translation job you do. This will become even more important when it comes to working on creative, literary, or marketing texts because in these cases writing with flair and being able to adopt diverse styles are a must. Here, you must convey the true meaning of the original text in a manner that recreates the nuances and tone of the source in a manner that’s appropriate for the target audience.


3. Cultural knowledge in multiple languages

While mastering both your native and a foreign language is essential, it isn’t enough. To become a successful translator, you must understand the cultural aspects of the target language as well. Therefore, thoroughly study the culture of the foreign language you’re focusing, know its past and history, understand idiomatic expressions, traditions, day-to-day lingo, among others.


4. Translation qualifications

Put simply, to be able to write good copy, you need to keep on practicing. And when it comes to refining writing and translation skills, taking a specialized course is a proven way. Ideally, you should try to take a university course where you’d be able to participate in different forums and connect with other linguists, which would help you hone language skills. Additionally, most of these courses tend to provide you with an in-depth understanding of the history and methodology of translation, technologies that help it move forward, the industry’s commercial aspect, etc.


5. Proficiency in technologies

In today’s technological era, it has become essential to be proficient in commonly used technologies in the translation industry. You must understand how to efficiently work with editing tools, word processors, billing platforms, etc. You should also develop a clear understanding of how to use CAT (computer-aided translation) tools to provide the best service for your clients. And as technology is advancing constantly, be sure to stay updated with the latest developments.


Final Thoughts

Becoming a good translator isn’t as simple as many people may think. There’re lots of skills required to become a successful translator, including the ones I mentioned above. While the proficiency doesn’t come overnight, it’ll be highly rewarding and satisfying when your work is appreciated and recognized.


At Bare Bones Marketing, Dallas TX, we only employ the most proficient translators and thus, can handle any kind of translation job efficiently. If you need anything to be translated, feel free to contact us today through phone: 512.571.2296 or email: info@barebones-translations.com.


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