Let’s start with oral translation, or interpreting. It is considered as one of the most difficult types of translation and mastering. It can take years. In order to be good at interpreting, first of all, the interpreter is expected to be competent with the language, quickly understand and analyze the received information and translate it accordingly, quickly figure out the key of the conversation and also they’re expected to constantly improve themselves.
1. The interpreter must know what he’s going to translate.
Without paying attention to the topic at hand and learning at least the basics of it, you might miss crucial information and end up turning a well-said sentence into an incomprehensible mess, full of kludges and mistakes.
2. Keep notes.
If you tend to forget something or there is too much information to learn over the short period of time, then don’t test your luck and note down the most important parts. It’ll help you a lot and get you out of a problematic situation if something slips out of your mind. Same goes for special terms and words – forgetting one can cause more problems than it’s worth.
3. Talk things over with your client.
The last thing you want to do is to be unprepared in any way, so talking things over with your client (or the speaker) is better than thinking again and again what exactly is going to happen. Don’t worry about it and don’t be afraid to run down through the details and talk about it. Plan everything out together; after all, you are on friendly terms during this job.
4. React quickly.
There is nothing more embarrassing for an interpreter than taking too long to start talking. You’re already under pressure, and uneasy silence will only make things worse. At most, take only a few seconds – it’ll be easier for you as you gain experience in the field.
5. Be clear and informative at the same time.
Interpreting requires careful consideration and at the same time it requires you to be quick and informative. Speak slowly, clearly, be confident in your skills, make it sound natural and deliver the necessary information to another person or audience.
When it comes to written translation, it’s completely different. You don’t need to react quickly and be under a lot of pressure. You can take your time to evaluate the material, try different approaches, think everything over, choose the variant that suits you most, get consulting on the matter, and anything else that will help you to make an accurate and faithful translation.
1. Translate the meaning.
Just replacing the words with words in another language will only result in unintelligible gibberish, so pay more attention to the meaning and context rather than words themselves. This is especially important if you translate some kind of documentation, because one mistake could result in big problems for other people.
2. Be creative.
Sometimes you might encounter a challenging sentence or paragraph, but you can get past them unharmed if you use some creativity. Perhaps you can rearrange them without losing much of the information, and make it work a lot better in the language of choice.
3. Your abilities are your limit.
Don’t take a project that you know you can’t handle. It’ll only make you feel nervous and the final result won’t worth the extra effort you have to put in. Instead, start with simpler projects, but slowly move up as you go to keep it challenging, yet doable.
4. Ask a native speaker to read through your work.
Sometimes even the best professionals make mistakes in their mother tongue, and what can be said if the language you’re translating to is not your first language. Ask someone you know to proofread your work and tell you what should be modified and how you can improve the final result.
5. Stick to the original style.
One the most important things in the translation process is keeping the style intact no matter what. Especially if you’re translating literature or poetry, you need to deliver the final result as closer to original as possible. And if there is no such style in the language of choice, or it’s different, then you’ll have to get even more creative and rewrite it using that style in order to deliver best possible quality. You probably haven’t thought you’ll get to be on par with the author?