Becoming a Better Translator - Part 2
Create a user-friendly database on your computer of challenging expressions andr words.
How to Improve Your Translation Skills
Read a Variety of Technical Texts in Both Languages
Even when you’re translating from one language into your mother tongue, you still need time to learn certain tech fields which you may not be entirely familiar with in your own language. Start reading a variety of technical texts in both languages: this is a great idea for someone who’s planning to not only improve the quality of their work, but also their speed.
Don’t Accept Difficult Projects
Don’t take on difficult projects. A technical project with a rush deadline is not ideal for someone who is attempting new fields. It’s going to take you forever to complete the project when it would be much wiser to take on smaller projects if you’re trying to expand your expertise. Taking on a few short translation projects will help you become more comfortable with longer texts and improve your confidence. If you’re not comfortable about a specific project, don’t attempt it. And, of course, your client will appreciate your honesty.
Write Your Own Subtitles
When you’re watching documentaries and films in the foreign language you’re interested in and you hear an interesting expression, try not to look at the subtitles: instead, work out a more suitable translation of your own in your mother tongue. Doing this type of exercise keeps your mind alert and increases your brain’s potential. Try doing this with anything you’re listening to from speakers of your own language on radio, TV, or even in the street, because it will increase your ability to translate accurately. You might also like to keep notes of points worth remembering.
Repetition Is Key
Repetition is very important when it comes to learning, so keep a reference book on your night table, certainly at least until you’ve proven what an efficient and accurate translator you’ve become. Along with reading reference and other books, continue revising the most difficult volumes of collocations and set phrases that are most likely to appear in your translation projects. Doing this will fill in all the gaps in your knowledge.
Create Your Own Database of Words and Expressions
Our final piece of advice is to create a user-friendly database on your computer of challenging expressions and/or words, and refer to it whenever you’re looking for that perfect word. You might like to colour-code it or jazz it up to suit your personality, but this database will become very useful to you. To begin with, it’s much easier to access your own database than it is to access a comprehensive dictionary, and secondly, because you’ve made it look so fancy, you’re far more likely to remember your own information than you are the boring pages of a regular dictionary.