Best Way To Improve Your Language Skills As A Translator

Excellence cannot be attained without constant effort. People who are good at something do not achieve a position of merit within a day or two, rather their success is buttressed upon an arduous journey of constant repetition, critical and capacity-building approach. 

 

Similarly, if you want to ameliorate your language skills as a translator, you need to adopt a path of constant work embedded with a critical approach where you work upon your weak points, meanwhile, strengthening your merits. Moreover, you need to have a passion for learning. Because, as far as the job itself is concerned, languages are in a constantly evolving process with the addition of new words and dialects. 

 

In this article, we will discuss some of the ways that you can adopt to improve your language skills as a translator;

 

Diversify Your Reading Resources

 

Like mentioned earlier, one cannot grow as a professional if he is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting different results every time. You have to try something different. In order to improve your skills, you have to diversify your reading resources.

 

The reason why there is a prevalent difference between a good translator and a poor one is that the good translator thinks outside the box. He is constantly trying to get an edge over his or her competitor. And in this endeavor, he diversifies his resources to come up with a different approach that enables an effective translation output. 

 

Moreover, consulting various resources also ameliorates your creativity. You get in a mindset where you understand how people think differently. And what logic and information go behind that opinion. This also helps you as a translator and makes your job easier because you understand the perception, values, and ideologies of people. Hence, your translated work keeps all these cultural factors intact.  

 

Understanding the Culture of Target Audience

 

The purpose of translation is to communicate with an audience that speaks a different language. Though it may seem like an easy task, it is one of the most daunting tasks that translators can face during the process of localization. 

 

On the contrary, one might argue that Translations are just simple word-to-word replacements, so why is it deemed a difficult task? 

Well, the fact of the matter over here is that you can replace words with machine translators. But there is no guarantee that it will convey the same meaning that was initially intended. There is a whole cultural background that comes along with a language. You cannot convey a message without having to understand the cultural intricacies, nuances, and preferences of the target audience. 

 

Thereby, a translator needs to enhance his skills by conducting deeper research of the text and its meaning. He cannot deliver a text until and unless he inculcates every subtle reference and nuance that was implied in the original text. Because if you don’t, you would probably make the mistake of misinterpreting the text, which can eventually lead to adverse repercussions on organizations. Hence, you have to ensure accurate translations are done. And for this particular purpose, it is advisable to take assistance from professional translation agencies. 

 

Writing Skills

 

You can research all you want, read all the articles or books for your understanding of the target audience’s culture. But until and unless you acquire mastery in the art of writing, you will never be able to become a good translator. 

 

In the field of translations and localization, mediocre or below-standard writing cannot survive for a long period of time. Your competition is with some of the best writers in the world, who also happen to be multilingual experts. And in order to compete with them, you have to raise your standards. 

 

First, it’s imperative to understand that there are different styles of writing. And your writing has to be molded as per the characteristics or demands of the target audience. For instance, you are not supposed to write in a difficult language. If your target audience consists of middle-class and lower-middle-class people. Similarly, you have to carry a professional writing style if you are targeting businesses.

 

 Moreover, you also have to take into consideration the nature of your writing. In this case, ensure if you’re writing for marketing, advertising purposes or promotional purposes, or simply writing in a technical or legal capacity. 

 

Practice, Practice, and Practice

 

Once you realize what steps you need to take in order to improve your skills as a translator. The next and the most important aspect is to make sure that you practice translating. The one thing that can ensure successful results is your work ethic. You need to put in the work to improve your skills in translating.  

 

Furthermore, you can also sharpen your skills by working with those texts and passages that have been translated before. So that you can compare your results with them. And see where you lack and which areas you can count on as your strengths. Some translators have a habit of translating texts in the literal sense, hence losing the cultural connotations and idiomatic phrases that come along with the language. However, if you practice and see such mistakes, you can learn and work to prevent them from ever happening again. 

 

It might be quite sobering for young translators to see that whenever they translate a text there is always some room for error. But that is when you need to pluck up your courage and see that these errors are an opportunity for you to make progress and improve. 

 

Accepting Feedback

 

Valuable feedback is extremely essential to enhance your translation skills. It will help you identify what mistakes you are making vis-a-vis the style of writing, grammatical errors, tone of the text, plus whether your translation kept the cultural connotation intact while perfectly conveying the intended message. 

 

However, you have to be careful in terms of who is giving you the feedback. Because if you ask 50 people for feedback, you’ll probably get 50 narratives and suggestions. And there is a high chance that every suggestion is different from the other one. Hence, making it difficult for you to differentiate. Thereby, you have to narrow down the options and refrain from confusing yourself.

 

In this context, you have to realize which feedback adds more value to your work. Moreover, the person who you are consulting should be well-credentialed as well. You cannot go ask anyone to give you feedback. Hence, look out for translators with sound experience and expertise. Moreover, take their feedback for the general improvement of your translation process and language sense, rather than getting one or two documents approved. 

 

Conclusion

 

Conclusively, we can proclaim that there is no standard methodology to improve your translation skills. You first need to conduct a complete SWOT analysis. In which you critically analyze your strengths and weaknesses as a translator. And then work to strengthen and improve them respectively. 

 

Becoming a good translator is a journey and not a one-day process. You have to think logically and cover every aspect that will enable you to improve your translation skills. As mentioned in this article, you have to think outside the box by diversifying your resources. This will enable you to understand the cultural intricacies of the target audience and then embed them within your documents. Having said all that, you have to improve your writing skills. And that can only be done by practicing, and then getting it checked by some translation expert who will give you the feedback that you need to ameliorate your skills as a translator. 

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Ahmer September 9, 2021 0 Comments

Challenges in Translating Chinese Creative Literary Works

What does a writer want? If a written book is appreciated by the readers, discussed in the book clubs, and that it is translated into multi-languages. You’d be surprised to learn writers from the western side of the world find Chinese text impeccably curious. Especially the Americans, who like to read and learn Chinese are often seen trying to translate Chinese novels. Jeremy Stevenson is one of those Americans who showed a keen interest in Chinese literature. He tried translating Liu Cixin’s work “The Three Body Problem” into English. Since then, the book has sold over 110,000 copies! 

However, was it easy for him to translate the Chinese book? To achieve this milestone, Stevenson had to face certain complications that any translator usually faces during translation from Chinese into any other target language. 

The Chinese language comprises pictograms (strokes), not letters, which makes the translation process harder and time taking. 

What Stevenson felt was that contemporary Chinese fiction is rather fascinating, but these aren’t easily available in the market. If any of them is available, it is sold off at Amazon, or available in poor quality. This is one of the standard issues with the Chinese context. 

Why Do Translators Face Challenges in Chinese Content?

The reason why most of the Chinese work goes unnoticed is because of language origin. Languages that are written with the help of letters follow the basic structure despite the differences like German, Italian, or English. 

The literary translators need a strong understanding of language to translate Mandarin Chinese to English. So as you can expect, literature conveys information in a particular way. Translators with a Mandarin Chinese background tend to produce a good quality translation of Chinese literacy. 

What Makes a Literary Translator Great?

The ability to overcome the challenges of a language.

Remember that Mandarin is divided into two main categories; Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. Besides these two prime categories, there are other regional dialects as well. Keeping these in mind, we have compiled a list of a few primary aspects that make Chinese translation difficult. 

  • Unrelated grammar rules 

What is the major difference between English and Chinese? The grammar rules applicable in English are not applicable to Chinese (either simplified or traditional version) language. Mandarin Chinese is specifically alien to English grammar. The fundamental rules of verb conjugations simply don’t exist in Chinese grammar. 

It adds to the complication of the accuracy of content from Chinese to English. So a message needs to be conveyed differently. 

  • Topic prominence 

A topic-prominent language requires a translator’s focus. You need to listen or read the sentence to understand what is being said in the context. Because the standard grammar does not apply to Mandarin Chinese, it is important to read and reread the content carefully before translating Mandarin. 

This isn’t only time taking, but also puts the translator into a heavy workload. A reader needs to comprehend the literature context even after the translation process ends. Proofreading subtracts major chunks, which is why you need to make sure that subject prominent languages like Chinese or English or even French are thoroughly interpreted. 

  • Characters and meanings

What is the average number of Chinese characters that a reader has to read in a Chinese newspaper?

Usually, an average of 2000 to 3000 Chinese characters are in a Chinese newspaper. If you are reading a book, the numbers can exceed more than 50,000 Chinese characters. Chinese characters are comprised of logograms rather than phonemes. 

Chinese characters indicate unique meanings if combined with different characters. This also affects the pronunciations, making the pronunciations somewhat similar. To differentiate the tones and meanings means to place the characters in the sentence that makes sense around the context. 

  • Writing script 

As mentioned earlier, there are two major houses for the Chinese language–Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. The complexity of strokes is different in both dialects. Simplified Chinese (as the name suggests) has lesser strokes than Traditional Chinese. 

To summarize this, the script complicates the literacy work. The simplified version is easy to translate comparatively to the Traditional Chinese. Usually, the major literary works like Chinese poetry, historical and cultural references are often available in Traditional Chinese, which makes the translation difficult. 

  • Difference in expressions 

To be a creative translator, he/she must have the right understanding of the Chinese characters. The Chinese lexicon comprises unique references from history and culture, which is why a non-native speaker faces a hard time understanding it. 

The use of idioms, metaphors, and sayings is extremely common in Chinese literature. A translator cannot ignore them in translation or simplify it either because each metaphor, idiom, and saying consists of creative expression. This is another reason a translator must have deep knowledge and understanding of the Chinese culture and literature before he can even begin the translation. 

How a Literal Translator Can Improve?

Literary translators specifically have the skillset in literary works. They do know the basics, but with time, they need to update their skills too. What makes a great literary translator is their level of understanding of the Chinese characters and overall content’s essence. 

It’s the job of a translator to interpret the source context and to translate it into the target language in a way that rightfully conveys the meaning. 

Moreover, Shanghai Translation Grants were established in 2015, to overcome the translation problem and to improve the translation quality of the Chinese literature. It drastically improved the readership of native Chinese books that were translated into English, Vietnamese, Serbian, and Japanese. According to the respective policies, the grant was eligible for the published or non-published translated books in the following categories. 

  • Literature 
  • Art
  • History 
  • Children’s books

If such steps are taken by the government, they can promote their native culture and language from a literal point of view. This will improve one’s perception of culture and language. Also, this will encourage foreign translators to dwell deeper into Chinese literature and expand their knowledge. 

Popular Chinese books are breaking the overseas barriers, let’s see how long it further takes to develop a strong foothold in the market.  

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Antonia October 19, 2020 0 Comments

Choosing the Right CRM to Operate in the Chinese Market

In the world of business, everyone follows a set of rules that take them towards success. While it is commonly quoted that “the customer is always right”, companies often lag behind in providing that quality customer service that is needed. In order to deal with this problem of managing customer queries and demands, businesses have come up with a program that addresses specifically to customer needs. 

The CRM (customer relationship management) program is a tool that aids corporations to organize, collect, and access customer information, with a goal to manage and provide better consumer support. CRM software connects various departments of a company and shares significant real-time data regarding consumers, and has the ability to generate data from marketing, sales, and customer service by keeping it organized. This information is then used for optimizing business programs and retaining consumers.

The task of optimizing business processes and retaining customers is a difficult one, particularly in China where competition is high and new entrants are willing to take over control. This is why CRM software has become a necessity in this highly competitive market. 

However, before a company undertakes the task of choosing a CRM software, it has to keep in mind certain variables, such as software costs, scalability, and business value. Additionally, it should ensure the CRM software that it is choosing is fully integrated into the market so that it can fulfill all customer requirements effectively and efficiently.

The Advantages of CRM Software

When a firm uses a CRM program, it reaps the benefits of a fruitful and productive business. The consumers are able to gain a personalized experience, along with the option to make a complaint if any arises. The CRM software lends the facility of automated data entry as well, which helps a company save its precious time and effort. 

Having the facility of real-time data is a needed one, as it allows a company to develop better relationships with consumers. The experiences acquired through CRM software will definitely make a firm understand the demands of its customers and address them effectively, paving the way for a better relationship with them. Additionally, by using a CRM program, a huge jump can be observed in sales, profits, and the number of customers. In short, CRM software is the best tool a company can employ, if it wants greater profits and sales. 

Western CRM Tools in China

In China, Western Customer Relationship Management tools are not blocked. But it is also true that not all of the CRM tools are considered to be the right choice.

Several CRM programs that are operating in the West might lack Chinese payment methods and connections with Chinese platforms. They might have the complete Chinese translated version missing altogether. In such cases, data collection may not be as systematic as it should be which will ultimately result in weakening the usability of CRM for the business.

CRM Solutions used in China

Some CRM solutions have been jotted out by the experts that are mostly used in China for business integration and are discussed below;

a) SAP

The first top CRM solution is SAP. SAP is known as CRM software that is devoted to supporting “intelligent enterprises” in China. This software can be used by B2C and B2B companies as well.  It is quite helpful in the fields of marketing management, commerce, service, sales, and consumer data, and renowned Chinese corporations such as Tencent, Alibaba, and Baidu are among SAP’s customers.

b) WeChat CRM

WeChat is known as the most essential social media in China today. In fact, it has quickly become one of the most appropriate marketing channels in China. WeChat CRM solution is a perfect way to integrate social media platforms with a CRM program. However, WeChat CRM tools have certain limitations, as it focuses on the WeChat platform only and addresses only those customers who are registered on WeChat.

c) HubSpot

HubSpot is a very good choice for the Chinese market as it enables international organizations to manage their work through one system. Although HubSpot doesn’t have a Chinese version, it is still popularly chosen by organizations to manage their customer relationship management. 

d) Microsoft

Microsoft has CRM software known as “Dynamics 365” consisting of an advanced data collection features. This CRM system is highly customizable and comes with countless features that can be efficiently used for enhancing sales, increase customer services, and improve overall operations.

e) Oracle

Oracle is considered as CRM software of the future. Oracle has introduced a tool that has the ability to deal with several challenges that modern businesses are likely to encounter. The Oracle CRM solution is very progressive and is perfect for large companies comprising a great consumer base and sophisticated work.

f) Salesforce

Salesforce CRM software is optimized for China. Salesforce focuses on updating the software continuously for providing trustworthy performances and scalability.

A Look at the emerging Chinese CRMs

Other than the western CRM software, there are several local Chinese solutions available which can prove to be a wise option for enhancing business operations. Here are a few CRM software which are likely to take over the business landscape of the future.

  • Big Cat

Big Cat is a new platform comprising core features that are identical to HubSpot. Unlike western CRM tools though, Big Cat proposes very few core features, which makes it a less flexible solution.

  • Xiaoman Keji

Xiaoman Keji focuses on Chinese companies and is designed according to the thinking of Chinese people. However, it is limited in operation as it does not support English.

  • Kingdee

Kingdee is local software that features the program in both Chinese and English. It works best when is used with an international team. This solution is very easy to use and is well-integrated with native platforms.

CRM Solutions—what the future holds?

 As far as choosing the right CRM is concerned, the answer lies in a customized approach. Any CRM software that a company chooses will have some limitations of its own. This is the reason it is best to choose a customized CRM software that will address all business concerns effectively.

Customizing CRM software basically means making it more suitable for fulfilling the needs of the business. There are countless ways to customize CRM software. For example, a company might require some additional fields which are unsupported by the platforms but are mandatory for collecting information about the customers. A company can customize its CRM software to fit in the answers and customer queries, addressing those queries which are most commonly registered. 

In other cases, a company can integrate current sales and marketing automation tools for creating a specific situation which will be a significant step towards gaining more profits.

The Last Word

A CRM platform does the work of a whole business operation. Due to the nature of these software, their benefits in the integration of business operations are undeniable. Understandably, companies that have invested in CRM software experience a rise in sales, customer satisfaction, and greater business productivity. The Chinese market is no exception—a company has to choose the most suitable CRM in order to take advantage of the high population and technological advancement in China. This will pave the way for greater business productivity, growth, and excellence that companies aim for globally. 

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Antonia October 19, 2020 0 Comments