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. 




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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Eric Batley September 9, 2021 0 Comments

Why Machine Translation Cannot Replace Human Translators

Effective and precise communication is very important to deal with the globalized world and to expand your business across borders. That is why so many companies hire translation services. The advancement of machine technology has taken translation services to the next level. Some companies opt for machine translation and some opt for human translation.

Difference Between Human Translation and Machine Translation

Technology advancement has impacted different fields of the world and the translation industry is one of them. The machine can do translations but human translation is the best form of translating all kinds of written documents, marketing material, magazines, websites, legal documents, product manuals, and many more. Human translators do the translation by taking all the necessary aspects into consideration, to provide their audience with an impeccable translation that leaves an impact on them.

Machine translation only does the translation from one language to another. It can not perform as a human does. Humans consider the intended message to be retained in the translation process whereas machine translation does only literal translation. 

What do you think the future holds? Will the advancement in machine translation outpace the human translators? No! Why? Primarily because the machines cannot comprehend the cultural aspects and may fail where creative translation (transcreation) is needed!

Let us have a look at why machine translation cannot replace human translation. 

Machine Translation Can Not Deliver Contextual Meaning

There are thousands of languages spoken around the globe and in each language, there are different words that have different meanings according to the context. Context is very important, and out of context translation can ruin the intended message. Peter Gilliver, who is the lexicographer of the Oxford English dictionary narrated that in the English language, the form of verb run has 645 different meanings. Now the question is whether the machine translation can translate all these meanings in their different contexts in more than one language. The answer is no. Humans can translate the context of the word in different languages and they also relate words according to different situations. The competent translator can translate all the homonyms of the words in each language and their relationship with other words. 

At present, machine translation does not possess any skill that can translate different contexts and different meanings that a single word has in the context. So, it’s obvious, we need human translation for in-context translation.

Machine Translation Cannot Understand the Nuances of the Culture

Every country has its own norms and values that shape their culture. The culture of the region also determines their way of communication. The problem with machine translation is that it cannot be sensitive to culture. The idioms, phrases, and slangs used in every culture are different. Machines cannot be programmed to understand the culture. The same words spoken in different cultures have different meanings. Some words and phrases that are considered humorous in one culture might be offensive in other cultures. Only human translators can identify these differences. While machine translation only can do a literal translation. The human translators are native to the cultures and can understand the cultural and linguistic nuances. This gives human translation an edge over machine translation. 

Machines Cannot Be Programmed For Localization

The integration of socio-cultural aspects is what makes translation effective. Linguistics know languages keep on changing according to their cultural requirements and they pay special attention to the contextual meaning. On the other hand, it is very difficult to program machines for new words that appear every time in translation as per their localized dialect. To handle this problem, many machines are regularly programmed with algorithms, but this is a very tedious and time-taking task.

 As contrary to the machine, human translators can easily adapt to the new changes in the language and provide you with impeccable translation with a correct and equivalent combination of words.

Machine Translation Requires Human To Operate

To program the machine with an algorithm and to give it instructions, human beings are required. After the translation, proofreading is required to identify any grammatical and lexical errors. The human translators give the finishing touch to your piece of the document as per the needs of the localized audience. The intricacies of different languages can only be understood by human beings. Artificial intelligence cannot be compared with human intelligence because artificial intelligence is also processed by human beings. Machine translation is developed to assist human translation and not to eradicate them. So human translation cannot be taken over by machine translation.

Machine Translators Cannot Translate According To Style and Tone

Every linguistic writing has a different style and tone, and for seamless translation, it is necessary to translate documents according to their original tone. The translation machines are programmed in such a way that they swap the words with the most appropriate vocabulary, but the use of appropriate vocabulary is not sufficient. For example, there is a difference in tone when we use the words pleasure and happiness. Machines cannot differentiate between the style and tone of words. This is the biggest difference between machine and human translation. Only the human translator can provide you with seamless translation according to the tone of your document.

Bottom Line 

No doubt the machine translation has come a long way since the last decade and many translation companies are using its services to produce rapid translation at an economical rate but this technology is still in the process of innovation and its results need human assistance to get verified. The end of the story is, that precise and accurate translation can only be done by human translators. Chinese Translation Services has a team of native translators that provides you with robust translation services in fast turnaround time and economical rates. Visit us for more details.

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Antonia October 29, 2020 0 Comments