How to achieve a professional level of translation?

Achieving a professional level of translation – or a “protranslating” level – isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either. With the right knowledge and skills, you can achieve it if you make every effort and put your mind to it. 

In this blog post, we’ll give you a few important tips that will help you achieve the professional level of translation, or the “protranslating” level, you are looking for.

Here are a few tips to help you achieve a “Protranslating” level:

  1. Start by reading the whole text carefully.

Besides reading the entire text at least once, you should also do some brief research into the subject of the text so that you have some general knowledge about it before you start translating. 

  1. Find out the author’s goal with that particular text.

With this information in mind, adjust the register and terminology in the translation accordingly.

  1. Find out who the intended readership is.

Adapt your translation to your readership. Children aren’t the same as adults or teenagers.

  1. Never try to translate word for word. 

Instead, read the entire sentence and try to grasp its meaning as a whole; then translate the meaning.  

  1. Be coherent in your use of terminology.

If you translate a term in a particular way, you should always translate it the same way whenever appropriate. Try creating a glossary on an Excel spreadsheet; this will prove to be very helpful.

  1. Make proper use of dictionaries.

Never simply use the first translation you see on the list. Read what the different suggestions mean so you choose the correct one.

  1. Be careful of online sources.

Make sure any online sources you use are trustworthy. Otherwise, you may have a problem with your translation.

  1. Consult the style guides to make sure your finished translation is a well-written text.

Follow the specified rules for writing numbers, bibliographical references, capital and small letters, acronyms and abbreviations, notes, lists, and the use of italics and boldface, among others.

  1. Be wary of “false friends”.

You cannot hope to achieve a professional level of translation if you allow yourself to be led astray by “false friends”. 

  1. Read your translation after you finish it.

Once you’ve finished the translation, read the whole thing through without looking at the source text. If it reads as though it had been written from scratch in the target language, you’re on the right track. If you have the time, re-read your text a few days or weeks later. This allows you to take a fresh look at it with new, keen eyes.

If you ever need assistance with a professional translation, send us your project and we’ll be delighted to help.