Being multilingual is not the only skill a language translator needs, though it’s surely the most crucial. These language translators learn their languages in a number of ways. Many were brought up in bilingual households or countries. Some mastered their second or third language in school and then had experience abroad. Some took intensive language translation courses or worked in a foreign country for a number of years. Also it is a little bit common for translators to end up being freelancers right after working as military or government linguists.
Nearly all translators working in the United States have at the very least a Bachelor’s Degree, though not always in translation. In most cases, most professional translators have at the very least some experience working and/or living in a nation where their particular source language or languages are used. A lot of translators stayed and worked in their source language country many years, or pursued higher education in their source language.
Language Translator Experience As An Asset
In-country experience is a huge asset for a translator, because translation work requires understanding not only the structure of the language to be converted, but the cultural framework which encompasses it. This is not to state that classroom learning does not develop exceptional translators, but it is crucial to appreciate at the very start that to be a very good professional translator, you must have near-native proficiency in the source language.
Lots of people ask themselves how to know if their language proficiencies are good enough to function as a translator. Perhaps the simplest way to have a feel for your translation readiness is to try to translate something. Get on the internet and try to find a legal text, newspaper article or press release in the source language, after that try and translate it. Expert translators make regular use of reference materials including print and online dictionaries, terminology listings, et cetera. Therefore when you take a look at your exercise text, do not think that you ought to be able to whip out a flawless translation then and there. The main points are: are you able to fully grasp this text on both a word-for-word as well as a conceptual level, and can you express its meaning in the target language?
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