At our company we have literally thousands of translators on our books in all language pairs. Yet only a few are regularly used for each language.

Really good translations that require very little editing are few and far between. And so companies stick to the translators that consistently provide work.

So if you are just starting out as a translator or are failing to get the regular work that you would like, how do you from the rest?

The biggest tip I can offer is after translating the project, read it over just once more. Little things like basic grammar rules and a final (and not just the computer one – it’s amazing how many people fail to do this!) will go a long way.

Make sure it makes sense in the target language and that you haven’t missed out words or even whole phrases. Over translation is also a big no-no. Make sure names are spelled correctly and numbers are as they were in the source. When it comes to translation, these little things are crucial. Keep the format of the document simple and as it appeared in the source. No editor wants to be re-formatting, adding spaces and tabs and changing fonts to italics and bold.

Whatever you do, if you don’t have time to take on a project, don’t say that you do. It only takes one really bad, rushed translation to have your name taken off the books, or the pay rates reversed if the editor has to re-translate everything.

A few consistently good translations will result in a flood of work, as there is always something to be translated.

And if you don’t have a full understanding of at least the target language and a good understanding of the source language, maybe it’s time to think about a new career!

Spanish version: Cómo distinguirse entre la multitud

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