For the most part, professional translators are also students because in this profession you must continue updating your skills and knowledge well past the conclusion of you formal college training so as to stay abreast in of one’s areas of expertise, as well as those strictly related to translation per se.
A translator specializing in a particular field, e.g. legal, should be aware of any changes, new terminology, etc. that take place in his or her area of expertise. Additionally, it is also necessary to inquire and know about new translation tools that appear on the market; this will help you expand your customer base and your field of work.
Aside from being a student, the translator is also a “researcher.” Why? Because the job of a professional translator sometimes seems to require an encyclopedic knowledge. It is advisable that as translators, we specialize in a specific field. However, oftentimes our curiosity, or external demands, pushes us to expand ourselves and that is when we are tempted to take on jobs relating to other areas of knowledge. Medicine, the social sciences, technology, technical manuals, children’s literature, company brochures . . . sometimes we want it all! And that’s when research becomes paramount. The translator must own up and be responsible for the text delivered, and to reach a good final product, he or she must embark in thorough research. The process of continuous learning is an everyday ingredient in the life of a translator.
That said, we cannot forget our role as writers also. Not only do we need to have a thorough understanding of both languages (source language and target language) but also our spelling, grammar and vocabulary usage should aim for perfection. It’s not easy to maintain the consistency in style, register and vocabulary used. All of this requires a lot of concentration and practice, in addition to years of study and preparation.
The greatest satisfaction in all of this is that once the final text is delivered, we may earn the customer’s praise for the excellent quality of our work. When this is the case, it means that we have met the client’s expectations and that we are likely to be their first choice when hiring translation services in the future.
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