Clients want a “good translation” of their content; however, few understand what makes a good online translation. The top qualities of a good translator are being able to speak the languages you are translating fluently, translating between different languages smoothly, having a strong understanding of the topic you are translating, and translating without changing the meaning of what is being said. While the term “good translation” is somewhat uncertain, one thing is certain: a good translation prompts a good translator.
We’ve compiled some of the top tips to keep in mind while using online translators based on our experience providing high-quality website translations to companies across various industries. We hope you’ll find this a useful resource, whether you’re writing your content from scratch or tweaking it to help with the translation process.
Check out the useful tips below.
Accuracy recognizes a good human translator from a machine translation engine! Humans are incomparable in selecting the appropriate word or phrase for a high-quality translation. Aside from meaning, the translator must maintain tone, style, layout, and so on. Furthermore, no words, phrases, or sentences should be missing.
Acronyms and rhymes should be good. Mistranslation can have negative consequences; thus, precision is essential! To complete these tasks, translators must have a strong command of their working languages. Furthermore, they should be knowledgeable in a specific domain.
Accuracy implies that they are well-versed in the subtleties of the content they translate. Finally, they should have a keen eye for detail because, as we all know, the devil is in the details.
While clarity and accuracy may appear very similar, they are two very different qualities of a valuable translation. Nonetheless, clarity is as much dependent on the translator’s language skills and attention to detail as it is on accuracy. The clarity in translation refers to the ease with which a text can be understood. Once again, this is a rather ambiguous yet complex term. A precise translation implies that the target text should be written well so the reader can easily understand its meaning.
On the other hand, accuracy is concerned with the correct translation of the text, whereas clarity is concerned with perception. Complex sentences with relative or subordinate clauses are very common in English to Cebuano translation.
When working with poorly written source text, translators may be expected to edit it before translating it to achieve clarity. Indeed, any good translator understands that, regardless of the quality of the source text, the output should be clear.
One of the most basic translation rules states that a translation should not appear, sound, or read like a translation. As a result, authenticity is a critical component of any high-quality translation. However, achieving authenticity is not easy. To do so, there should be no errors, such as inappropriate words or tone, which could question the target text’s authenticity.
The translator achieves authenticity by placing equivalent words and phrases in the target language. Accuracy, in turn, implies that the target audience will never consider the target text a translation but rather an original work. The translation of literary works must be authentic. A well-translated content will be read as if it were the author’s original work.
Indeed, a good translator should be fluent in their working languages and understand how to convey the ‘feel’ of the original text. As a result, they can achieve the desired level of authenticity.
- Proper tone and style
The tone of a text refers to the author’s attitude in the text, whether covertly or overtly expressed. In general, not every document has a distinct style. For example, legal documents have a fairly neutral tone. In contrast, the author’s attitude is always clear in literary texts and editorial documents.
The translator’s job is to translate it as accurately and expressively as possible. The translator may need to add some explanations. In other words, if translated literally, the tone of the source text may be offensive to the intended audience.
Furthermore, when performing a translation, a good translator should know the relevant formal aspects, such as the work’s style. A good translator should maintain the appropriate content style in addition to the usual formalities, such as the logical structure of the text, its form, and so on. For example, consider translating a multilingual website.
If the text style is informal, they must use appropriate colloquial expressions (e.g., idioms, jargon). When working with a literary text, such as a poem, a translator must maintain even the rhythm or rhyme of the piece.
- Cultural sensitivity
A good online translator is useful and always keeps the target text’s audience in mind! The translated content should be culturally appropriate for its intended audience. For example, suppose the target text is about foreign traditions or religions that the target audience is likely to be unfamiliar with. In that case, it is the translator’s responsibility to ensure that all terms are used correctly.
The translator should look for suitable equivalents in the target language or take detailed notes on the subject. When it comes to cultural sensitivity, the translator must ensure that no aspect of the target text offends or confuses the reader.
For example, during the game localization process, translators must carefully consider the cultural suitability of the vocabulary terms used in the game to avoid offending the target audience.
As you can see, achieving cultural appropriateness complicates the translation process even more. This also implies that a translator must be native-like fluent in two or more languages, and well-versed in both the target and source cultures.
When it comes to translation, consistency is essential! The consistent use of appropriate language, tone, and style throughout the text is referred to as translation stability. For example, if a translator is working on a manual, they must use the correct terminology, maintain a neutral tone, and follow the style specified by the client.
Consistency is essential in literary translation. As a result, the linguist must ensure that they use appropriate common expressions and idioms and proper spelling and punctuation throughout the work.
- Contemporary jargon
Languages, like living things, never stop changing. Every aspect of their grammar, vocabulary, and spelling is changing. As a result, good translators are constantly striving to stay current with their working languages. They can ensure that they use the correct words and expressions when translating any content in this manner.
This is critical for marketing content. For example, if a translator is working on a marketing project aimed at young people, they must be familiar with their contemporary vocabulary to address the target audience appropriately.
Qualities of a Good Translator
We’ll look at the unique qualities needed to become a good translator, from linguistic qualifications to the need for self-discipline.
● Language Proficiency
Translators must be well-versed in both the target and source languages. Being a native speaker isn’t always necessary, but having complete fluency in both languages is. Language expertise depends on the mastery of the full range of everyday vocabulary, as well as differences in intonation and specialized terminology that can completely change the meaning of a phrase or word. A translator must be well-versed in regional dialects and local slang, as these can significantly impact comprehension.
● Respect And Appreciation For Other Cultures
A good translator respects and values the cultures that their translations represent. Translators’ work helps to dispel the stigmas, misconceptions, and negative stereotypes that prevent different cultural groups from understanding and embracing one another. They can play an important role in cross-cultural exchange by sharing their cultural appreciation with the rest of the world.
● Attention to Details
Every detail counts in professional translation. A single misspelled word can completely alter the meaning of the content. Professional translators strive for consistency in their work and use reference materials when necessary, as compliance with existing glossaries is critical in eliminating discrepancies when translating specific terminologies. Furthermore, translators must maintain a style that reflects their client’s wishes, whether a more professional and formal tone or one that has come across as a little more personal.
● The Capability to Take Criticism
Skilled translator expects perfection from themselves and strives to produce high-quality work. Nonetheless, even the most experienced professionals can improve. To improve their skills, good translators accept and encourage feedback.
● Excellent Time Management Ability
Tight deadlines and schedules are common in professional translation, and even an hour late can significantly affect a work scenario. In high-stakes situations, a client may request that a translator complete large projects in a short period of time. Experienced online translators understand how to strike the proper balance between speed and accuracy in order to meet their clients’ expectations.
A good online translation depends entirely on the translator’s abilities and the client’s clear instructions and guides. Several other factors, besides good expertise in their working languages and area of specialization, make a translator suitable; however, if there is a lack of communication between the client and the translator, the quality of the output is doubtful.
Always ensure that the translator you are working with is willing to communicate openly, has good time management skills, and, most importantly, is a trustworthy partner.