On Basic Requirements a Translator Needs to Satisfy
To produce a desirable translation, a professional translator needs to have specific capabilities.
Translation involves two processes: one is to truly understand what the original text is trying to deliver; the other is to express the exactly same meaning in target language in a readable way. Consequently, the first requirement for a translator is the ability to understand what the original text is saying. For C- E translation, we should have a good mastery of Chinese. Only in this way can we deliver the meaning of the original text in an accurate way during translation. This is of considerable importance especially when there are classical style words in the original text. Translation will be of great difficulty if we can not fully understand these words.
As mentioned above, the second process is to express the meaning of the original text in target language. Therefore, another requirement for a translator is to have an excellent mastery of the target language. For C-E translation, we need to be proficient in expressing meaning in English. It is a common phenomenon that we understand what the original text means while failing to find appropriate words and expression mode to deliver the meaning. In order to solve this problem, we need to read original English books as much as possible in spare time to enhance our mastery of English, which not only includes mastery of grammar but also involves accumulation of vocabulary.
In addition to mastery of two languages, translators also need to have an understanding of the corresponding cultural background. Language not only involves words and grammar, but also incorporates its specific cultural implication. Take “propaganda” as an example. This word delivers a negative connotation. If we translate it into "宣传”, which is a neutral word in Chinese, the translation can not be regarded as an accurate one.
The last point involves the attitude translators should hold during translation. Firstly we need to look up the words via network (for example, google) and vocabulary which we can not fully understand. The thought that "almost correct” is acceptable is totally wrong. We need to make our translation as accurate as possible, which is the basic requirement a translator should satisfy. Translation quality should be more emphasized than translation speed. Only when the quality is guaranteed can the speed increase produce benefit. If we still failed to figure out what a word/phrase/sentence in the original text is saying, we can list these queries in a spreadsheet and then send it to the editor together with the translation. What’s more, we need to be used to checking our document after completion of translation. The reason why customers choose our company instead of another one lies in the fact that they believe the translators of our company can do this job well. Therefore we need to produce the translation up to their expectation. For translators, only meticulousness can bring about improvement.
As a translator, we should improve ourselves in the aforementioned four aspects to gradually enhance the translation quality.
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