If you think you are good at some certain foreign language, and interested in translation between this language and your mother tongue, to earn some money or make it as your career, the following four steps are very important to help you success.
When you received the materials needed translation, the first thing you need to do is read – read through the source document, in order to get a sense of the contents as well as its style. This can make the foundation key of your translation. Thus, when you go through translation process, you can choose the right word and use the suitable style.
Find some key words of the material, such as the name of a meeting, a kind of wine, an international organization, crawler crane, polrvinyl chloride, a model of Nikon, etc. Type them in the search bar and find some related information through Internet. This can help you understand the general background of that field.
If you say, the first two steps are for preparation, this step is for producing. Surely, this is the very important process for translation and will take the most of time. During translation, you need to be concentrated. If you are doing translation process in a computer aided tool, for example Trados, the following steps are important to follow.
a. Make sure you open the correct TM (translation memory), and the right file to process. Usually, we can translate .doc file in .doc format. But, for .xml, .html, .xls file, we always open them in tageditor to translate.
b. Check the necessary settings are correct. Such as font (宋体 for Simplified Chinese, PMingLiu for Traditional Chinese) and also .ini settings in Tageditor.
c. When you open a sentence in Trados, it is recommended to copy source first, and then make translation in that copied source sentence. This can avoid missing in translation. And also get rid of misspelling of some numbers and initiates.
d. When you translate some certain sentence, you’d better read the sentence quickly and get a general understanding in your mind. This can be helpful for correct represent in target language and avoiding making a deliberate misinterpretation out of context.
Even through we have some specially assigned person to proofread before deliverying to clients, but here, I really want to emphasis the importance of proofreading of everyone, here it means the translator.
As you know, when you translate, you concentrate on the understanding and expression of some certain sentence, or some paragraph. It is quite common that the translation of some sentence or paragraph is very abrupt or not that appropriate in the whole context. Through proofreading, you can find such kind of bad translation, maybe a word, or maybe a phrase and the whole sentence. By finding and correcting of such translation, you can not only correct some stupid mistakes but also improve your translation skills.
Translation, especially good translation, is far more difficult than people think. Some people may say, “Oh, you know English, you know Chinese. Surely you can conduct a translation job. That is so easy!” However, I just want to say, it is easier said than done! If you want to be a qualified translator, you need to be good at two languages, and be familiar with some certain kind of fields. Also you need a lot of practice to master translation skills. Anyway, where there is a will, there is a way. Hope your dreams may come true!