The Knowledge of the Translator

How to Become a Successful Translator

As in all work based on productivity and stability, a certain workflow is relevant in translation. The following recommendations will help translators improve their performance, especially in written translation, and work more efficiently in the translation industry. Translators who work by considering this workflow will work faster and produce better quality translations.

How to Become a Translator?

  • What are the steps of Translation?

Preparation, Translation, Control, and Delivery

The process of written translation comprises, in the most general sense, four phases: preparation, translation, control, and delivery. Regardless of the scope, size, or content of the work sent to a translator, it is very important to work through these basic stages. The full implementation of the translation workflow is necessary to ensure the preservation of the relationship between the translator and the client. The following sections will examine the workflow of written translation in detail.

  • Pre-translation Preparations

When a translator receives a project, the first thing he or she must do is check the integrity of the project files and report anything out of place. Asking critical questions later rather than sooner will disrupt the entire process. If you only see a reference file after you’ve completed have the translation, you will have to look back through the text and may have to edit all your work. It will be a waste of time for you. It is key that you note and resolve any problem before starting work.

  • Which Tools Do Translators Use

After verifying the integrity of the project files, the translator must open the corresponding working file using the requested CAT tool. After opening the translation without issue, the translator must also open the reference file sent together with the project. The translator must consider the subject of translation text, the audience that will read the translation, and the style used in the article while reading the reference file. After scanning the reference file, the translator must examine the instructions for the translation and, if necessary, take special notes. After preparing with the instructions and reference file, the translator should start translating the file opened in the CAT tool.


The translator should master the CAT tool that the client or translator has determined to perform translation at the desired level. Knowing the most useful shortcuts, unique features, and CAT tool file formats saves the translator time and improves the quality of the translation.

While translating, it is important to use critical shortcuts to progress quickly and to translate accurately and consistently at this speed. Using matches for specific segments during translation, browsing old translations in the translation memory for the same project with a concordance search, and other features offered by CAT tools also take the translation process to the next level.

  • Importance of Knowing the Languages Well

To reveal the most accurate translation, it is necessary to know the source and target languages well and to master specific uses and sentence structures. However, in addition to knowing languages well, it is also important to translate using the right resources and dictionaries. A translator must be sure of his or her work by searching for similar texts while translating, finding sample uses on the internet, consulting with experts, and many other methods.

A good translator translates by considering the addressed audience and remains faithful to the style he or she decides to use. While translating, selected words and phrases must be appropriate and understandable in the field for which the translation is being conducted.

  • Importance of Asking Questions During Translation

Another point that translators should note and never hesitate is to ask questions about is translation content. A query sheet is included with translation packages prepared as necessary. You can in this table write words or phrases in the source text that you do not understand, are illegible, or are misspelled and request an explanation on this topic. Trying to find solutions for ourselves instead of asking questions during translation can lead to undesirable outcomes.

To ensure the safety of the translation and all files related to the project, it is important to use the shortcut CTRL+S—although this shortcut may function differently in various CAT tools—and save the file regularly. To ensure that the translation process is not compromised due to technical disruption, a translator must not neglected to save the work regularly.

  • Translation Deadline is Just as Important as the Translation Itself

A good translator creates a plan that considers the translation deadline and proceeds with the translation accordingly. For the translation workflow to proceed correctly and as desired, it is very important to complete the work before the delivery deadline.

How to Check Translations?

  • What Are the Translation Quality Assurance Tools? What Does a QA Tool Mean?

A critical part of a good and efficient translation workflow is checking after the translation. The translator scans for technical errors missed in translation using quality control software such as XBench or Verifika after translation (double space error, incorrect use of punctuation marks, incorrect use of numbers, etc.), inconsistencies between sentences and spelling errors. He or she then corrects the "real errors" among the errors specified in the translation using this error list created by the Quality Control or Computer-Assisted Translation tools. After this process, the translation will be more consistent and free of errors. The translator again scans the corrected translation using QA tools. The process of correcting errors continues until only “false issues” remain. We thus specify that the errors your client (in this case, the translation company) will see in the quality check report will not be real mistakes.

  • Importance of Translation Quality Control

Manual control is also required when checking the translation, rather than trusting only Quality Assurance (QA) tools. Any errors you made in the translation may not appear using only modern technology and Quality Assurance tools. For example: The sentence “This conference was previously held in 1997.” has no grammar issues and, therefore, will produce any results as an error. When using only QA tools, such hidden errors will significantly lower the quality of translation. You must read through the translation again after completion to correct these errors.


After completing and checking the translation, the project must be delivered in accordance with project procedures. The most critical point here is to know what features the CAT tool offers for the delivery process and to use them correctly (e.g. Trados “Return Package”, Idiom “Export File”). You must deliver project files exactly as you received them. In addition to files that were in the project file from the beginning, you should submit the translate project in full by sending the translated file or, if requested, a clean file, a QA report, and a bilingual file.

To produce quality and efficient translations and be a good translator, you must properly monitor workflow, plan correctly, get to know CAT Tools, master languages, and proceed carefully in the workflow. Implementing these points without anything else is insufficient. A translator must follow and implement the workflow covering the translation process from the start to finish in order and in detail.

Written By: M. Furkan Şahin

Date of Publication: 01/10/2020

Target Audience: All Translators, Students in the Department of Translation Studies, Beginners in Translation, Translators Looking for Ways to Improve Themselves

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