Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >
Poll: To become a successful translator, which of the following skills is the most important?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 09:35
SITE STAFF
Jul 2, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "To become a successful translator, which of the following skills is the most important?".

This poll was originally submitted by Helen Portefaix. View the poll results »



 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:35
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Jul 2, 2012

And how about a combination of the above?

 

xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 18:35
English to French
+ ...
Jul 2, 2012



[Modifié le 2012-07-02 23:18 GMT]


 

Petro Ebersöhn  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:35
Combination Jul 2, 2012

I agree with Michael: one needs a combination of skills to be a successful translator.

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 18:35
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
To become SUCCESSFUL, business and marketing skills are important Jul 2, 2012

In my view communication with clients and marketing skills of some kind are most important to success.

Of course, you need to be good, i.e. have all the other qualities too, so you have something to market, but if you simply wait for clients to discover you, you may have a very long wait for success.

It is important to understand what the client wants - and how the text fits into their context. You have to communicate with the client about their terminology, or perhaps explain why the literal translation they were expecting will not work in the target language.

Why you are smarter than Google Translate is becoming an issue for some people. No matter how good you are, making the client feel YOU are the right tranlsator for their job, and not just another name in the directory, is vitally important to success.

Then they will come back for more, and you can concentrate on polishing your skills instead of chasing new clients. Or you can pick the best clients, because you don't have time for them all.


 

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
Technical/specialization Jul 2, 2012

The very nature of the question presented in the superlative form excludes the possibility of "a combination of the above". The asker is obviously looking for specific information.

In this case, I think it's user-specific information, i.e., there's really no one "correct” answer. Each translator will have their own life/professional experience that will determine how they view and answer the question.

In my case, I'd have to answer Expertise in technical/specialist field. I studied sciences at university and that’s given me an understanding that has allowed me to work in that area nearly non-stop for 14 years. I believe one of the reasons there are so many bad translations out there is that a translator may know everything there is to know about linguistics, CAT tools, marketing themselves, etc. but they have no clue about the subject matter they’re translating. They end up taking shots in the dark and asking desperate Kudoz questions with the word "Help" and lots of exclamation marks attached.

PS: I agree with Interlanguage and Christine, but I've given an answer based on my take on the question.


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 01:35
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
A combination of the options Jul 2, 2012

in varying degrees, of course, since everyone has their own personal agenda and circumstances.

I agree with Michael and John for this obvious extra option.

Plus, more importantly, being highly motivated and driven to excel

Without a strong desire to continually move forward, the full potential of these skills will not be realized.


 

Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 19:35
Italian to Russian
+ ...
Other Jul 2, 2012

Complete success: you are sex appealing, social, have a bit more than simply good memory (or well-trained one and always in want of new "food"). This is the hard side. The easy side (when you got the hard side) is to hear a couple of unknown words or a series of unknown sounds, ask somebody what they mean and translate them to the interested party. And, for total and final success, don't forget about your fee.icon_smile.gif P.S. In the technical translation sex appeal may be (may be) is not so important.

[Edited at 2012-07-02 09:44 GMT]


 

Gabriella Jönsson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 18:35
Member (2011)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Target language Jul 2, 2012

I agree with the above comments, impeccable target language skills is the basis for success, as it is from this skill that you will be able to gauge the research you perform and skill sets you acquire in other areas.

 
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member because it was not in line with site rule

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jul 2, 2012

All of the above, in varying degrees of importance. Probably.

 

Sabine Schlottky  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:35
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
Other... Jul 2, 2012

... common sense!

 

Michaël Temmerman  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 10:35
English to Dutch
+ ...
read the question Jul 2, 2012

I don't really understand why people insist on " a combination of the above". The question is clear: according to you, which skill is the MOST important one?
Of course it takes more than one skill to be a successful translator, but that's not what the question is about...

That being said, I agree with the majority: writing skills in target language.
If you can't write a decent text, there's no use in even trying to become successful. Because what is a good text? A text that that reads very easily and doesn't contain any obvious or less obvious logical mistakes. When something is wrong in a translation, one can usually tell, because the target text simply doesn't seem right/logical, and I don't consider texts with logical mistakes as good texts...


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
I respectfully disagree Jul 2, 2012

Michaël Temmerman wrote:

I don't really understand why people insist on " a combination of the above". The question is clear: according to you, which skill is the MOST important one?
Of course it takes more than one skill to be a successful translator, but that's not what the question is about...

That being said, I agree with the majority: writing skills in target language.
If you can't write a decent text, there's no use in even trying to become successful. Because what is a good text? A text that that reads very easily and doesn't contain any obvious or less obvious logical mistakes. When something is wrong in a translation, one can usually tell, because the target text simply doesn't seem right/logical, and I don't consider texts with logical mistakes as good texts...


May I suggest, in the spirit of professional cooperation, that we stay away from statements that might sound condescending, such as "read the question"?

Based on what I've read, everyone who answered read the question carefully.

But let's do it Michaël's way: perhaps some translators find it that there a single most important quality to achieve success as a translator. I refer to one of my previous questions: let's define success. In actuality, the poll's question has the unintended effect to provide a false or incomplete choice, and that's what most of the posters were addressing.

[Edited at 2012-07-02 22:22 GMT]


 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 18:35
Italian to English
Another take Jul 2, 2012

Since all the skills listed are necessary to make a success of a career in translation, the most "important" (ie the most mission-critical) will be the one in which the individual translator is weakest.

In other words, that's the area where the translator really ought to be concentrating most of whatever time and money he or she has set aside for professional training.


 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Jared Tabor[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Poll: To become a successful translator, which of the following skills is the most important?

Advanced search






WordFinder Unlimited
For clarity and excellence

WordFinder is the leading dictionary service that gives you the words you want anywhere, anytime. Access 260+ dictionaries from the world's leading dictionary publishers in virtually any device. Find the right word anywhere, anytime - online or offline.

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2019 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2019 has evolved to bring translators a brand new experience. Designed with user experience at its core, Studio 2019 transforms how new users get up and running and helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search