Hace unos días me encontré con una excelente lista de sugerencias y consejos para un nuevo traductor en una de las redes de trabajo en línea a la que pertenezco, Professional Translators and Interpreters ProZ.com en este enlace. y no puedo evitar compartirla aquí, con algunas adiciones mías (en inglés).
- Don’t give up your day job—until your translation work is seriously infringing upon it.
- Offer to do copy-editing of people’s work in your target language—many clients prefer that to having their work translated, and it can potentially double your business. (Charge for editing according to how much the result is different from the original—see my explanation of how to calculate this at
- If you find you don’t love the work—do something else.
- If you love sitting long hours in front of a computer and seldomly seeing the light of sun you are in the right track, you don´t become rich with this activity, or who knows what you can learn from your work?, but it´s worth it, and you´ll learn lots of new things every passing day.
- Hone your craft: specialize (as mentioned above), be professional, keep learning and “be your own boss”. The latter means that you look over your own shoulder, supervise yourself, slap your own fingers, if needed, and keep a tight record of what you are doing and how long it takes you. Companies usually have weekly team meetings to discuss progress, address problems and monitor their projects. Do the same – the advantage you have is that you can hold this meeting in a car, if needed, since you are talking in your head and just to yourself. 🙂 However, this thinking process is precious to your advancement!
- The advice varies if the new translator is working freelance or in-house. There are pros and cons to each, and I would advise new translators to be aware of what comes with each territory. While an in-house position brings the stability of a steady paycheck, you may find that you end up making less than your freelance peer who is charging market rate. And to echo previous comments, always try to be furthering your language. Listening to the radio in your second language and meetup groups are always great options.
- Specialist, preferably in subjects you love, you have an interest in. Don’t give up your day job, until you can make a living. Deliver quality, always use customer feedback, and work together with them to get the best expressions for technical subjects, always deliver on time, say no if you are not sure. Above all, get good equipment, ergonomic chair, computer, big screen so you can have two documents open at the same time and join professional guilds related to your specialty topics.
- Practice, practice and practice. Then forget your last translations and look forward to practice again.
- Give yourself enough time to rest, relax and get new energy and inspiration. It is very easy to keep on working and working and working, especially when you love what you do, but you also need ’empty’ time every now and then, both physically and mentally.
- Specialize. Read as much as you can. Your main concern should be the TL. Translate and take a rest. Then reevaluate and edit what you have translated.
And finally, from this great article 10 Core Principles to Build a Lasting Translation Career, some highly useful tips:
- Find what you care and what you know about
- Measure your speed
- Find out your “fair” rate
- Be willing to invest in experience
- Get along with technology
- Get feedback that matters
- See the human on the other side
- Never stop learning having fun