Taking Your Translation Skills to the Next Level

Dec 21, 2017

Content taking your translation skills to the next level

Skills are not stagnant. It doesn’t matter what business someone may be in, skills always evolve. Think about it. Freelance website designers have to stay current in new techniques and trends; content writers have to learn how to use the latest tools; and translators must expand their skills if they are to remain in demand.

Here are some ideas for taking your skills to the next level. Some may apply to you; some may not. But review them all, and see what you can do to expand.

  1. Start to Work Online as a Translator

If you have been working locally, with face-to-face clients, you may not know the opportunities that may be out there online. There are online translation services that could offer you much greater variety than you currently have. This experience will force you into other translation venues.

  1. Expand Your Niches

Your niche may be translation of literature. Have you thought about all of the other translation niches that are available? Pick one or two other venues (legal, employee manuals, website localization, etc.) and enroll in some online coursework related to that venue. These are very practical, hands-on courses. You will hone skills in those venues and avoid common issues of what gets lost in translation, which is quite common when translators do not have niche skills.

  1. Acquire More Certifications

Many translation services (and countries) require certain certifications for specific types of translations. And if you want real translator jobs in one of these niches, you will need to get those certifications. The good thing? As you work toward those certifications, you increase your skill levels and improve your reputation within the translation community. Online translation services love employing people who have multiple certifications, and you will be in high demand.

  1. Research Companies with a Global Reach

What companies are looking for what types of translators? They often advertise in trade journals. Check out the types of translators that are most commonly needed. These will be areas in which you want to expand your skills. Many have been burned by a bad online translator and are now looking for individuals to contract with directly. Don’t be that person. Get the coursework you need to present yourself as a skilled translator who can meet their needs.

  1. Learn another Language

If you currently translate between English and French, how about picking up another romance language? There are plenty of online courses available, and you can do this on your own schedule. Every language you master makes you more valuable to translation services and to individual enterprises.

  1. Expand Subject Matter Knowledge

You may currently be focused on one or two niches for translation – let’s say legal contracts and personal documents. You have great skills and no language translation problems. But you are limited. Choose another subject matter topic to expand into – one at a time. Suppose you would like to expand into translating journal articles in the biological sciences. You cannot do this without subject matter mastery. There are a large number of free online courses in the biological sciences. Take a few. You will develop an understanding of concepts and terminology which will allow you move into that translation niche armed with knowledge.

  1. Network with Other Translators

There are support groups for every career and profession. Find them. Join them. Members of these translation networking groups have varied skills, many of which you may not have. There is great sharing of skills within these groups. You can help others, and they can help you.

These are just 7 tips for translators to take their skills to the next level. There are probably many more. But if you look through this list, and think about where you want to go, you’ll find ways to expand your skills and take your career to the next level.