Most Common Mistakes Beginning Translators Do

As one starts with the translation challenges as a beginner, mistakes are typical for those individuals who do not have sufficient experience. While the majority of these mistakes can be fixed easily, it also happens only when a person goes through the path of trial and error. The most common issue is not knowing how much time and energy a typical translation will take, which makes it quite challenging to finish one’s work on time. While it is almost impossible to set the deadline as you are starting out, the secret trick is to check yourself by starting with small requests that are only 1-2 pages long to determine how much time it will take to get things done right. Of course, it is the most common mistake encountered among beginners, some other aspects must be considered as well, including:

  • Turning to Machine Translation Solutions. While the use of AI tools for translation needs may look attractive, it is not always the best solution for beginners since it is meant as a supplementary tool, not as a complete replacement of the translator’s skills. Unfortunately, the majority of beginners often turn to machine translation tools as a way to get things done faster. It results in less than satisfactory results and the odd bits that look like product descriptions at the Chinese platforms, bringing up a smile among those who understand the original language.
  • Over Translating Things. One of the most common mistakes among beginning translators is over translating things or missing the bits that must be changed. A good example would be the creation of subtitles where a translator has to be creative to transpose the meaning and bring in an element of culture and the mental flow. In other words, those who are only starting out often turn to a direct translation by forgetting about the original meaning and making sense. First, the text has to be readable and clear!
  • Lack of Proper Proofreading. Proofreading is what helps to eliminate mistakes, which happen even when a professional translator works with the text. Therefore, it always takes time to make things perfect. Taking a look at online translation companies, we often see professional editing and proofreading as one of the most popular features that translation companies offer, which is why this factor must not be ignored. Taking time to properly proofread the text often sets the professional apart from the beginner as one knows that mistakes or typos will be encountered. Proofreading things twice as you translate will always pay off!
  • Ignoring The Cultural Context. Almost every translation will have a cultural context involved, which must be delivered in the most accurate way possible. The translators who are only at the start of their professional careers will often ignore this aspect or become biased as they provide the translation. As a result, it affects the translation and speaks out the opinion of a single person when it must be neutral and only provide a piece of explanatory information as it is translated. This particular skill comes with experience and as time passes by.
  • Absence of Translation Certificates. It is often believed that anyone can become a translator, especially if we consider various freelance translation platforms. Yet, it is very far from the truth because if one is planning to translate legal documents or assist with the medical equipment manuals, it is only possible to get such jobs with a relevant certificate. Consider looking at the 10 steps to becoming a professional translator to see how you can challenge the competition in the field of professional translation. The most common mistake is ignoring the presence of certificates. Therefore, take time to study the importance of offering proof of your skills.
  • Setting Wrong Deadlines. Even professional translators often make the mistake of missing the deadline when the project becomes more complex than it seems. Depending on what kind of translation you have to complete, it is necessary to give yourself at least one day more than what you believe it may take. The same relates to personal revisions that you may have to do before you submit your translation. Every professional translator will also take at least 2-3 days for the large projects to have a fresh look before the document is submitted. While every translator works differently, learn to understand your resources starting with small orders!
  • Translating Without Studying The Subject. Another mistake that beginning translators often make is starting with their translation tasks without making background research. While no beginner will be allowed to work with the technical translation without a relevant certificate, it is always necessary to learn more about the subject to ensure that one understands every important aspect. While it is not often mentioned, taking time to learn the background of your task will help to eliminate mistakes. Also, you’ll use correct terms and the style based on the subject and specifics of your assignment.

The Art of Confidence

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Art of Confidence

If you know that you can do well and handle even the most complex translation tasks, you should never forget about relevant certification and the positive feedback that you can provide. As a rule, when you have completed only a dozen of requests successfully, your list of references and recommendations may still be nothing to write home about. Therefore, you should turn to social media and translation forums where you can set yourself apart by providing something unique. Such an approach will help you get noticed as you challenge yourself and prove that you can meet the highest translation standards. Be confident, trust in what you provide, and never stop learning!