5 things successful translators do before they start translating

by OFER TIROSH 17/09/2015
5 things successful translators do before they start translating

We all have good and bad days at work, but for successful translators the bad days tend to be rare exceptions. Getting each day off to the right start is a key part of being a successful translator, so here we offer five tips on things that successful translators do before they start translating. 

1. Plan your day

It’s important to plan your day so as to minimize unscheduled interruptions. If you are constantly interrupted when in the middle of translating complex text, the job will take longer and the work will be less satisfying. So have everything you need to hand before you start, from snacks to your favourite dictionary. 

Make sure to schedule regular breaks as well. Allowing yourself a few moments to relax after each large chunk of a document has been dealt with will help to keep your energy levels up and keep your mind fresh. One successful translator even recommends scheduling press ups and start jumps between pages to stay ultra-alert! 

2. Be clear on every detail

Before you begin translating, ensure that you are 100% clear on every detail of the job. Does the client have a set list of preferred word options where more than one choice exists in the target language? Do they want image captions translated or just the main body of text in the document?

Knowing the answers to these kind of questions before you start will ensure you can maintain momentum and avoid pestering the client with questions, meaning both you and the client will have a smoother flowing day. 

3. Set a rate you are happy with

It may seem an obvious point, but too often the temptation can be to pitch a low rate in order to secure a job. While this may get you the work, it sets an unrealistic expectation with the client and means that you will enjoy the translation a lot less, making for a slower pace of work and a more arduous translation process. 

4. Know your pace

You know how fast you can translate, so don’t over-commit. Be realistic about how many hours you want to work each day and what you can get done during that time. This will enable you to agree a realistic deadline with the client and avoid that panicked feeling of having too much to do and not enough time in which to do it. 

5. Build in contingency time

Finally, make sure you plan in some contingency time. Life has a way of throwing surprises at us, from an unexpected cold to a lengthy phone call from a distant relative who suddenly needs your help. Build in a bit of contingency time to each job to ensure that you can handle whatever comes your way and still finish the translation successfully and with a smile on your face. 

Final thoughts

Which of these tips do you already use to ensure you are a successful translator? What other strategies do you employ to ensure success? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.  

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