5 Things Successful Translators Keep on Their Desks

March 18, 2014
5 Things Successful Translators Keep on Their Desks

Every translator has their own preferred workstation setup, complete with the tools they consider essential for the successful undertaking of their work. While the arrangement differs from person to person, certain key items commonly occur, so here we list the five essential things that every successful translator keeps on their desk. 


First and foremost is obviously the computer used to undertake the translation work. Though clearly an essential item, the actual kind of computer can differ widely. PCs and laptops of all brands are popular choices, while tablets are also beginning to gain in popularity. A range of accompanying items such as mouse, printer, etc. will also adorn the desk of every successful translator. 

The dictionary

Next comes the successful translator’s essential language tool: the dictionary. A good quality dictionary is indispensable and is second only to the computer in the successful translator’s arsenal of essential equipment. 

Language tools

As well as a good dictionary, successful translators often have to hand further supporting linguistic materials relating to their particular areas of interest. This might include a medical dictionary for translators who often undertake medical and pharmaceutical translation work or a book of idioms for those who work on more colloquial texts. 

Back to basics

Though it may seem a little old fashioned in this computerized day and age, having a notepad and pen to hand is an essential part of many successful translators’ workstation setup. From jotting down stray thoughts and reminders, to making notes during telephone calls, a notepad and pen are useful items to have on your desk. Even for personal tasks such as shopping lists, having a notepad to hand can improve productivity, as it avoids the need to get up and write the list somewhere else. 

Staying connected 

Finally, no translator’s desk would be complete without a telephone. While email and other online methods are popular means of communication between translators and their clients, particularly when it comes to sending documents back and forth, there are many clients who still want the personal interaction of speaking to their translator on the phone. A telephone conversation is also often the swiftest way to clear up queries in relation to the text on which the translator is working. 

What essentials do you have on your desk and why? Feel free to share your tools for success by using the comment box.

By Ofer Tirosh

Ofer Tirosh is the founder and CEO of Tomedes, a language technology and translation company that supports business growth through a range of innovative localization strategies. He has been helping companies reach their global goals since 2007.



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