6 Things You Need To Know Before Becoming a Professional Translator

Translation is a complex but nevertheless fascinating process. That is why more and more people are choosing this profession as a start for their future career. This is not as easy, to become a translator, as you might think. That is why before you actually dive into this field, there are a few things that you must know. For this occasion, we created a list of 6 things that you must know before becoming a professional translator.

1. Becoming a ‘book worm’

A good translator is not just the one, who does not make mistakes while translating material. You must have a profound knowledge of all nuances of slang and informal lexis of the language that you are working with. If you want to be a specialist at technical or medical translation – make sure that you are familiar with all profile terms. The best helper with all that is…reading. The more you read – the deeper your knowledge of the language is, the more nuances you will be able to detect.

2. Being able to deliver what you have been asked for

Sometimes the client wants a particular type of translation and it is your job to do exactly as he or she says. So before you start your translation task, carefully read through the description for the job as the style of the finished piece may vary depending on what your client wants.

3. Avoiding mistakes

There is no need to mention that mistakes are a big ‘no’ when it comes down to the job of a professional translator. The best translation website cannot afford to hire a translator who makes those, so if you are hoping for a career in this field, you must pay extra attention to your grammar and lexis. Even the slightest nuances might matter sometimes.

4. Setting a fair rate

Quite often beginner translators, especially those who work in the freelance field, get confused when it comes down to setting up the rate for their services. They feel insecure and therefore tend to lower their rate. To make your rate fairly represent your skills you have to count how many hours you spend on your work and how many words you translate during that time. Usually, beginner translators charge around $1 per word. Of course, the better you become, the more your rate will grow.

5. Constant practice

Even if you have years of experience in the field, you still have to practice every day to keep your skill on the necessary level. If you are a beginner this rule applies to you even more. There are often certain schemes, you can use in your future translation jobs, that you have to ‘polish’ during your training at home. The more time you dedicate to your translation practice, the more it pays off in the end.

6. Do not hesitate to use dictionaries

Using a little bit of help does not make you a worse translator; there is not a single person in the world that could possibly know all the words even of their native language. But that does not mean that you can just put pieces of text into an online translator and use it – that is the most certain way to mess up your whole translation. Use translators as your helpers, not as a remedy.


Being a professional translator is a challenging job that requires lots of patience and dedication. You will have to spend years mastering your skills, but trust us – it will all pay off. So carefully read these tips and hopefully, they will make you a better specialist.