Ways to Become a Good Translator

Ways to Become a Good Translator

In any profession, there are skills, traits, and characteristics you must have in order to become successful. No job is easy, so it’s important that you give your 100% at all times. You must have the right attitude, discipline, and desire. If being a translator is something that you’re interested in, then please continue reading.

A translator is a person who translates from one language to another. It’s a very important profession because it brings down language barriers and makes it easier for us to communicate and understand each other.

Being bilingual or multilingual is not enough to become an effective translator. You must have excellent grammar and being a good writer is a great benefit too. Translators and interpreters may be similar, but have completely different responsibilities. A translator converts the language in writing, while interpreters translates verbally or through sign language.

The competition is stiff as there are a lot of translators out there so it’s vital that you stand out and have an edge. So the million dollar question is, what does it take to become a good translator? Here’s a short list of ways you can be a great translator:

Be fluent in 2 or more languages

Just knowing a language is not enough to become a good translator. You must have full command or master at least two languages. It’s a great plus if you’re a native speaker. Giving the exact translation is important to avoid miscommunication, changing the thought, and to keep it as close to the original as much as possible.

If you’re thinking of studying more languages, it is best to learn those that are in demand like Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, German, Arabic, and French which have the most speakers globally.

Enroll in a course or attend a class

Nothing beats taking lessons from a professional. There are a lot of ways to educate yourself with a new language or enhance what you already know. You can either enroll to a university, hire a private tutor, or enroll in an online class.

Having lessons with a native speaker online has been very popular. All you need is a computer, a headset, and a webcam. You will have a lesson and then an exercise to practice what you learned at the end of each class.

Get a lot of experience and never stop practicing

If you learned a language by studying or enrolling in a course, then it’s important that you have hands on experience conversing with people, especially with native speakers. This is great practice for you to perfect the language and become an excellent translator.

Keep practicing even when you’re on your own. Get tips from websites such as this one if you are trying to learn Spanish.

There are a lot of online communities like forums and on social media where you can talk to other people. Having a friend who is a native speaker would be great too. You can also start off with entry level tasks and slowly work your way up. Go venture and fill up that portfolio to score more clients!

Familiarize yourself with the country and their culture

Each country has their own unique idioms, ‘slangs’, and expressions. There are instances where a specific word or saying would mean something entirely different in another language. To be familiar with them would make your translation more accurate.

Some great and fun ways to familiarize yourself with the culture is by watching TV shows and movies, reading books (reading a children’s book is great start for beginners), and listening to their music especially those catchy pop songs. It will be a huge plus if you visit the country and stay there even for a short period of time.

Be passionate about the language

Just like in any other job, it is very important to love what you’re doing. You should find the language and translating in general interesting so that you will feel fulfilled. You must have the drive to keep on learning and improving yourself. You can’t be successful if you are unhappy with what you’re doing. If you’re doing what you love, it will definitely reflect on the work you do.

Have a niche

You can either have a specific language you specialize in or it can be a particular type of document. Although it can be great to know multiple languages, it is still best if you have an expertise. Having too many to focus on can be difficult and you won’t be able to master any of them easily.

It is advisable to master a specific language or topic before moving on to learning a new one. Mastering a specific topic or language will make it easier for you to finish your work fast and efficiently.

Have a degree or diploma

This is only necessary for translators who specializes on specific types of documents. A great example would be if you translate medical documents. There are a lot of words that are difficult to translate if you’re not familiar with the medical terms.

Another example would be translating business and legal documents. It can also get boring to work on a topic that you’re not an expert in or at the least familiar with. The quality of your work is imperative so you can score more clients in the future.

Have the right attitude

This applies to all jobs and not only translating. No one would want to hire you if you do not have a great personality. Be as kind, friendly, and cooperative as possible and make sure to build a relationship with all of your clients.


Being a translator is not an easy job. You would need to have determination and the knowledge to succeed in the field. It may get hard sometimes, but rest assured that it will all be worth it. If you have the skills and interest in becoming a translator and to earn money, don’t miss this awesome opportunity.


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