5 common beginner mistakes

Newbies in the world of translation sometimes have a hard time.

In addition to difficulties with vocabulary and grammar, they face misunderstandings in relations with customers and failure to promote their own services if they prefer the freelance path to a full-time job in a translation agency. And sometimes errors are, rather, from the impulsiveness of the performer himself.

1. Performing a literal translation

Novice translators often undertake word-for-word translation. Although, in fact, you need to convey the meaning in another language, maintaining the original style. It is necessary to ensure that the syntactic constructions are replaced with the corresponding foreign ones. For example, when translating into Arabic, it is impossible to preserve the Russian syntax, otherwise the text will sound unnatural.

If possible, you should contact a native speaker to review the final version of the work. This way you can avoid obvious flaws in the transfer of style.

2. Exaggeration and embellishment

Due to inexperience, beginners do more than they need to. Since they are just starting their steps in the profession, they are trying to show the best that they are capable of. However, this is not appreciated among professionals. In order to translate a text of high quality, it is important not to clutter it up with “smart” words and complex sentences.

First, you should find out the client’s requirements and then act in accordance with them. What are his wishes and expectations? Ask what the translation is for. If for private use, it should be simple. If for publication – you must follow the guidelines and standards of the publisher.

3. Choosing the wrong words

Words are often used in the wrong context. There is a set of words that simply cannot be accurately translated into other languages, since they are directly related to the cultural or religious aspect of society. Most often, such concepts are conveyed by transcription with transliteration elements.

In this regard, it is important to note that masculine nouns in one language can refer to feminine in another and vice versa, and, by the way, it is not always possible to learn about this during the course of study. For example, in Russian the “ship” is masculine, and the English, if they want to emphasize the reverent attitude towards the ship, attribute the feminine gender to it. If the moon for the Spaniards is a feminine noun, then the English in a poetic context will call it he. Such subtleties are certainly important to protect yourself from absurdities.

4. Lack of communication skills

At the initial stage of a career, a translator can be an inept conversationalist. Underestimating the importance of effective communication leads to poor quality translation. As in any business, communication builds a connection between the contractor and the customer. To establish a good understanding with the client, it is necessary to maintain two-way communication, to interact at every stage of the translation process. Where the communication channel is debugged, there should be no misunderstandings.

5. Writing the text in an inappropriate style

Due to insufficient immersion in a foreign language, a beginner can translate documents without observing the proper style. This often leads to a change and, ultimately, a distortion of the essence of the text. To express the meaning, one must maintain the tone implied by the author. After all, the text of a legal document sounds completely different from the text of the film. This aspect of translation should be worked on carefully if you want to increase your value as a professional.