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You have been working as a translator for some time now. You like your job because as a freelancer you choose where and when you work. You have already worked on some interesting projects and would like to work on more. However, you feel like something is still missing in order for you to get more translation jobs.

In order to improve your translation skills you first have to realize what you might be lacking and what skills you can improve. That is why we made a list of the most common bottlenecks of translators and we give you tips on how to clear the path to success.

Clients and translation agencies will surely prefer you over other translators if you stick to advice given in this article.

#1 Continuity

Unfortunately, it is quite common for translators to lack continuity. However, this actually concerns a lot of people, not only translators. Lots of people achieve a certain level of their profession, start working and are satisfied with the outcomes of their job and then they… stop studying.

A real pity, because there is always a lot more to learn. A person who want to know and speak a language fluently never stops educating him- or herself. When you do not continue to study a language you will probably start forgetting words, sayings or jargon of your field of specialization, just because you do not use it that much.

How to avoid this? Try to practice language day by day. Read, listen or speak the language, even if it is just for a short time. Practice often, so you are continuously challenged to remember the information!

#2 Passion

Is the time you are working on a translation the only time you spend practising and using this language? That is a shame! When working with languages it can become much more than only a job. It can even develop into a passion.

Have you ever tried soaking in the language? Try to spend some time on reading the news or a book that you have always wanted to read. You could also watch TV, movies or spend more time with native speakers of the language. Unless you are raised bilingually, you should never stop learning.
By making language your passion, you can achieve better results in your work.

#3 Cultural knowledge

It is not surprising that in order to fully understand a language you should also emerge in the culture of the country or countries where this language is being spoken. Some people know a language well, although they lack knowledge about the culture related to it. This means there is still room to learn.

Writer Rita Mae Brown explains why language and culture are inseparable: “Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” Additionally, by understanding the culture of a country, you will know more words and that will make the whole translation process easier.

#4 Good Time Management

As a freelancer you know that your job depends on your time management skills. As a freelance translator you are your own boss. Even though some freelancers can manage their work and time really well, there are many people for whom it is really difficult to meet a deadline.

Remember that the quality of your translation prevails. It is key to your future career. The best translators plan everything ahead and leave some extra time for possible changes at the end. You can use several tools like Google Calendar or Evernote to manage your time better.

#5 Good Communication Skills

For most freelancers, communication skills are extremely important. For freelance translators even more so. Good communications skills are crucial when you communicate with your client or translation agency, especially when you only use Internet or phone calls.

On the contrary to physical contact, it is more difficult to express yourself via e-mail or a short message. Experienced translators often communicate with their client in case of questions or issues with the source text. If they spot a mistake in the source text, they report it to the client. If they feel that they will not meet a deadline and they need more translators to work along with them on a project, they inform the client or a translator agency about it.

#6 Good Research Skills

All people who learn a language or translate a text will remember spending too much time on searching a word or a sentence, which was just extremely difficult to translate into other language. That is why good research skills are beneficial to translators or actually anyone who learns a new language.

Finding information, the meaning of words or whole phrases quickly is important as it can make you save time. Remember that you can also learn when you search for information.
Whenever you find new word or phrase that caused you a problem, write it down. This way you can remember it , what will profit you in the future.

#7 Specialization

It is very useful for a translator to have in-depth knowledge about one or more topics and to constantly keep on learning. The best way to thrive your career is to specialize in a field you are interested in or you want to work in the future.

Moreover, in the market there is a high demand for translators who specialize in specific areas like for instance legal, e-commerce or technical translations.

In short, learning continuously, managing your time well and better communication will boost your career as a translator.