WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL TRANSLATOR?

Every year, the universities of our country graduate thousands of young and hot translators and linguists who feel relieved that many years of study are behind them and they can finally turn around in full force! However, not everyone who wants to work in their specialty eventually becomes real professional translators. What skills and knowledge should a person have to become a pro?

the article are quite obvious to those. who have been working for a long time, but for yesterday’s (and today’s) students can be a real discovery. So, according to Jane and in our opinion, these skills can be divided into three groups:

  • translation skills;
  • knowledge of the native language;
  • highly specialized knowledge in one or more industries.

Recently, our colleague-translator Jane Fox published an article just on this topic . She inspired us to write this article. The thoughts expressed in the article are quite obvious to those. who have been working for a long time, but for yesterday’s (and today’s) students can be a real discovery. So, according to Jane and in our opinion, these skills can be divided into three groups:

  • translation skills;
  • knowledge of the native language;
  • highly specialized knowledge in one or more industries.

Translation skills

This is the basis without which it is impossible to become a translator. This includes knowledge of a marriage translation service, a wide vocabulary, the ability to quickly search for and find new terms and concepts, the ability to delve deeply into culture, understand written and / or oral speech in both native and foreign languages, and the ability to clearly and clearly formulate in a language translation of thoughts expressed into the original languages.

This is exactly what is taught in most universities. However, basic knowledge and skills alone are not enough.

Knowledge of native language

This part always surprises young translators. We have been studying a foreign language for many years, immersing ourselves in it, getting to know another culture in order to better understand its speakers … And suddenly it turns out that during our studies our native language was forgotten. How many times have teachers in our school corrected students when they completely copied the structure of a foreign sentence, simply replacing words with Russian equivalents?

As a result, such text is difficult to read and difficult to understand. Edith Grossman once said that a translator is also a writer. And indeed it is. In addition to the ability to clearly and clearly express your thoughts in a foreign language, it is worth working on mastering your native language! Read more good literature, expand your vocabulary and never be lazy to check yourself in the dictionary!


This is exactly what Olga Arakelyan teaches beginner translators  during the basic course . And Yulia Solomeina, during her editing classes, helps already more experienced colleagues to pay attention to various subtleties and nuances.

But do not think that only one translator needs to know his native language perfectly. It was about fluency in the native language that was discussed at the course ” Introduction to Simultaneous Translation “. And this is exactly what Mikhail Matveev  will teach future simultaneous interpreters.

Do you know a foreign language well? Great. Do you want to become a translator? Learn your native language.

Highly specialized knowledge in one or more industries

The legal translations manchester industry is a market. To survive in the market, you need to be different from your competitors. To be different from thousands of linguistic and translation graduates like you, you need to have additional knowledge and skills. Some translators receive a second education in the field in which they want to work. Or study at various courses , attend seminars and / or webinars. Others, on the contrary, come to translation, for example, having received their first education in the field of medicine, military-industrial complex, banking, etc. Try, without understanding, say, surgery, to translate at least one text on this topic. Will it be easy for you? Do you understand the author correctly? Will the client or the editor at the translation agency be satisfied with the end result ?


That is why you need to catch every opportunity to engage in self-education in the field you need, be it engineering, law, music or tourism. If you take on translations in some area, you should feel like a fish in water in it. Or at least not drown.

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