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Guest Post: Five Secrets of Successful Translators

What makes some translators better than others? 

While natural talent plays a role, it’s certainly not the only reason that some translators are able to achieve more success in their careers than others. There are tips and tricks that you can take on board to up your game and boost your career at any time of life. In that vein, here are five secrets of successful professional translators to get you started.

1. Find your niche

One of the keys to succeeding as a translator is to ensure that your services are in demand and that the pool of competitors is relatively shallow. Opting for a less commonly used language is one way to do this (just make sure there's enough demand for translation services to and from it first!), as is establishing yourself as a subject matter expert. Whether it's a medical translation, scientific translation, legal translation or another focus, get to grips with the terminology in order to stand out from the crowd. Then make sure your rates reflect your specialist knowledge.

2. Have the right tools

Every translator has their own opinions on what works best, so try a range of translation tools and choose the ones that allow you to work faster and more efficiently. Auto-suggest can be a beautiful thing when used as a supportive part of your workflow, even if it takes a little while to get used to it. Give each tool or app that you use sufficient time for you to get to grips with it and then time how long it takes you to translate your next 1,000 words. Let the numbers talk and opt for the tools that allow you to translate best.

3. Increase your typing speed

The faster you can type, the faster your translation will be complete and the more clients you can serve. The more clients you can attend to, the greater your income or the fewer hours you have to work (depending on your definition of success!).

4. Approach your career like a business

If you want your clients to view you as a professional whose work is worth paying a premium for then you need to present them with a slick, efficient service. Respond quickly to their inquiries, let them know which services you offer and at what price and keep your finances strictly in hand when it comes to invoicing and chasing payments. The more professional your approach, the more seriously they will take you.

5. Dare to be daring!

Be ambitious when it comes to your career. From the rates you charge to the professional presentation of the proposals that you send to prospective clients, push boundaries wherever possible. After all, you’ll never get to the top if you don't aim there.

Louise Taylor is the content manager of Tomedes and she writes content on the Tomedes Blog as well as other sections on the website.

Photo credit
Éditions Fra Flickr via Compfight cc

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