Translating a book requires good writing skills while also the ability to be proficient in two relevant languages. Moreover, translating something also requires the creative ability of the translator. To translate the contents while keeping in mind the culture.
Together with this, the original tone, style of writing, and meaning of the contents also need to be conserved. Thus, the task of translation is challenging, and only those who have the skills needed can get the work done. Despite the availability of translation apps online, there is still great demand for translators who can offer clear, accurate, and concise translations.
Studies have shown that this field is continuously growing and is expected to grow manifold in the coming years, with more positions opening for translators. If you have the right skills and expertise, then you can easily find translation works. So if you are considering translating a book, then here are 8 tips to perfectly translate your works and become a good translator.
What do translators do?
A translator’s main job is to translate written text between different languages. Mostly, translators translate from another language into their first language. Translating works and writing in a native language is much easier, even if the translator can understand and write well in the source language.
Translating works to the native language produces a much more natural and smoother translation. However, the translator can learn new languages and broaden their translation abilities.
How to become a good translator?
To become a good translator, you need to consider the following tips:
1) Broaden your topics and read
To be a good and professional book translator means that you have to read a lot. Adhering to only one type of book or topic area or one or two languages will not be able to get you anywhere.
So as you learn new languages, it’s imperative that you start reading books in them. Reading different types of books will help you understand the various styles and texts and the cultural uniqueness that sets them apart.
Reading will help you become a greater and more adaptable translator. Read in your source language and your target language, and broaden your horizon by reading poetry, classics, novels, contemporary works, and newspapers.
Your job as a translator is to carry across the original work in a way that your translated work touches the readers, allowing them to easily understand and encouraging them to exist in the world of the book while they are reading it. But all this can only happen if you have good writing skills as well as the knowledge and understanding of the target language. So read as diversely as you can.
2) Research and study
Before you translate a book, you need to understand that every book is unique because every author has a specific style, tone, and manner of writing. This constitutes the personality of the author that we see in his/her work. So you need to understand this if you want to retain all this in your translated work.
In order to do so, you need to read and study other works from the same author before you start translating. In addition to this, you should also study the culture of the people whose work you will be translating.
3) Enhance writing skills
Start your journey in your own native language. You can get help from writing services or by ordering original writings on the topics you wish to work on, or by editing different works for practice.
This is because you should be skilled and experienced in your native language first before you can move on to other languages. By constantly writing in your native language and then other languages, you can get better at the job and become a good book translator.
4) Master translation with practice
The main aim of translating a book is to get the original meaning across to the readers who speak a different language and belong to a different culture from you. Using the language and expressions accurately so that the original meaning of the author is precisely conveyed to the readers may mean that you have to use non-literal language to help the readers better understand the contents. This can be achieved through practice and experience.
5) Linguistic compression
It is the process of reducing the work by eliminating some of the content without changing the information. And its meaning within it. This is done during the translation process to make the text more clear and concise so that it can be understood when translated to the target language.
So in order to become the best book translator, you must know how to make this decision so that the meaning is retained. This process does not cause the removal of essential portions and is only done in order to maintain the style and quality of writing.
6) Linguistic amplification
This is a technique of translation that uses the creativity and problem-solving skills of the translator. There are usually words in one language for which there is no word in another language.
So in these types of cases, the translator uses linguistic amplification. This means that the translator comes up with words or phrases that retain the same meaning as the original word. When you come across such words, you need to re-read the content. To understand the intent and meaning of the author. Only when you understand this can you find the right words or phrases to translate. The word while keeping the meaning as similar as you can.
7) Knowing when to borrow
Borrowing is when words or expressions from the source language are taken and used directly in the target language. This technique is needed when there is no equivalent word or meaning in the target language, and this will help in keeping the cultural context of the text.
Even though this concept is most commonly seen in the translation of medical content. It is also found in literary translations. Sometimes the words or phrases need to be left as they are in order to preserve. The meaning and cultural context. So this is up to the translator, who needs to understand. When to use this technique and make a wise decision.
8) Learning to compensate
Sometimes, it happens that the information in the original text may not make sense. When placed in the same place as before, after the translation. So it’s the job of the translator to carefully access the original text to understand the meaning and to determine where. It will be best to place the information after translation.
This is known as compensating, as you will have to make up for the loss the contents may go through if the information is kept in its original place. So you need to master this with practice in order to translate the best pieces easily.
Translating a book is challenging and requires exceptional literary skills and the ability to pay attention to minute details. In addition to this, creativity, wise decision-making, and problem-solving are also important skills needed to become a good translator. These skills will help in translating works that preserve the original style, tone. And meaning and thus convey the original intent of the author to the readers.