Features of a good translator - part 2
Below I present you the continuation of the previous article regarding the features of a good translator
4. Substantive knowledge (and the ability to search for information)
Translation is not about replacing text from one language with text in another language. This is two-step process. First we must understand the source text, which determines what the author wanted to convey. Then, discovered sense must be expressed in target language. If we do not have a clue about subject concerning the text, so we will fail at the beginning. Thai is why translators specialize in specific fields. I do not do medical translation and only exceptionally I do technical texts, because I do not know this fields. My knowledge is much better in commercial law (though I have no formal training in this area - I learned it from scratch by making first steps as a translator). Thanks to this I know when the word "akcja" should be translated as "share" when as a "campaign" and when as a "participation unit". Dictionary would not save me from error.
The knowledge that we have in mind, is not everything. Translators must be able to find the information quickly and efficiently and quickly learn new things in various specialized fields. In the age of the Internet an essential tool for translator is Google- it is good to learn how to use it efficiently (including advanced search options). Sometimes, however, even the Internet is not enough - then you have to grab the phone or go to the library.
5. The knowledge about the translation process
Not all difficulties in translation are associated with poor language skills or a lack of technical knowledge. Sometimes we are faced with dilemmas related to the translation process. What to do when in the text appear untranslatable wordplay? Should we made foreign names Polish or is it better to leave the original version? How to cope with cultural allusions that will not be understood by a Pole? What if the protagonist of the book translated by us speaks a dialect? Do I need to convert miles to kilometres and Fahrenheit to Celsius? Is the translator allowed to correct an error in the translated text? Can he add something? The answer to all these questions is one: it depends. From what then? And what opportunities we have in each case? Here may help to know the theory of translation. Many people already puzzled over similar problems, so try to take advantage of the experience of more experienced colleagues.
6. Computer literacy
The days when the translation needed a pen and a piece of paper or a typewriter have gone forever. Do not even start without a computer today. A good translator must be familiar with MS Office (particularly with Word) and at least one CAT program (more on that in a moment), it is useful also to touch type.
Although the Word is an essential tool for translation, many are not able to use it. A classic example is the alignment of the text in line with the dozens of spaces (which obviously overstates the number of characters and raises the price). Tabs, page, paragraph, font, headers, footers, tables settings and automatic table of content- are just a few of the key features that every translator should know.
Programs like CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) are software applications that improve the translation process. Their main task is to save in the database (i.e. the translation memory) all sentences translated by us and giving hints (in the future) when we come across identical or similar sentence. It is an essential tool in the work of a translator, very useful for repetitive texts and many translation agencies require the use of CAT-s by translators.