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Ten things a translator needs – number 1

Welcome to our new blog series, which will highlight what we feel a translator needs in order to do a good job.

Apart from an excellent command of the source and target language, which we’ll take as a given, an interest in the subject matter is perhaps the single biggest requirement, in our view. If a translator is engaged by and comfortable with a text, they are far more likely to create a translation that is compelling to read.

Unfortunately, when it comes to business and technical texts there’s often a disconnect between the subject matter and the translator’s background. A desire to learn languages is typically sparked by cultural or academic interest, rather than an urge to find out more about business life or technology. So unfortunately, translators often spend years working on texts they find uncongenial (and in some cases not very comprehensible).

The good news is that there are also translators out there who genuinely enjoy being exposed to the world of business and technology, who can identify with the content and render it convincingly.

A happy translator will generally deliver a better outcome. The customer and also the users of the translation benefit accordingly.

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