Translators and interpreters carry out two distinct professions. The former deal with the written conversion of one language into another; the latter are specialists in the spoken language, that is, they translate orally and in real time.
Although the approach to linguistic conversion is necessarily different, these two figures have more than a few traits in common: both have a strong passion for what they do, they are motivated, they study a lot and have patience, aware that their profession resembles at a marathon, not a sprint. Passion, hard study and patience, over time, lead to becoming competent, accurate and professional.
Are there any universal rules?
There are no universal rules and methods that guarantee success in such complex professions as those of translator and interpreter. These are long journeys, where many variables come into play.
Over time, each professional develops a personal approach and method to work better and guarantee high quality standards. But to make this happen, you need to start from the basics and acquire the right attitude and proactive mindset.
The common rules: the mentality of those who work with languages
The points of contact between translators and interpreters include, in addition to perfect knowledge of at least two languages, a whole series of preparatory aptitudes for starting a career and subsequent and progressive professional growth.
We are essentially referring to those principles that together shape and define the mentality of the professional. Let’s see them together.
1. Study of other cultures. Knowing a language goes far beyond knowing the vocabulary and grammatical structures. Knowing the context of a language is essential to convey idioms, slang, nuances of language and adapt translation and interpretation to another culture.
2. Attention to detail. Even the smallest mistake can completely change the meaning of a sentence or speech. The accuracy of a translation or interpretation is only possible where the professional has developed an almost obsessive attention to detail.
3. Flexibility. Translation and interpreting are activities that require constant evolution and improvement. As they accumulate experience, professionals acquire the flexibility necessary to work under pressure, even when the scenario in which they have to operate suddenly changes because, for example, a client has changed the terms of a project at the last minute, distorting its meaning.
4. Constant updating. The world out there travels at a frenetic pace. Technology is changing the codes of many work sectors and the linguistic sector is no exception. Translators and interpreters need to constantly update themselves to integrate increasingly intelligent technologies and support applications into their work.
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