A Secret to Successful Translation

November 7, 2022

A Secret to Successful Translation

What do you think makes a good translation? It is a common belief that translators must possess superb writing skill and language proficiency to produce well-translated works. No doubt these two are indispensable elements required for a professional translator, but there is one more quality that is just as important when it comes to delivering a good translation – research skills.

Why are Research Skills Important?

Research skills in the translation field refer to the ability to search for, locate, evaluate and use the most suitable expressions in the target language to accurately present the original text. Nowadays everything changes in the blink of an eye, especially in light of technological development. Even if it is a field that a translator specialises in, there will always be new information that he does not know when translating. Therefore, having research skills is crucial for translators to keep up-to-date with today’s world and grasp the meaning of the source text correctly.

Take as an example NFTs (non-fungible tokens), a very new and hotly discussed topic. If a translator is not familiar with this particular subject, before translating anything related to it, he should do research about NFT, not only its literal meaning but also the concept behind it and how it works. It is unlikely for him knowing nothing about the subject matter to produce an accurate translation.

How Do Translators Research?

Whenever translators encounter subjects, technical terms or names that they do not know, they will make use of all resources available to figure it out in order to fully comprehend the original text and identify appropriate words for translation. Traditional research tools are dictionaries, encyclopedias and other reference books on which translators need to spend more time to exactly locate what they want to research. Sometimes they are not successful in doing so given the limited coverage of these references.

Today, translators no longer limit their research methods to traditional resources as there is a far more convenient and omnipotent tool to use, that is the Internet. Just enter the word or phrase of interest in the search engine and there will be thousands of results relevant for translators’ reference. However, every coin has two sides. One of the potential risks that lies in research with the Internet is the reliability of the sources since everyone is able to create and edit the contents online. So, translators have to carefully identify and select the reputable and authoritative sources when performing translation tasks.

Translation and research often go hand in hand. Professional translators are a type of researchers who should always be responsible for their works. And so possessing good research skills helps boost the ability of translators to the next level.

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