What makes a good translator and what are the characteristics of a good translator? First of all being able to speak more than one language fluently, including their own native language is an important characteristic, but there are more qualities of a good translator than merely having an understanding of two languages.
Here are Some Qualities Skills of a Good Translator:
● One of the skills of a good translator is having an in-depth knowledge of the culture of the other languages he or she is able to speak. Much language is tied to its culture, and it is almost impossible to be a good translator, i.e. one who accurately translates the meaning of the text he or she has been given unless he or she understands its cultural significance. Culture includes idiomatic expressions in common use, colloquialisms, slang and the appropriateness or inappropriateness of expressions.
There are the characteristics of a good translator that have been shown to be evident many times over when commercial businesses attempt to translate advertising slogans from one country and language to another. There are many famous examples of culturally inappropriate translations that should never have happened if the translator used was better equipped to understand the ramifications of what they were translating.
● One of the skills of a good translator and what makes a good translator is being conversant with a specific subject matter. Rarely do professional translators attempt to take on every type of document or subject matter? There are scientific translators, for example, but even this may be too broad a definition. Scientific translators may have their own preferred discipline, such as physics, chemistry, geology and biological scientific matter.
What makes a good translator when it comes to legal document translations are the translators who have a background in the legal profession, or at least have acquired a good working knowledge of a certain area of law. Medical document translators and technical translators are unlikely to take on marketing translation tasks. Literary and app translators are as different as chalk and cheese.
● Proofreading is one of the absolutely essential skills of a good translator. Freelancers will probably proofread all their own translations, but there may be a division of labor in a large translation agency where proofreading is something that is not necessarily done by the same person who does the translation. Everyone has their own preferred way of proofreading, but it is doubly important when translating as it must check for the usual simple mistakes in spelling, spacing errors, and typos as well as mistakes in the translation itself, such as vocabulary, idioms, and grammar. Good proofreading is part of the qualities of a good translator.
● Discipline and commitment to the translation task are commonsense qualities of a good translator. Translation is not an easy job and cannot be taken lightly. Apart from the obvious fact that as a translator your reputation as a good translator is going to provide you with an income the other aspect is that your clients are depending on you to provide an accurate translation of whatever they have given you to do. In some cases, an inaccurate or sloppy translation could cost money or even lives.