The most important thing is to thoroughly enjoy what you do. People who enjoy what they do are often passionate, and passion translates into being good at your job. If you love language, especially the specific languages that you speak, you will enjoy the learning process, and you will enjoy training yourself to become even more proficient in both your source and your target languages.
It is very important to know your audience. Different dialects may have different spellings for the same words. If your reader is specific to an industry it might be safe to use jargon. There are also words that can mean the same thing but be specific to a region. In the United States, what they call “candy” is referred to as “sweets” in the United Kingdom. It is important to consider these subtle differences.
Also, translators must keep up with their computer skills. There are various programs and software that translators use on a daily basis, and quite often there are problems that occur that need to be fixed. Being able to solve these problems on your own can be a major advantage to your success. If you are lacking basic computer skills such as having a slow typing speed, or if you need to constantly check the keyboard while you type, you might need to take a basic computer course.
There are many other important aspects to consider when you are trying to improve your success. There are a number of questions you should be asking yourself:
- Services – Is translation the only service that you offer? Do you offer proofreading and editing as well?
- Marketing/Branding – Are you active on social media? Do your pages create a consistent image? Are your specializations clearly listed?
- Advantages – What differentiates you from the rest? You need to have a clear advantage over your competitors. Do you have a specialization or a lot experience in a specific field or industry? These are things that can give you a competitive edge over other translators.
- Education – Having a degree in either your language or in your specialization is a serious advantage. Any degree can help to develop serious research and writing skills, which are vital skills for a translator to possess.
- Networking – Do you have a strong network? Do you attend events or have a virtual network of people who come to you to pass on a job? If not, this is something you should develop right away!
All of these recommendations will lead to your success and happiness. When you love what you do, you will be good at it. When you’re good at what you do, you will want to be even better at it, which essentially leads to you being even happier with your job and with your life. It is a cycle that never ends and is ever-improving.