Basic Rules for Successful Translator/Interpreter

I just started a new job in a very new working environment I have ever been. My current position is Editor and I work in the translation agency. it’s in the heart of the industry itself. *gasp* At first, I applied for in-house translator position, but after they review my test result, working experience and trainings that I had in the past, they decided to ‘upgrade’ the position to Editor instead. I told them during interview that I’m not ready yet for the position and I will need further training in order to perform well. They are fine with it and so here I am, trainee editor, hehehe.

This experience reminds me of the translator/interpreter newbie who often scared or not confident enough, but has the will and passion to be a great translator/interpreter. I once was scared, too, and now I am experiencing it again. Being under constant supervision and expose to criticism can be uncomfortable and somewhat makes me scared to make mistakes. All I do is remember all the past experiences and re-learn from it again.

Below is the rules I was able to compile:

  1. Accept that people make mistakes. There is always a first time in everything. Even in translation world, no matter how long I have been involve in this, I would occassionaly stumble upon a new thing. Remember that this world we’re working on is very dynamic and constantly evolving. The good news is, you’re still learning, so make as many mistakes as you can and learn!
  2. Ignore what people say how you should do your job. Unless you are making a fatal mistake, brush off their comments. Some people, especially ones who think are super experienced in the field, tend to be a control freak and wants to get into everybody’s head. Don’t let them. Take the good advice, leave the bad criticism behind. No one deserves belittling.
  3. Stand Out. In this life there are many kinds of people, and it goes the same with translator. You can either be a mediocre or an inspiring translator. It’s not like there’s something wrong in being mediocre–it’s your rights. No pressure. I consider myself as a mediocre translator, but I constantly learning that by being an inspiring person, people will like you not only because you’re a good translator, but also because you’re a nice person to be with. Stand out. Working as translator is not always about getting as many clients as possible. Pick your style when you do your job, live your life.
  4. Stay humble. No one likes snob people. No one likes a person who brags about how brilliant their career is, or how much money they could make from their job. It’s not about that. There is a saying, “insecurities are loud”, and I guess it’s true. I like to take a moment to pause, clean up some memory drive, so I am always ready to embrace knowledge or information from anyone. Like I said in point number one, this job is so dynamic, and any kind of good input is always an extra addition to what we have. So if you’re in a stage where you’re more advanced than your peers, remember that that does not mean you’re the master.
  5. Crave for more knowledge. So if I told you earlier to open up your mind and heart for new critics or feedback, remember to personally craving more information. Read books, journals, browse the website, join translator club, try new CAT Tools, etc. Never stop learning, and never wait for someone else to feed you with information, you gotta work as well.

There you go. I hope you don’t give up and always have the courage to learn new things. All the best!



Author: Maria Ambarastuti

A wife, a worker, a dreamer. trying to live her life to the fullest and continue to search for ways to enrich life. drop me an email for further chats:

2 thoughts on “Basic Rules for Successful Translator/Interpreter”

  1. Thank you for your inspiring words and your kindness to share the information kak 🙂 I do hope that I can be a good translator in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

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