Ongoing Knowledge Acquisition
Translators need vast general knowledge and in-depth specialist knowledge.
Therefore they need ongoing knowledge acquisition skills.
To obtain general knowledge read, read, read and listen to educational radio stations in your chosen foreign language(s). If you live in a country whose language is not your mother-tongue, make sure you don’t neglect your native language. You’ll be surprised how quickly the fine-tuning gets lost!
To develop an in-depth specialist knowledge of your chosen area(s) of specialisation:
- Involve yourself in the subject matter. Study the terminology used in your area of expertise.
- Make sure you have access to specialist dictionaries, whether online, in CD or paper format.
- Build up a collection of links to bilingual websites in your specialisms
- Keep up-to-date with trends and developments.
- Translate relevant texts for practice purposes.
Aquiring knowledge quickly and effectively
As a freelance professional translator you need to have a vast knowledge of a wide variety of subject matters and/or to excel at researching the subject at hand. Sometimes, you may not be extremely familiar with a particular specialist field but applying common sense and being skilled at researching terminology on the Internet, you have a very good chance of producing a serviceable translation.
One of the ground rules of Internet research is to never take the first website’s translation you come across as the correct one. Always double or triple check: do other sites use the same term in the same way? If so, have they copied each other? Ideally, find sources in the target language country. These are most likely to be accurate.