Important Skills That Every Translator Should Have

If your company needs to hire a Russian translator or a translator in any language online, then you should definitely know what you are looking for. Great translators need to understand the ideas and context being expressed in both the source language and the target language. They should also have a clear idea of the wider context of the topic for which they’re translating. Make sure that any translator you hire goes above and beyond rather than simply switching a few words to properly express the idea in the target language.

Languages change over time, so you need a translator that can keep up with those changes in the language and in the world. The translator needs to be able to stay connected to any changes that arise in both the culture of the native language and the culture of the target language. We recommend making sure that any translator you hire has the following skills:

  • Listening. Any translator that you hire should be a great listener. If they are not, they could misinterpret what is being said and could end up communicating the wrong message, especially if they are transcribing something and translating it into the target language. Translators will often develop their listening skills through years of translation experience, by listening to different individuals when they are translating, so experienced translators tend to be better listeners.
  • Writing. In addition to great listening skills, any translator you hire should also be a good writer. Good writers have the ability to be more creative and expressive, which can help them translate from one language to another more effectively. Most translators practice their writing skills over time by either reading books on writing or taking writing classes. We recommend asking any translator you are considering hiring to take a writing test.
  • Cultural intelligence. Beyond just listening and writing skills, a great translator should definitely have cultural intelligence. Translators meet a wide range of people from different cultural backgrounds, and it is super important that they know how to communicate with people from different cultures. We recommend asking translators questions to gauge their cultural intelligence during the hiring process.
  • Specialist knowledge. We also recommend hiring a translator with specialist knowledge. Having specialist knowledge of a certain field helps translators deliver a better, more specific translation that makes sense. We suggest hiring a translator who actually has a degree in a certain specialization for a topic that you need translating.
  • Observation. Observation is another necessary skill for any translator that you hire. Simply listening to what people are saying is not enough for a translator to truly perform the job well. They also need to fully understand how people are saying it in order to understand them more clearly and translate their thoughts in a more effective manner. Most translators develop their observation skills while reading while watching television shows and while traveling. We recommend asking any translator that you are considering hiring questions about their observation skills.
  • Computer skills. Any translator you hire should also have fairly good computer skills, especially if you want them to update translations directly to your website or to use your own in-house applications. They should also have a decent computer with an excellent internet connection speed, as well as up-to-date versions of any software they will be using, including programs like Excel and Word. We recommend asking questions about their computer skills, computer, internet speed and software during the hiring process. Translators tend to improve their computer skills over the years of translation work, so more experienced translators typically have better computer skills.
  • Time management. Any translator you hire should also have great time management skills. They should be able to create and maintain a time schedule with breaks of 10 to 15 minutes between different tasks and projects, as well as an excellent work environment that is free from distractions. While you should not have to micromanage any translator you hire, you should ask them questions about how they manage their time during the hiring process to make sure that they already have an excellent time management system and work environment in place.
  • Advanced language knowledge. Your translator should also clearly have advanced language knowledge, especially in the languages that you need to be translated. Not only should they be fluent in the languages, but they should have a full understanding of the language and text so that they don’t misinterpret it and deliver a language that is not fully accurate. Excellent translators understand all of the meaning in the text, including all of the subtle nuances. Most translators gain advanced language knowledge through studying, reading the language regularly, consuming source language media, immersing themselves in the culture. We recommend asking any translator that you hire questions about their language studies to make sure that they have a full understanding of the source and target languages.