Acquiring translation knowledge

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Have you decided upon translation as a profession? It is time to acquire translation knowledge then. This article covers the most common roads taken by translators to acquire translation skills and experience, and their benefits.

Learning translation

In translation, like with any other professional endeavor, determination is one of the most important elements for success. Most translators decide upon translation as a profession having learned at least one second language already --a small number of translators may decide upon translation even before realizing they will need to learn a second language to be able to get into the translation business. But having learned a second language may not be enough to venture into translation, specially if we want to become professional translators.

Both knowing and understanding how our second language works, and, more importantly, knowing and understanding how our own language works, are very important premises if we want to provide qualitative translation services. Therefore, sooner or later, any translator must either study or experience translation--or both. Understanding the languages we handle will certainly help us acquire translation knowledge and experience as well.

Studying translation

Some translators begin their journey by taking translation courses or following this field of study at university, if it is available. There are numerous educational institutions that offer these courses and, though studying translation is not an exclusive requirement, acquiring translation knowledge may favor professional development in the long run.

Benefits of studying translation at university include:

  • The possibility to enhance translation knowledge and skills before accessing the translation market.
  • The chance to start developing a relationship with (future) colleagues.
  • The opportunity to undertake translation research or an internship.

Experiencing translation

Other translators have taken practice and voluntary translation work as part of their education. Translating specialized content found on the web or elsewhere, or offering translation services for free, may be other strategies for acquiring not only translation skills but also experience.

Learning translation through experience has the following benefits:

  • It allows you to “try on” a new career without wasting time and money if you realize you do not like it.
  • It is free training ('on-the-job' training).
  • It will add to your resume.
  • It also offers the possibility to meet very diverse people, making valuable contacts.
  • It gives the chance to choose the content.
  • It facilitates learning without restrictions.

Further reading

Discussion related to this article

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Acquiring translation knowledge

Tagalog to English
TranslatorApr 25, 2011

it's not like you have to translate word by word but base on the sentence that is given to be translate and the real meaning of it. being a translator you must help also the reader or the listener to understand, it's not that you just have to earn but the main point here is to help others to understand...


Lucia Leszinsky
Thanks leoniza!Apr 25, 2011

I agree with you in that helping others to understand is an important part of translation.

Would you mind adding your thoughts to the article? Remember that anyone can contribute to wiki articles like this one by clicking on "Edit" and adding further information.

Kind regards,



haraf_ijhal (X)
Local time: 22:35
Urdu to English
According to me :)Feb 13, 2013

I think their are two types of translation done usually..
1.The word to word.

In this type of translation the traslator is fully focused on explaining the word meanings.this is done for those who want to learn the language.this could let them know ,which words actually means what.

2.Meaning full or understandable or simple.

In this type of translation .The translator will be fully focused on explaining the meaning of the sentence,that means .here reader will not learn the language but try to understand ,what authors wants to say.


Lucia Leszinsky
Thanks you haraf_ijhalFeb 13, 2013

Please feel free to add your comments to the article. Just click on "Edit", add further information and save the changes. Thanks again!



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