Although translating can often be a frustrating challenge, it can also be very rewarding.  Here are some hints and tips to make the document you are translating more fluent, more enjoyable and most of all more successful. These tips are for those of you who already have the basics ie, basic computer skills, a good bilingual dictionary, encyclopaedia and thesaurus.

What a difference thirty minutes can make – the importance of what you should do before starting to research.  How to make your translation sound natural, does it flow.  It is important to know your limits and also to read through your translation once it is complete.

Before Beginning

Before starting to translate your document it is essential that you have read through and understood the document that you are about the translate, and this means going through each and every word from start to finish.  Don’t just translate on a whim, make sure that you have had a good nights rest before returning to the document the next day to translate.  Translating can be straightforward, and the more relaxed you are about translation the better your transcript will flow.


It is amazing what just 30 minutes of research will help you achieve, and the more time you have to invest in the translation the better it will be.  It is a good idea to look at a good quality target language website on the subject you are about to translate and make both mental and written notes about the type of language used.  It can also be the ideal opportunity to help clear up any difficulties you may have had when reading the text through in the first instance.

The Importance of Natural-Sounding Translations

For any text to be convincing it is a fact that it has to sound natural.  The writing style is of course one of the most difficult aspects of all.  The trick to good translation is that you understand what the writing is saying and how he wants to say it, in other words how the writer wants this document to come across to the listener.  If you have read this document from beginning to the end then you should already have an idea of how it sounds.  It is important not to become blinded by the words which are used in the source document.  As a translator you should have the time to come up with the right words to form that perfect sentence.

Make it Flow

It is a fact that the more the words flow in a document the more convincing they are to whoever is listening and the more they sing the more you want to read.  It is important that you use your thesaurus and don’t be afraid to add in ‘ing’ to your nouns and verbs.  The listener wants to hear warm, reassuring and comforting English used.  So by using words such as ‘indeed’ and ‘moreover’ etc you are sure to capture the readers attention.

Keep in Touch

I translate into English and live in Germany, I stay in touch with my roots by listening to English radio on a daily basis and by reading English books.  I more often than not visit English language websites that helps me to keep up to date with my translation and keep it sounding fresh.  Sometimes by doing this, you hear other words and phrases that you can adapt into your translation.  It is amazing that just by reading a book, you can suddenly think of new ideas which you can use when translation.

The Importance of Being Confident but also Knowing your Limits

Translation has no rules and boundaries but it is important to stay in touch with yours, if you really don’t understand the text that you are about to translate, then it is important that you take another look, as confident translation is always the best translation.  Don’t be afraid to move away from the source document and adding in.  Always play to your strengths and know your limits.

Now Finished – Read Through Again

Once you have completed your translation, it is important to read back through it the day after completing it.  Don’t try to do this on the same day, as you may not spot error, and little sentences that could do with a little extra tinkering.  Read through the next day, when your mind is fresh and you have had a rest.  Never leave it to chance, always read through again the next day.