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What does a translator do?

A translator is someone who converts the written word from one language to another. The most important requirement is that they be fluent in, for example, English and at least one other language.

A translator is a specialist in more than one field, from basic ones like greetings to scientific, more complicated like nuclear engineering.

To be a translator from one language to another, a person has to learn all the time. There are always new things that a translator can learn.

Translators have help in CAT tools and machine translating software.

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What tools do professional translators use?

Most professional translators use some type of translation memory software, often called TM. The term Computer Assisted Translation is also used.
These programs compare each sentence in the text with previously translated sentences and phrases, to generate a possible translation. Then the human translator modifies this translation as needed.
There are many advantages to this. Mainly, the translator does not have to retranslate stock phrases or common terminology over and over again. They also have features to check for accuracy in numbers, or that a translator has translated certain terms consistently throughout the entire document. Many Programs today also let the translator send a phrase or sentence to be translated by an outside source, for example, a TM server run by an agency, or a machine translation service such as Google Translate.
There are several companies that offer the software and they all do more or less the same thing. They each have strengths and weaknesses. Some are more expensive and have more features. Some software is better suited for people working on very large projects that cannot be accomplished by one translator in the given time. The one I use is most suited for an individual freelance translator.
All of them should be used only by a translator. In fact, I believe it is much better for a translator to work without such a program, at least in the beginning, and then use the program only once they have learned the basics of translation.
Translators in some fields, such as marketing, sales catalogs, etc. don’t like to use TM. They say that it inhibits their creativity, and the result will sound too much like a translation.
Another type of translation that is growing is the post-editing of machine translation. In this method, a machine translation program is used to generate a first draft. Then a human translator revises it. The machine translations are getting better, but for now, most individual translators do not like to do this work. It’s usually not as interesting and some translators find that machine produced translations have strange and annoying errors in them. Also, the client in those cases often does not pay the translator as much. But the software is getting better, and most of us will be doing something along those lines in the future.

Quote by: Steven Marzuola

Photo by Romain Vignes on Unsplash

What are the different types of language translators?

Three main types of translation are human translation, machine translation, and post-edited machine translation. So you can call a person or a computer translator. And if it’s the former, you can distinguish translators based on what type of translation they specialize in.
So some distinguish between literary (prose, poetry, plays) and informative (scientific, technical, newspapers, documents etc) translation, on the one hand, and between written and oral translation (or interpretation), on the other hand. So there are interpreters and translators, and translators could be grouped into literary translators, science translators, technical translators and so on (the grouping is based on what kinds of works a translator translates).
And also there are two different types of interpreting: consecutive interpreting (the interpreter speaks after the source-language speaker has finished speaking) and simultaneous interpretation (the interpreter translates the message in the target-language as quickly as he or she can formulate it from the source language, while the source-language speaker continuously speaks).
Also you can distinguish between intralingual translation (translation within the same language, which can involve rewording or paraphrase), interlingual translation (translation from one language to another), and intersemiotic translation (translation of the verbal sign by a non-verbal sign, for example music or image). So you can say there are intralingual translators, interlingual translators and intersemiotic translators.

Quote by: Darla Rogers

2 thoughts on “What does a translator do?”

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