A great deal of what we do here at CSOFT International is translation. So to show our appreciation for our translators, over the next 6 weeks we will be featuring some of our translators here on Simply CSOFT. Today, we hear from Wenlei Qu, a native of Shandong province and one of CSOFT’s Chinese-English translators.
What makes a good translator?
There are really seven things that make a good translator. Of course, the first is linguistic ability. First you must have superior understanding of your native language, and then you need great fluency in your target language.
Secondly, it’s important for a translator to develop in-depth subject matter knowledge; this is what we call “industrial knowledge.”
Third, and perhaps most important, is cultural understanding of both the source and the target languages. This is what separates the amateur translator from the good professional.
Fourth, a good translator is always creative. A good translator opens their mind to the different possible interpretations of a piece, the nuances of tone and style, and tries to capture this in the translations they make. We call this “transcreation;” the art of translation.
Fifth, a good translator always thinks of their audience. The more you think of them, the more you know about them, the better. You need to think of their usual linguistic registry, their social and economic background, their likely job position; many things.
Sixth, a good translator should be adept at using CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tools. Many CAT programs can make a translator much more productive and make their translations much more accurate. This skill takes practice, but it is well worth it.
The last thing is also the easiest to learn: to be a good translator, you must be good at research. I mean research about vocabulary, research about common linguistic errors, and research about the clients you serve so you can tailor your responses to them better.
What personality makes a good translator?
A great translator must be articulate. He or she must be able to communicate their thoughts exactly as they think them. At the same time, a great translator must learn to speak using another’s voice. They must adapt their translation style to the needs of the project and client.
I think many of the best translators I have ever met have also been terrific listeners. This is important because, if you are good at listening, then you develop the ability to easily see what a person means and what they are trying to say.
Also, a good translator must be – must be – studious. A good translator loves to learn and never stops learning. They learn new subjects, master new vocabulary, and are constantly developing themselves. A good translator is a lifelong learner.
Translating for CSOFT International
There are so many great translators here at CSOFT. When you come here, be open to learn as much as you can from them. Confidence is important, but don’t be overly confident or assume that you know more than others; my advice to anyone who wants to be a translator with CSOFT is to learn from your colleagues.
To learn more about freelance translation opportunities with CSOFT International, visit our career page or send your resume and a cover letter to If you’re interested in learning more about CSOFT’s globalization and localization solutions, visit our Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn pages or you can visit our webpage!