To round off her 15 useful tips for new translators – tying in with our 15th anniversary – our Trainee Translator Hollie shares some more insights into what she’s learned in her career so far. Visit here for the first half of her tips!
9. Having goals and tracking your progress is the best motivation
I’ve had clear targets to work towards right from day one at LKT. From completing my initial training in my first week to working up to full production speed, my progress has always been clearly monitored to make sure that I’m on track and comfortable with the pace I’m moving at. Another fantastic feature of the LKT training programme is the opportunity for all newcomers to work up to Associate Membership of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (AITI) after their first year, ultimately progressing to Qualified Membership (MITI) after three years at the company. Recognised industry qualifications like these are extremely valuable, and being able to work towards them while learning from the expertise of the other members of the team, many of whom have already achieved MITI status, is in itself an extremely rewarding experience
10. Never be afraid to try new things
Since arriving at LKT in September 2018, I’ve been able to try lots of things that I never imagined I’d have the chance to do. Together with two other members of the in-house team, Laura and Eveline, I scripted, recorded and edited LKT’s brand new podcast, LKTeam Talks, helping to create a three-part series dedicated to the subject of LKT’s training model, the Translator Academy. I’ve written several blogs on subjects ranging from American English to the future of the translation profession. And at our most recent joint Team Day together with some of our freelance subcontractors, I volunteered to give a talk on the subject of robotics. Not so long ago, I wouldn’t have thought that I’d have the confidence to do any of those things. For me, life at LKT isn’t about translation alone. If you’re prepared to put the effort in, there’s also a huge amount of scope to explore topics you feel passionately about and to try your hand at new and exciting things
11. Sharing is caring
I was thrilled when our Director Louise asked me to help conduct some of the training for our other Trainee Translator, Laura, after just a couple of months after I’d started working at LKT. It was the perfect way for me to pass on the skills I had just acquired while simultaneously consolidating my own knowledge. This way of sharing skills and expertise perfectly demonstrates the effectiveness of the collaborative training model we use here at LKT. We’re all encouraged to help each other however we can, and being able to have a hand in the translator training process itself really opened my eyes to the different aspects of working as part of a tight-knit in-house translation team.
12. Panicking is not helpful
Sometimes, things go wrong. Your computer crashes, your CAT tool is running slow, or you’re working on a translation that’s packed full of acronyms you haven’t come across before and you’re struggling to know what to do. One of the most important things that I’ve learned so far is that when these things happen – which they do, to all of us – the worst thing you can do is panic. Staying calm, letting someone know the situation, and working together to resolve the problem is by far preferable to getting frustrated or upset or writing yourself off as generally rubbish. Being able to work effectively under pressure is a key skill in many professions, particularly translation – but knowing the correct steps to take when the pressure is on is just as important.
13. Never stop learning
Not so long ago, if I was presented with a text about a brand new topic I’d never come across before, jam-packed with terms I didn’t recognise and full of seemingly never-ending sentences, I might have had a slight panic (I have since learned from this – see point 12 above). Now, I’ve come to treat every single text as a learning experience. Each text we translate is in many ways a blank canvas. It’s an opportunity to build on knowledge and skills we’ve picked up before, to try things out, and to learn more not just about your style as a translator, but also about new and exciting subjects. From gourmet kitchen appliances to pipelines, ice-skating robots to precision spirit levels, driverless cars to bronchoscopes – every day, I get to step into the shoes of a surgeon, a crane operator, an engineer, or a scientist. I can’t think of another job that allows you to glimpse into the worlds of so many different professions all from the comfort of your desk.
14. Striking a balance is key
As with many things in life, striking a balance is crucial, be it between work and play, too much and too little exercise, looking back and looking forward…since being at LKT, I’ve found another area where finding a good balance is simultaneously vital and extremely difficult to achieve: the balance between checking your work carefully, precisely, and confidently, and checking it 20,281 times. I’ve definitely heard it said that translators are perfectionists and pedants by nature, which is absolutely not a bad thing. But somewhere, a line has to be drawn. Accuracy is vital in our business, and thorough checking is something we all take very seriously. But at the end of the day – often literally – the job needs to be finished. Learning to let go and move on from a text you’ve worked so hard on and put so much effort into can be extremely difficult – but another one will soon come along for you to immerse yourself in!
15. You get out what you put in
I’ve always believed in working hard and making the most of whatever opportunities come my way. I went into my job at LKT with the exact same mentality, and I’m so proud to look back on what I’ve been able to do and achieve in just seven short months. I feel extremely lucky to have such good people around me, a supportive environment where I can put my language skills to good use and continue learning and developing, and a workplace I look forward to being in every single day. I can’t wait to see what the next few months will bring as I approach the end of my first year at LKT!