The most common mistakes of new translators

Are you going to get started as a translator and you are afraid of making translation mistakes? You should know that translating is a creative action, a painstaking operation, which requires a sharp ear and a feeling for language. As a translator, you must possess strong command over syntax, phraseology and etymology to effectively translate every text into their true meaning.


Novice translators often believe they can work every subject with the same proficiency. If he/she has no previous knowledge of the subject, doing a research about it would be the best step. It´s a very good way to get used with the theme and specialized jargon, word usage and phrasing.  The most common mistakes by new translators arise because of their lack of experience. The best advice for novice translators is to keep simple and not to get out of the original text.


Improve your work as a translator avoiding the following mistakes: 

  1. Meaning of words: to effectively translate a script, it is important not to exaggerate it with technical words or complex sentences. Avoid getting out of the context and understand what the writer of the original text means.
  2. Wrong words: avoid direct mistranslations. Remember that some words cannot be exactly translated and sometimes in doing so, the context can completely change. Get yourself familiarized with all words to become an effective translator.
  3. Use of wrong styles: It seems to be a very simple point but some novice translators do not give importance to the style of each text. As a translator you must be familiar with the type of document you are translating. It is not same to translate a legal document than a book. To excel in your translations it is important translate a document in the right tone.
  4. Literal translations: Do not translate literally. You have to interpret a script into other language in the same style as it is intended. Use online tools and dictionaries whenever you have to translate a script because it helps you understand the proper use of words.
  5. Lack of communication skills: focus on the translation but don´t forget your customer. One of the keys to succeed as a translator is to know the client and their needs. Try to engage in conversation prior to translation and attempts to answer key questions about their needs. A good relationship with the client could avoid misunderstandings and lead to better translations.


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