Translation Tips

How to Translate a Text Like a Pro

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Page Content:

  1. Practice Matters
  2. Formatting Issues
  3. Tools to Use

When you have a text to translate the first thing to do is to find the best algorithm for coping with this task. There are numerous ways for a translator to make the working process go faster and less exhausting. Modern CAT tools and various online dictionaries can instantly find the meaning of an unknown word and suggest multiple options of its possible translation. You’ll then get a text ready for thorough editing work. But is it necessary to immediately use available translation tools as you get a text? The translators with broad experience know that using tools like Google Translate and other online “helpers” can not only lead you to a confusion but also alter the meaning of the source text quite significantly.


Read the source text before you do anything else with it. Understanding its topic and terminology is a crucial point for any translator. That is why most of the professionals try to focus on one specific subject. It allows them to improve the mastery with every text they translate. Once you’ve become a specialist in one of the subject areas, your professional skills will become of great value. But if you prefer to work with various topics and try to broaden your knowledge of different subjects, the translation process will become more complicated and take you more time to finish.

How can online machine translation tools harm your working process? If you are not an expert in the source text’s topic, such tools can be misleading. One word can sometimes possess very similar meanings that have crucial differences within a particular field of knowledge. If you are not aware of these differences, you risk altering the meaning of the text and making your translation useless. Unlike a machine translation, your work should be based on the context and common knowledge. It’s not enough to be fluent in a language to be a good translator.

1. Practice Matters

You need to understand the main idea of the source text, its purpose, and target audience. Your mission is to make it comprehensive for the specific group of people who’ll read it. Make a thorough analysis of the source text before starting to translate it. Identify the required style and tone of your future translation, the appropriateness of using abbreviations and specific terminology. It would be wrong to use Google Translate and then simply edit the text you receive.

At the early stages of working as a translator, you’ll find the most effective approach to translating numerous texts dedicated to various topics. You’ll understand when it’s appropriate to use online translation tools and when it’s better to avoid doing so. All you have to understand is that a machine translation won’t reach the level of accuracy and comprehensiveness of the human-powered translation. No computer can make a better translation than you, so start working and practicing. Only through the working process will you be able to become a better expert.

2. Formatting Issues

Before you start translating, you need to make sure the text you get is editable. Copying and pasting some of its parts helps to speed up the translation process and use CAT tools more effectively. That’s why it is often very inconvenient for a translator to receive a text in a PDF format or as a picture. If you want to save some time, there are a couple of useful tips you should know. You can use some of the converting programs available on the web or install them on your PC. The profession of a translator is hard enough already, there’s no need in making it even more difficult because of the formatting.

Convert PDF to DOC:

This online tool will easily convert your PDF file to DOC or DOCX. The main disadvantages of it are low speed (depending on your document’s size) and errors. Often the program can’t recognize all of the words, so you’ll need to edit it afterward.


You can download this app and use it for free. The obvious benefit is that you won’t need to waste your time on finding the appropriate tool the next time you need to convert PDF to DOC.

Adobe Acrobat DC

If you have a problem with different formats, why not use the most popular application? It has a free trial for 30 days and if you like it, you can buy it. This app allows you to convert document even on your phone that can sometimes be of great help. You won’t need to retype anything anymore.

Convert JPG to DOC:

If the source text is not someone’s photographed handwriting, this tool will be able to convert it to an editable DOC file. Some clients just send a photo of a document you need to translate. After the intense feeling of rage and crying ‘Why, God, why?’ you can visit this site to solve your problems.

This app will guarantee you high accuracy while converting images to editable text documents. That is why it’s a fee-based software. There’s an option of a free trial so you can try it out before taking the final decision of whether to buy it or not.

You may also receive a presentation from your client. In this case, don’t forget to ask if he/she needs it as a text document or as a presentation. In the latter case, make sure you keep the initial formatting. Use the same fonts and size of the text. All in all, the most important task for you is to discuss all of the doubts and questions you have regarding the translation with a client. It would be a pity to waste your time for nothing and disappoint a client with your work. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and you’ll get great results!

3. Tools to Use

It is not always about the CAT tools when it comes to a fast and accurate translation. Some of the websites and platforms can be of great help as well.

Google Docs is a free mean that lets you collaborate with other translators. You can access your files easily from any device and start from where you finished.

Dropbox offers you 2GB of space for free. You can create a folder with documents and go to it form any device you want. It also gives you a great chance to share your work with colleagues and business partners from around the world.

Linguee is a combination of a dictionary and a search engine. It makes the translation process a lot easier as you can focus on the context and the art of choosing the most suitable words.