What are the top qualities of a professional translator? How can you distinguish a professional one from an amateur?
Well, this is the hardest question to answer. Since I have been working as a translator and subtitler for some years now, I wrote down a list of the top 4 qualities that an excellent translator should have.
Respond to emails on time, especially when your clients ask for your availability for a new project, is crucial.
But punctuality also means to meet your deadlines: if the project needs to be delivered by Monday at noon, you cannot send it on Tuesday at 3:00 pm.
A good translator is, first of all, a grammar nazi. Perfect use of grammar and spelling - in their native language - is a simple way to distinguish those who professionally work in this field from those who think that being a translator is a "funny way" to supplement their monthly income. No, being a translator is not a hobby.
Being respectful to your clients: do not disclose confidential material, even if they do not ask you to do so. You cannot tell to your friends what will happen in the next episodes of the TV series you are currently translating.
Also, being respectful to other translators is essential. They do your same job; they have studied as much as you have; they have deadlines to meet and bills to pay.
A translator loves to capture every single change in the world around him/her. A new word used by youngsters, a small particular that went unnoticed by most of the people.
Keeping up to date is fundamental to know the field in which you work, be it audiovisual, marketing or food and wine.