What’s the Daily Routine of Translators?

This article is in partnership with Day Translations.

In the second issue of The Linguist Magazine there is an interesting piece about how professional translators plan their days.

“A day in the life” is a popular trend on social media as it gives you a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes and you get to learn how much work goes into something. For example, if you are an average person with no experience dealing with documents in another language, you may not know how much effort is required to produce translated text. A completed translation is the finished product but the general public may not be familiar with the amount of study, research, checking and editing needed.

Translating Requires Precision

One of the key messages from the article is that a good translation needs to be perfect in all its elements, from choosing the correct term from one language to another to ensuring the tone of the text and any overarching cultural references are reproduced seamlessly.

To achieve all this a professional translator has to be very organised.

What Professional Translators Do To Deliver Projects

Professional translators often dedicate a large section of their day to respond to clients’ emails and messages from their team and project managers. However, it’s easy to end up spending most of the day simply emailing or messaging back and forth. This is where being extremely organised and keeping all communications succint helps.

Part of the routine of a translator is to conduct plenty of research. Doing this will give the translator the background knowledge that will inform the translation process and improve its accuracy.

If a translator can get a translation to be correct the first time around it will save time later. Delays can be expensive for both clients and translators. The input from proofreaders, editors and other translators improves the quality of each translation, which means that the final document to submit to a client will more likely pass through quality control without many changes.

On top of everything else, there may be several requests to work on documents to be translated at the same time. In this case a professional translator has to have good time management skills and have a steady and disciplined approach to complete each task. Large amounts of coffee (other caffeinated drinks are available) usually help with this!

Making Time for Continuous Professional Development

Translation work is highly pressurised, but professional translators also have to find the time to further develop their skills and go on training courses to keep up with any new developments in their chosen languages, new software tools and any topics they specialise in.

This can also include attending conferences, either in person or remotely, while also developing connections both with fellow translators and with clients.

Ultimately, there is no set daily routine for translators but their workday tends to include preparing and planning the work, completing projects and learning new skills as necessary.

Of course, translators also have a life outside of work so part of their daily plan has to cater for family commitments, hobbies and/or sports. The occasional holiday is also a great way to reset and lower stress levels, as professional translators work under tight deadlines.