Do you remember the first time you attended a conference or event for translators? Did you feel “at home” and that you had so much to talk about with the other attendees? I know I did, and not only because we shared the same profession. I truly believe that professional translators who enjoy their job share quite a
few personality traits. Here are a few that I can think of.
We translators are curious, we want to learn and find out, not only
things in a specific area, but in general. I recently received a translation
project dealing with research in peace and conflict resolution. I was thrilled
to learn more about this through translating and researching. Many translators
are as a result of this also well educated.
2. Detail oriented
We want to find just the right word and just the right way to say
something, and we usually dig deep until we find this. This is also an
important trait for proofreading. We read the whole sentence, not skipping one
single word, and find the things that ought to be adjusted.
Many of us work independently as freelancers and have to manage our own
time and work schedule. Deadlines help, but it takes discipline to sit by the
computer to finish a project when your family or friends are calling you to get
out and “play”. It also takes discipline to allocate those extra hours in your
day to marketing, upkeep etc.
4. Business savvy
Part of our discipline ties into our business knowledge. We know that we
run our own little business and that we have to be responsible to our customers
and treat them right in order to make them come back. We know that each
interaction is part of our long term marketing and we try to be as professional
and service oriented as possible.
I know, translation is an art, but in today’s world most translator have
to be at least a little technical in order to survive. We work on computers,
communicate through email, use different computer tools in our daily work and we
have to be able to back up our work, solve minor technical issues and
6. Self-confident and driven
It takes hard work and time to find customers; especially the ideal
customer, and we need to be able to trust our competence in order to keep going
sometimes. We need to be able to handle a few rejections, set goals and work
These are a few personality traits that seem common in many translators.
The interesting thing is that I have also heard about things that many of us do
NOT like to do, such as accounting, invoicing, taxes etc. I know that is true
for me, but I do it anyway, or find someone else that can do this for me so I
can focus on what I like to do, translate. What other personality traits do you
think are common for translators and other linguists? Please share!