Corinne is the Social Media and Content Lead at BLEND. She is dedicated to keeping global business professionals up to date on all things localization, translation, language and culture.
Understanding how to translate fast is crucial for any professional linguist. After all, the lower your output, the less money you’ll be bringing in at the end of the month. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix to improve translation speed. The more corners you cut, the more you risk delivering second-rate translations to unhappy clients. Feeling swamped by an ever-growing workload? Below, we explore five easy ways to boost your translation speed.
Looking to churn out translations at lightning speed? If you want to learn how to translate fast, you’ll first need to work on your typing speed.
An average person types around 40 words per minute, while faster typists can produce more than 70 words per minute. However, most professional linguists will need to translate texts of upwards of 2,000 words per day. To achieve consistently high-quality results, you need to be translating around 500 words per hour.
If your typing speed already falls short, focus on perfecting the art of touch typing. The good news is that there are plenty of user-friendly tools out there to help you increase your typing speed. KeyBlaze and TypingClub both offer free-to-use software that makes it easy to ramp up your typing speed. Meanwhile, services like Ratatype offer multilingual functionality.
Once you’ve upped your typing speed in your native language, you’ll need to focus on the specifics of your target language. Working with different keyboard layouts and integrating special characters can slow down your working speed to begin with. However, both need to be perfected in order to take your translation speed to the next level.
Although it’s no substitute for a human translator, machine translation can dramatically increase turnaround. However, it’s not as easy as using machine translation engines like Google Translate to deliver client-ready results.
Instead, machine translation should only be used as one part of a larger process. If you’re working with fairly simple source text, machine translation can be used to produce a first draft that can then be fine-tuned for clarity and context.
You can also use things like the Google Translate app for faster translations on the fly. By not having to leave your screen, you save time and keep your attention focused on the task at hand. Also, if you’re using a smartphone or tablet, you can use the Tap To Translate feature to translate text without having to switch to another app. For reliable results, make sure you’re using the latest version.
Translation memories are essentially databases that store key phrases, sentences, and text segments from previously translated documents. If you want to make the move to quick translations, never underestimate the importance of these databases.
Many translators turn to translation memories to automate their workflows, using their old translations as a rich resource. If you’re about to undertake a huge translation project, these databases provide you with reliable suggestions based on content that you’ve already translated.
Not only do they help you work faster, so you can meet tight deadlines, but they also improve consistency. If you regularly translate similar words and phrases, translation memory makes life much easier.
There are plenty of things to love about being a freelance translator. You get to set your schedule, work at your own pace, and pick your clients. However, working for yourself brings unique challenges. Unless you’re a digital nomad who’s constantly on the move, you’ll want to make sure you have a dedicated space to work in.
Translating texts requires high levels of concentration. While it might tempt to grab your laptop and head to the nearest coffee shop, aim for minimal distractions when you come to translate a text.
Ideally, you’ll want a space that’s only reserved for work. A spare corner of a dining room table won’t do, especially if you’re sharing your home with roommates or a young family. Next, don’t skimp on office essentials. Ergonomic seating and an accessible workstation will make translating for many hours at a time a much more comfortable experience.
Once you’ve taken care of the bare-bones of your office, you can start thinking about the finer details. Keep it neutral when picking out a color scheme. Low-wavelength hues like blue and green are known to improve efficiency and help you maintain focus. Biophilic design can also bring a much-needed boost.
Do you struggle with time management? There are many productivity methods you can employ to help you stay on track and translate at a speed.
The Eat the Frog technique is a handy tool for getting those challenging tasks out of the way early, but it’s not the most practical for translation projects. Instead, consider the Pomodoro method.
This innovative approach lets you break your work day down into manageable 25-minute stints. Once 25 minutes is up, you can enjoy a 5-minute break before delving back into whatever you’re working on. After a few of these cycles, you can take a longer break to recharge your batteries.
If you’re searching for professional online translation services, you’ve come to the right place. We work with over 25,000 translators from across the globe, with linguists producing content in over 120 languages. Our BLEND Express service can deliver your translated content in as little as 24 hours. Meanwhile, our-house managers ensure your multilingual translation projects are consistently delivered to the highest quality. Ready to learn more? Get in touch with the team today.