Knowing our mother tongue at 100% is an impossible task even for the biggest writers in the world. But still, we do our best and constantly learn new terms during our whole life. With such a long task, it is obvious that our knowledge in a different language is mostly restricted to the vocabulary we have in our main/native one.
Having said this, we have a series of tips that will help you improve the terminology you use on your daily basis as well as the way you translate into one or different languages. This list will not only apply for English as these are general advice and you can put them into practice no matter the knowledge you have in a particular language.
- Read a lot!
This might sound obvious but there is more than just looking for lectures based on the subject you want or you like the most. To improve your vocabulary, you will need to read books from good and famous writers. The best is to start with books written in your first language. Remember that the more you know in your mother language, the better you will understand a different one.
- Check lectures that are out of your comfort zone
We all have our favorite things and we also want to specialize in certain subjects depending on the career and the job we have. However, leaving that ‘safe’ area once in a while will take us to improve our translation skills and vocabulary faster. So take a novel, a recipe, and even a users’ guide of any product you have in the kitchen and read it. If you like reading about movies, look for something about geography. If you like poetry, read something about technology. Different resources will help you in different situations.
- Do you have a hobby? Combine it with languages
Everyone has a hobby. If you are a fan of Harry Potter and you read all the books, look for them in a different language. Surely you will learn a lot of new words thanks to J. K. Rowling’s way of writing. If you like sports, look for the history of your favorite teams or players in different languages and compare them. This way you will find equivalents and your translations will be more fluid and will sound more naturals.
- Check for official sources
Words and phrases are not a new trend. The vast majority of them are older than your grandparents and they have a way to be translated depending on the language. In this sense, look on the internet, but especially on official sources. Things like legal terms and sayings, just to mention a couple, have equivalents in other languages and we can find them in the related documents, books, and official sources according to its origin.
- Dictionaries are not only to find definitions
This is an underappreciated lifesaver nowadays. People are getting used to find definitions on the internet and close the window in just a few seconds. This is not good if you want to improve as a translator. There is nothing better than a good dictionary where you can find not only an accurate definition but also you can find synonyms that will help you enrich your vocabulary. There are even official apps for your mobile that can show you ‘the word of the day’ right on your screen. You will be surprised by some random words that you even know about it.
As you noticed, there is nothing impossible to do regarding these tips. It is just a desire to improve and become a better translator. There are even ways to learn while you are having fun. Be curious, be proactive, explore new and different options and we are sure that you will find it useful on every single translation you have to do in the future. Also, if you need a professional team of translators, Rangval offers you translations in over 30 different languages among many other services for you and your website!