What are the qualities of a good translator?

29 Mar 2021

The translator’s profession is poorly understood. Working in obscurity, translators help their clients to get the right message across to the target audience.

Translating documents requires not only technical ‘hard’ skills, but certain soft skills too.


Precision and rigour

Translators need to be rigorous and precise.

Translating a text means more than just translating a series of individual words and putting them together. The translator must extract the meaning of the original text and transpose it as effectively as possible into the requested language.

Every last word and punctuation mark must be analysed and conveyed in optimal fashion.

The translation must then be repeatedly re-read, corrected and checked until it is perfect.


Curiosity and a wide range of interests

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it definitely does no harm to the translator!

Good translators are inquisitive souls who take notice of the world around them.

They must be interested in their environment and in different cultures and have excellent general knowledge. Translators have to work on texts about medicine, culture, business, politics and all kinds of other subjects, so a wide range of interests is required.



Without passion for their work, translators cannot do their job properly. When you love what you do, the quality of work you produce is higher. Translating documents requires dedication and engagement, so it is important for the translator to be passionate about his or her profession.


Organisation and punctuality

We live in a fast-moving world. Being organised is essential when you’re a translator. You will be expected to adapt quickly to the demands of your clients, and only a well-organised translator will provide a flawless translation within the set deadline. A translator who delivers translations on time will be seen as professional and serious, which is why putting in extra hours in order to meet a deadline is by no means unusual.



Being a translator requires patience. Translating a text in a foreign language can be time-consuming and very complicated. Some texts are poorly written: in this situation the translator will need to grit his or her teeth, come up with the best possible translation and perhaps even suggest some modifications to the source text.

Together, these qualities make a translator someone who can help you achieve your goals.

If you’re looking for a translator with all these qualities, get in touch with Azimut Translations. Our enthusiasm, attentiveness and availability, together with our reliability, add up to a quality service that will meet your needs.