As I was packing my belongings to travel to Miami, I was wondering which would be the most important elements a translator must carry with himself besides knowledge. I came up with a list of the most used things every translator should have.
A computer is essential to work online and offline. The translator may work on a document in different formats (word, PDF, excel), save it, and edit it later. He can research specific topics and create parallel texts. It also enables communication with the client if their phone doesn’t work or their battery died.
#2 Monolingual dictionaries
A monolingual dictionary provides the definition of the word, pronunciation, and gives examples of the word in context. In case a word lacks an equivalent term in the target language, a monolingual dictionary is the first resource to understand the meaning of the term and to provide an equivalent expression.
#3 Bilingual dictionaries
Bilingual dictionaries provide the equivalent term in the target language. They are the most used among translators. The translator looks for the definition of the word according to its context.
#4 Parallel corpora
A parallel corpus is a recollection of texts in two languages. It may contain text pairs which are not translations of each other but texts which were developed independently in each language. It offers an opportunity to align original and translation, to gain insights in translation and to create bilingual glossaries.
#5 Bilingual glossaries
Glossaries are other resources employed by translators. They may be more specific than a bilingual dictionary which may contain more specialized vocabulary on a specific topic. You may create them from scratch by means of parallel corpora.
#6 Specialized bilingual dictionaries
Specialized bilingual dictionaries are essential elements in which the translator has access to a specific equivalent term in the target language. If there are no specialized dictionaries on a certain area, most translators create their personalized glossaries.
#7 Computer- Assisted Translation
Some but not all translators make use of Computer- Assisted Translation tools (or CAT), where texts are broken into segments and translation units are saved in a database called Translation Memory (TM).The most used translation memories are Wordfast, SDL Trados Studio, Déjà Vu, Memo Q, among others.
I hope you have enjoyed my list of essential elements translators need. If you feel like adding elements to the list you are more than welcome.