Communication skills go well beyond the ability to make people understand what you’re trying to convey. The abilities to read, write, and comprehend another language are essential skills for any good translator to have, but one of the most important skills is to be a good listener.

According to UpWork, “Being a good listener is essential for being a good translator, and among the most important skills every translator should have.” This not only applies to the assigned content, but also to the assigned instructions.

How much do you remember?

People only remember 25-50 percent of what they hear.

Research shows that people only remember 25-50 percent of what they hear. In a two-way conversation, Psychology Today explains why listening can be so difficult: “If we’re not distracted by technology, our own thoughts can keep us from listening to another person. We often think that we are listening but we’re actually just considering how to jump in to tell our own story, offer advice, or even make a judgment—in other words, we are not listening to understand, but rather to reply.”

Think about the times when you have “zoned out” while watching an uneventful movie or during a conversation when you were thinking about your own experience. Unless you made a concerted effort to really listen to the speaker, you didn’t get the full meaning of their words. While zoning out during a movie isn’t really a big deal, tuning out instructions for a work-related project is not an option.

To stay connected to the speaker, and to improve your listening skills, ask open-ended questions when appropriate. Instead of interrupting or zoning out, asking open-ended questions will keep you invested and “give you the chance to continue gaining information,” says Psychology Today. It’s the good information you receive in any conversation that can make most things easier to understand and remember.

Listening skills foster communication on all levels

Translators take information written in one language and convert it into another language to foster communication. A document written in English can be translated so that a person who reads Russian can understand the meaning. Though translation does not relate to spoken words, listening skills are still very important. In order to meet the needs of a client, our project managers must use good listening skills to clearly understand the given instructions.

An assignment to translate software procedural manuals from German into English can be just as complex as an assignment to translate a legal summons from French into Polish. Project managers review assignments for accuracy to ensure that all translations are successful. They listen to our clients and ask questions for clarity to understand what is needed before relaying the instructions to our professional translators. From there, our translators complete the job. They know the language, they have experience in the industry they’re working in, and they know how to listen to the instructions that they are given. Plus, they have the critical skill of “listening” to what the text is saying so they can accurately translate it into another language. Contact us today for more information on how our good listening skills can help meet your translation needs.

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