Tips for becoming a preferred Gengo translator

translator tips

A vital part of your journey as a Gengo translator is being handpicked by customers to be their Preferred translator (PT). As a PT, you’re given priority access to jobs and you may also be chosen by our Projects Team to work exclusively with customers you haven’t worked with in the past. Providing quality translations is expected of all translators, but what differentiates preferred translators is their willingness to go the extra mile. Here are a few useful tips for becoming a Preferred translator as shared by PTs in our community forum:

1. Add a personal touch

Giving projects a little extra attention and adding a personal touch can go a long way, especially in the age of chatbots and auto-responders. Knowing how to communicate effectively and professionally with the customers is a must. More importantly, if you use every interaction as an opportunity to build and strengthen your relationship with customers, you’ll be one step ahead of the rest.

As an English to German translator said, “Show the customer that while Gengo is a widely automated and anonymous service, there are real living people working for them at the other end…”

Another English to Japanese translator also stresses the importance of communicating in the customer’s preferred language and responding in a professional manner. “Use an appropriate tone and do not make any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors in your comments. For Japanese, be sure to use keigo (polite language) to avoid offending the customer. These are part of my efforts to be professional and to keep the language level appropriate for business… It takes very little effort to impress the client, but it also takes very little to leave a bad impression.

2. Be proactive

Preferred translators also stand out by having a proactive attitude. It pays to ask for clarification and more information when necessary, as this shows that you genuinely want to improve the quality of the translation. The customer usually appreciates it when translators point out mistakes in a professional manner or give suggestions to improve the source text.

An English to Italian translator adds, “The customer certainly feels, in most cases, kindness and the proactive attitude in the messages we send them, so it’s certainly worth asking them for clarifications, but also helping them correct some possible mistakes they made in their source or asking them whether what they wrote was really what they meant to say. Sometimes they don’t realize that their source message is not clear at all. Helping them in any possible way, apart from translating their texts, is very important, and it pays off in the end.

One of our English to German translators also reiterated that “asking questions does not make you look stupid, on the contrary, it shows the client that you really care for the content and want to do it right.”

Lastly, another English to German translator recommends investing more time and effort whenever possible: “Do the whole collection, not just the jobs you can do on the fly. It signals to the client that you are willing to engage with their content, not only provide automated responses.”

3. Think long-term

Combined with consistently excellent translations, the aforementioned efforts can provide extra value to your customers that will also benefit you in the long run. In addition to becoming a Preferred translator for more customers, you’ll develop good habits to provide “above and beyond” service. The professional skills you gain will make it worth all the extra time and effort you invested.

An English to Italian translator summarizes it best: “If being a good translator, or even an excellent translator is a quality that helps money flowing in, to be a ‘preferred translator’ represents an investment. In simpler words, if you want to be ‘Preferred’ you have to switch from the mindset of “making money out of your trade” and put yourself in the mindset of investing time (despite earning less money) in the attempt of adding value to the text you are translating….If I had to give some advice to a newbie, this is what I would recommend. Invest in learning and add value to your translations whenever you can. It is an investment that in the medium to long term pays off.

What other tips and advice do you wish to impart to new and aspiring translators? Share them with us in the comments!

Want to become a Gengo translator?


Jenie Gabriel

The author

Jenie Gabriel

Jenie creates and coordinates content for Gengo's marketing team. Originally from the Philippines, she was an advertising creative in Singapore before moving to Tokyo. In her spare time, you’ll find her wandering around the city or planning her next escapade.

  • Rachel Yee

    I’m in the middle of a standard test now, just sent it in. In the mean time, I’ll practice my translation skills on light novels. I’ll have to improve on both languages as much as I can, just in case.

  • Cnaky

    This article really helps me a lot. A translation is not just a trade, it involes caring.

    • Jenie Gabriel

      That’s great to hear! Let us know how else we can help you become a better translator :)

      • Cnaky

        Thank for your kindness! I think I can also improve my translation quality by studying great translations by other translators.

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