Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.
Many translators at the start of their career are sometimes confronted with challenging and demanding translation projects.
They have to answer the question to themselves whether they are ready for an immediate vertical take-off in their careers.
20 years ago, that question would have been difficult to answer, but today the answer would be YES!
It’s indisputable that thousands of hours worked and millions of words translated is are important professional values to any translator.
The more and deeper one deals with a specific field of expertise, the better and more consistent the translations will become.
However, that improvement does not only depend on the years of translation experience and number words translated.
Indeed, there are countless examples of ambitious, talented and diligent young translators at the start of their career outperforming their colleagues with 20 and more years of experience.
How do they achieve that?
Mental attitudes (see post about passion, curiosity, self-discipline, etc.) and working skills (see post about time management, research, CAT tools, etc.) contribute if not even more, then at least equally to the quality of each translation.
The Internet and other modern technologies provide helpful tools such as forums and communities of translators helping each other out.
There are also countless scientific magazines, publications, articles, videos, blogs, dictionaries, technical manuals and specifications and other sources of information on any field of expertise.
Last but not least, CAT tools are – regardless of the previous experience – of immense help to optimise translation project even in challenging areas of expertise.
An average translator – although having many hours and words translated behind them – would mainly rely on their linguistic knowledge and experience, which is why they might miss the opportunity to fully exploit experience.
Any great translator knows that translating experience comes in hand with mental attitudes and working skills.
Profound experience of WHERE, WHEN and HOW to use all available tools and sources will improve the translation speed, quality and consistency; and they can master and adapt to any technical challenge much easier and faster.
That enables also translators at the start of their career to provide great work, which, along with the collected work experience, will get them ahead of their average colleagues.