Hall of fame: Klaus

Klaus, a Berlin-based English to German translator, joins the ranks of our distinguished hall of famers this season. What started as a natural inclination toward learning languages became the catalyst for his professional career as a translator. He believes consistent hard work and dedication to excellent quality and customer relationships could also pave the way for other translators’ success.

What languages do you speak and what are your experiences with learning them?

German is my mother tongue, and I speak English and French as well as some Polish and Russian. In high school, I did quite well at French and English so I decided to study French philology at university. I also have a vocational degree as a foreign-language correspondence clerk for English and French. For the past 10 years, I’ve worked as a private language tutor and freelance translator in Berlin, which has really helped me improve my language skills.

What are your favorite translation tools?

I usually work with online dictionaries such as Leo.org, Dict and Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries. Urban Dictionary is a great resource to look up informal or idiomatic expressions that don’t appear in other dictionaries. Sometimes I use Google Images if a regular dictionary doesn’t provide enough information, for example, on plants, animals or certain technical terms.

What are your tips to become a Wordsmith?

Translating 500,000 words means a lot of work, so you should consider translating to be more than just a side job. You need to have some regular customers, too. If you provide quality translations and communicate with your customers in a friendly way, they will often add you as a preferred translator. This means you will get more jobs on a regular basis. To increase your word count, you should also translate from your mobile, for example while you’re on the bus or waiting in a queue.

Want to become a Gengo translator?

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Megan Waters

The author

Megan Waters

Megan manages all things translator-related as Gengo’s Community and Digital Content Manager. Born in South Africa but now based in Tokyo, she’s passionate about languages and people. Megan spends her free time exploring secondhand shops, camping in the mountains and hosting the occasional dinner party.


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