When people think of the defining characteristics of a good translator, they immediately think of their linguistic prowess. It's the same assumption made by many an aspiring translator. They may be highly proficient at languages, possibly speaking several in addition to their mother tongue, and those that are bilingual must be the best of all, right? While proficiency in languages is most certainly a prerequisite for becoming a translator, a talent for writing is often overlooked. If translation were simply a matter of finding the equivalent words and phrasing from one language to another, then bilingualism would certainly be a great advantage and machine translation might eventually fulfill this role. But what sets humans and machines apart, and great translators from good ones, is the creativity and writing skill involved.
There are thousands of translators out there who are excellent linguists but it is surprising how few of them are also