Translating from one language to another may seem like a very simple process. People might think that it's a simple process of just changing the original text into the target language. However, there is more to the process of translating that often get unnoticed by people.
Know the language. This is the first and foremost ability that is required of translators because, without knowing the language, a person won't be able to understand the given text; hence, attempt to even begin translating. In saying this, knowing the language requires a person to be quite strong in both the source and target language because translating is a process of deriving meaning from the source text and then expressing one's interpretation in the target language. If there is a language barrier, then a wrong interpretation of the text will lead to a wrong end result in the translation process.
Know the theory. Translation also has a lot of theory such as methods and different approaches that need to be taken into consideration. There is a choice between being faithful to the text and placing priority on the overall flow of the text. Of course there are pros and cons for both approaches because choosing faithfulness will mean text is translated with the exact meaning and feel of the source text, whereas focusing on the flow will mean that the target readers and their convenience are taken into consideration.
Know the culture. Having a good understanding of the target language and its culture is crucial when it comes to translating. Although a translator could complete the job without having much knowledge about the target language's culture, but that would only make the translation a dry and boring end product. Knowing the culture will definitely help the translator in understanding the source text better, and using appropriate terms and expressions for the target readers.
Translating isn't just about knowing a language and being able to express one's thoughts with it. It's actually a more complicated process of deriving meaning and culture from the source text to the target text. Therefore, know the language, know the theory and know the culture. That's the key to becoming a good translator.