You may not need to have a degree in Linguistics to be a translator, but it helps. Either consciously or unconsciously, when you are translating, you are making decisions relating to grammar, semantics, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, etc.
In other words, you are answering questions such as these: are all words and sentences put together correctly?, does the text flow as it should?, is it preserving the meaning of the original?, are the terms chosen the right ones for the context?, does it have the same style as the original and the right style for its purpose?… and so on.
My personal interest in language and my degree in Linguistics have provided me with the necessary background and theoretical knowledge to understand everything that is required for a translation to be a correct, accurate and, ultimately, a good translation.
In practice, these are some of the things I do when translating:
First of all, I take every job seriously and avoid rushing it, no matter how big or how small it is.
I use relevant glossaries to ensure consistency and a correct use of terminology.
Using the latest translation software helps me check for typos or other potential errors and correct them before a job is delivered.
To ensure accuracy and appropriate language use, I am constantly using different monolingual and bilingual dictionaries and other language reference sources, such as style guides.
To ensure everything looks and sounds as it should, I go back to and re-read the original text and its translation at a later stage.
When possible (and not confidential), I ask someone else to read the text, for a second opinion, to ensure it flows well and sounds natural.
I make the most of online resources for continuous self-development, by reading and listening to experts and key figures in different areas of expertise.
I welcome feedback and I am always learning and on a constant quest for perfection.