Learn from Corinne McKay’s experience to choose translation specialization.
About 11 years ago, I had my first informational interview with a translation company. “What language do you use?” be the first question by the operational manager, one of question I had expected. “And what is your specialization” As the second question Makes me fully scatterbrained. Specialization ?? Do you mean it’s not enough with my ability to speak in other languages? Well, apparently, just only language skills are not enough to make a successful career as a translator, so the following thoughts are to identifying and pursuing translation specializations.
First, tips from veteran translator, Jill Sommer. Choose your favorite area to enjoy the research. You will read a lot in your specialization field, so make sure you feel interested. You also need to make sure that your target specialization generates significant jobs that can pay you enough to have a worthy
business. Lots of people began to focus on their work interests: weaving, making violins, etc. there is no doubt to work in that special area, but maybe it is not enough, or not pay quite well, to keep you busy all the time. If you want to directly work with clients, in almost specialization you can imagine, there are jobs. If you want to work with an agency, you truly need to target one of their focus fields, such as finance, medical, law, pharmacy, IT, patents, etc It is also useful to identify things that you don’t specialize in: areas where you definitely don’t want to translate.
It seems to me that some specialties are increasingly
dominated by employees with significant work experience in the area. For
example in the US, I meet a growing number of lawyers who hate law practice or
cannot find satisfying work and work as translators as an alternative. For
solid medical texts, you truly need a strong medical background to make good
translations. But many translators are self-taught in their specialization
fields: they choose a look-interesting field, start with jobs that aren’t too
technical, and learn over time.
In certain sense, actually, \ you want to do which one makes money. I tell all my translation students that somewhere, there is an intersection between what you want to translate and for what the client will pay a lot of money. If your passion is art, there may be a well-paid niche in art museums translation that rent and lend artworks internationally. If your passion is braiding/weaving, maybe you can work for a textile company that wants to sell their products abroad. On one side, it’s clever to focus on the industry (legal, pharmaceutical) where clients need translation to do business. however, in another sense, it is great to focus on the industry (corporate communication, hospitality) where clients expect really good translations to bring them more business.
Finally, if you are interested in working with clients directly, don’t be afraid of the market niche. As the French to English chemist translator, Karen Tkaczyk, “what you need is enough work for one person!” I have met successful translators who specialize in horses, philately, fisheries and
recycle. And if you want to expand your knowledge in your specialty, MOOC providers such Coursera are a good place to start. You can read about my experience in Coursera’s epidemiology class
Source: Corinne McKay |Thoughtsontranslation