Choosing a Field to Specialize

How To Choose Your Specialty In A Translation Career

As translators, there is always an inevitable moment when we have to take a moment and think: “What is the most demanded translation specialty in them market? Which field to specialize to have more opportunities? “

These questions of cornerstone to choose gain more expertize may arise during your education at the university or during your professional career after you graduate. This happens to most of the translators and interpreters whether you accept or not just like a moment from the path of your life.

It is certain that the importance of specializing in a field is superior to any other factors while trying to increase the volume of the work you do. You may hear opinions but there are two common ones which you can hear from the masters of this profession or even from your tutors at the college.  You take time to specialize in a field or a field will naturally specialize and train you; it is a right fact in the translation career path, as specializing in a specific field of translation will bring in more opportunities.

Perhaps, you might think closing too many contracts with various clients is the way to specialize and we should translate anything that we receive. Most of us may also ask why should we focus on 5% percent of the market when you can receive translations from 100 %? That’s a very common mistake which most of the young translators fail to make. The following paragraphs presents the reasons which shows that specializing in a single field is more profitable than choosing a complicated way.

Let’s think that you want to focus on many branches and you have received a probable project for a medical translation, however, the agency has already contacted to other translators in the market too.  On the condition that such an agency has contacted with people who specialize in medical translations, will they hire you or them?

When it comes to the translation companies that often sends various kinds of texts to the same translator, will they rely on a translator who declares that he can translate 20 different specialty fields with an ultimate quality? Off course not, even though you will be able to translate them.

Shortly, you have to the focus on the needs of your customers and provide what they really need rather being eager to endeavor whatever comes to you. Then you will achieve translation quality.  

The fact is that the more specialty field you have, it is better as long as you can keep with the quality and you have the right trainings along with much experience to back it up.  Also realistically you have to consider the variations of the factors and you have to consider logically what goes beyond the limits of the reality.

Averagely, a translator often offers 1 or 2 specialties and he can complete it with 2 or more fields.  It is clear that you will also know how to translate the other documents from various fields but we consider the facts regarding translation marketing or marketing your translation services and how focus on your skills and specialties. For instance, it may be technical translation and audiovisual translation. Or for example as translation of websites, translation of software and translation of video games can be considered in the field of localization, such fields can be considered as in relation to each other and experience in fields interconnected to each other will be an ultimate asset to be selected.

For instance, if you are noticed by an agency that you have different specialties in 3 different fields matching with their requirements, one of those specialties will be you next assignment.  The good work will result in an agency counting on you several occasions, so it is ideal to keep one or more cards in your sleeves for agencies who count on you. That is to say that keeping more specialties in addition to the one that you perform will be more advantageous. As you will have proven you skills, they will trust you capabilities in the rest of the future works.

What is the reason which makes specialization so important?

Basically there are two significant reasons along with the others, but these two will explain why specialization is vital in the translation.

Quality : The idea is not that complicated; the more information you have about a topic and the more you are experienced, the better the consequences of the work you do will be.  Besides, you will get more reputable by means of your specialty with each project you execute. Finally, you will end up being a proficient translator in a specific field in a shorter time than you would if you were a translator dealing with all the sorts of translations.

Competition: It has always been difficult to catch the rise in the professional world of translation and it is not necessary to make it more complicated. The translation which makes you specialize in a specific field will only be the distinctive factor to differentiate from your competitors in the market. 

All of these sound nice but perhaps it might be too early to specialize if you haven’t even graduated. But there is no time to lose if your concerns are about building a career.

Do you professionalize after graduating?

It is most probable that specialization is important to you because you just graduate from the university (or are ready) and do not know if you go on studying to get a CV that makes you distinctive from the rest. Obviously all students have the same questions concerns and expectations regarding their future career.

Do you really have to specialize when you graduate from the university with a degree that backs you up as a translator? Broadening your studies when you just graduate is the best time you have to gain advantage and develop your career advancing your skill sets.

Most probably, during that rush time, you have economic issues, matters with the family and other professional burdens.

So it is likely that life can be more complicated to find a free lot to train you and perhaps you let it go just like many other things in life… But it  will  never be too late, you always need to be willing to take your time to improve your  professional profile through  which we present our image and market our services.

To specialize you have various alternatives; you can continue with further education by taking a specialty master’s degree, in addition to the training courses from prestigious institutes. Self-training yourself in a specialty will also make a move or getting a mentor (translator) to assist your improvement would be a good idea.

If you do not choose one of these ways to keep up with the progress, you will have more hardships on your way but if you just don’t give and work you will get along well on your career path but it will take time while specializing. Perhaps, you will be offered translations matching your current skills and this sort of translation would be your specialty for a while. Is there a better training than this one? But it is not too common.

How to choose your specialization?

Before enrolling in a master’s degree or in a course, you should ask yourself this question to choose a specialty: «With what kind of texts would I not get tired if I were translating five or six hours a day?» . That should be your first specialty. Although, immediately afterwards you ask yourself: « but will it have exits? Will it be worth it? »

Before deciding whether to enroll in a master’s degree or in a training course, there are several questions to ask just like: “What type of texts are enjoyable to translate for six to ten hours a day?” The answer of this question should be your first specialty. But also you should ask further questions just like if it has pros and cons? Will it be worth doing in the end?  You have to consider that not all specializations offer the same opportunities. Nevertheless, everything depends on the chances on your career path and the types of clients that you deal with.

The common documents you will receive to translate will from the fields at the most demand such as medical translation, legal translation, localization, audiovisual translation, etc. But innovative specialties with growing markets and industries come across your way as well. You can also take the advantage of these if you are creative enough in works like transcreation or post editing etc.  Even though your education is based upon the translation, you will be able to manage projects as this sort of action is requested by the companies more and more due to a tendency of the companies to outsource translators, bilinguals as project managers.

Finally, it is a significant fact that you will like what you will be doing and what you will be dealing with during the next 30-50 years in your career path. Have you ever worked on something that you find amusing? Perhaps, you are already proficient with a specific sort of transcripts in your luggage which enlightens your career path.