To specialize or not to specialize? That is the question!
Seriously, I think that is the question that we more often ask ourselves as translators. I’ve heard from both sides: you should specialize because that will help you to narrow down your niche. You shouldn’t specialize because a translator can translate anything from any field.
Does it happen to you that when you are filling out information for an online profile or for applying to a project with a new client, you are always asked to include your specializations? It happens to me all the time!
Usually, I write down as specializations the types of translations I get to work on more often: legal, medical, business, and technical, which by the way, are the top 5 specializations among translators. But I don’t translate just for those fields. I also translate for the IT and gaming ones, I subtitle, I do MTPE, etc.
So, does it really help to be specialized or not? It definitely can help to narrow down your niche and find clients more easily. Also, if you only translate in certain fields of specialization, you’ll become an expert on them; which will also help you get more clients in those fields.
But does that mean that should only accept projects that meet your specializations? Good question, right? It really depends on you. If you’d like to venture into unknown waters, then, by all means, work on projects that don’t fit your specializations. But if you feel more comfortable translating only within your specializations, it is ok too.
I think specializations are more the fields in which you have more experience because most of the projects you work on fall into those categories. Here in Guatemala, you can’t specialize in something as a translator. You graduate as a Legal Sworn Translator, so “legal” is your first specialization. The rest, you learn by experience. Probably, this is different in other countries, where the career of translation has more options.
I mentioned my “specializations” but honestly, I translate almost anything that comes my way and I feel confident I can do it. If it is a document that is too technical or requires a highly specialized vocabulary, I definitely pass. Accepting different projects is what landed me a Content Editor job, when I didn’t even know I could be one. I was trained, and that training taught me so many things… it would have been a great loss to let it pass because it didn’t fall under what I thought my specializations were.
Anyway, when it comes to specializations, it is up to you. There are numerous ways to study a specialization through webinars, online courses, and others. Do what makes you feel more comfortable as a translator. Do what makes you happy!
Thank you again to Day Translations for sponsoring this blog post. Check out more about them and their services here: https://daytranslations.com/
Until the next time, take care and stay safe!