Are you a newcomer translator, without a great experience? Competition can be high, and specialization will help you to stand out from the crowd. However, this is not the only reason. Certain subject matters requires a specialized expert to be able to perform a good translation. Someone, who does not have experience in a particular medical field, simply cannot translate highly specialized medical journal. Someone who doesn’t know what a blowtorch is cannot translate blowtorch operations manual.
Some people become freelance translators while pursuing a different career and it is easy for them to choose specialization. But how to choose a specialization, if you have just graduated or have recently started your freelance translation program without previous experience?
Here are few ideas:
Base on your previous experience. Many translators treat the profession as a second career. There are lawyers and doctors, who are tired of their daily tasks, and became translators in legal and medical fields. Many subjects for the translation requires of knowledge and experience that only people who have worked in this field may have, such as translation of highly specialized medical research articles and chemical documentation. Technical translator who knows the material can perform technical translation.
Select the field that you like to read and study about. Make sure you find it interesting. If you are not appealed to the subject, you are unlikely to become a real expert in it.
Get rid of the fields that you do not need specialization, which you are not interested in learning more and don’t feel competent while translating.
Choose a profitable field. This paragraph does not exclude the other, but it is worthy of consideration. If you specialize in a field where there is not much need in translation into your language, or there is not much money to pay for the translation, it will not be profitable for you. It is wise to focus on the field in which customers need to translate the texts, due to do business with other countries and cultures. It’s also reasonably to focus on the field (corporate communications, hospitality, tourism), where customers are hoping that a good translation will bring them more profits.
Think about your interests and hobbies. You are usually deeply involved in it. For example, someone can translate texts about yoga quite good, as he does it and prefers to read about it.
When you have chosen specialization, you can improve your skills in the field by taking courses or online classes. You can also attend seminars and read as much as possible about it. Try to find a more experienced interpreter in this field, who can teach you and proofread your early works.