Have you ever wondered how to become a specialised translator? Well, I did. As a translator, I have often asked myself how to choose the right specialisation. It’s not always clear how translators find their specialisations. Sometimes it feels like translators are magically sorted into different “houses” based on different specialisations – Legal, Medical, Engineering or Gaming to name a few – as if they were at Hogwarts. But after days of thinking, I realised that no Sorting Hat was going to tell me which area to specialise in. If I wanted to find out, I had to roll up my sleeves and do some research.
That’s why I came up with a simple list of steps to take into consideration when preparing for a career as a specialised translator.
Identify your interests
Look at your background, education, work experience, hobbies, and personal interests. Identify areas in which you have strong knowledge and expertise. Consider the types of texts you enjoy translating and are passionate about, and the ones you never see yourself working with. This can help you identify areas of specialisation that you will enjoy and excel in.
Research market demand
Look at the translation market and identify areas that are in high demand. Consider industries that are growing or that have a large presence in your local area or region. Research job boards, online directories, and industry associations to identify potential clients and job opportunities.
Consider popular specialisations
While some of the most popular specialisations include legal, medical, financial, and marketing, it’s important to keep in mind that translators can specialise in virtually any field or industry, including fashion, cosmetics, tourism, and many more. Niche specialisations may have lower demand but can offer higher rates and less competition.
Network with professionals in your desired field
Attend industry conferences, join professional associations, and network with other translators specialised in your desired field. This can help you learn more about industry trends, meet potential clients, and build relationships with other professionals.
Invest in professional development
Consider taking courses or attending workshops to develop your skills in your desired specialisation. With the help of search engines like Google you can also conduct research on your own, create glossaries, and become familiar with industry-specific terms. This can help you gain the knowledge and skills needed to be competitive in the market.
Once you have identified your area of specialisation, create a marketing plan to promote yourself to potential clients. This may include building a professional website, advertising your services on socials and platforms, and networking with potential clients.
Gain experience: Once you have chosen your specialisation, seek out opportunities to gain experience and build your portfolio. You may need to start with small projects or offer your services for a reduced rate. Consider volunteering your translation services to relevant organisations or non-profits. This can be a great way to test the waters before committing to a sector.
Voilà! These guidelines should be helpful in finding the industries to specialise in. However, it’s important to remember that choosing a specialisation requires effort and patience. Consistency and determination are key to success, and the investment in professional development will eventually pay off.