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Specialisation: 5 reasons why it’s key

We all know translation is an all-encompassing activity. Why? Well, because everything can be translated. And you can translate just about any topic. So specialisation is key!

Photo by Mikayla Mallek on Unsplash


True. In university, we take courses on language and linguistics. We learn some techniques and practice quite a bit. We do some general translation and specialised translation as well.

However, we have to wonder, can universities really train specialised translators?

Considering it takes 3-5 years to earn a degree, it’s safe to assume you’ll learn the basics, but real specialisation will be harder to get.

So, specialising it’s something we need to do after earning a degree. Yes, it means investing even more time and effort, but here are 5 good reasons to do it:

Better product

Studying and knowing the subject matter you’re dealing with will allow you to offer a better product to your clients. Simply because you’ll know what you’re doing!

Less competition

Specialisation will allow you to lift yourself above that massive pool of ‘generalist’ translators competing for ever decreasing fees. If you specialise, there a lot less competition. Plus, you start finding clients who actually appreciate the know-how you bring to the table.

Higher fees

The more specialised you become, the easier it’ll be for you to charge higher fees, in line with your level of professionalism. Again, because you won’t find 3,000 translators competing on price for the same job.

Working faster

Specialising in a subject matter implies knowing the ideas, vocabulary, tone as well as style of the texts… All this results in a massive reduction of the time you spend translating. You don’t have to look up every word. You don’t need so much extra information to understand the topic.

(In my particular case, I was able to double my productivity!)

More security

Nothing beats the feeling of finishing a project and sending it over to the client. However, nothing is worse than doubting whether or not it’ll be OK. We’ve all been there, especially in the beginning, lacking experience and feeling insecure. But, when you specialise, that feeling becomes less and less common!

+ Bonus: more happiness

I don’t know if everyone will feel the same, but for me translating is a pleasure. That being said, the pleasure levels will incredibly vary depending on the topic. For instance, the level might very well hit 0 for me if confronted with a legal document. So, being specialised also means you’re always (or almost always) doing what you like!

What’s my advice then?

Specialise in an area you enjoy. Because specialising will no doubt require time and energy. However, if you like the topic, it won’t become a burden. On the contrary, you’ll enjoy every minute of it!

#art #translation #xl8 #ucreatewetranslate

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