In general, experienced translators agree that it is very important from the very beginning of their careers to strive to define their area of specialization and then follow it faithfully, without, however, giving up the chance to bring variety to the work.
What are the recommendations for choosing your own specialization? Where to start and what to consider?
Analyze the current state of the translation market and find out the needs of customers today.
Decide on areas that you are particularly interested in and enjoy working with, and then educate market participants about your knowledge and services.
There is no single correct answer. There are two basic and very different approaches that complement each other. At first, you first need to find out the trends in the market. That is, you should find out which areas of translation are more profitable now, which companies are investing heavily in countries where your working languages are spoken. In other words, you need to collect data. How? This is the most difficult thing, because we, linguists, are usually not particularly interested in economics and market trends, but in vain!
It will not be superfluous to note that now the developing areas where translation services are actively required are online sales, mobile and online applications, video games, multilingual social networks, localization in various fields.
The first thing that comes to mind when people think about the profession of a translator is legal, financial, medical and technical translation, which is always young in demand, as well as the long-known translation of fiction. But now there are many other topics that turn out to be more profitable in practice. For example, new technologies. They open doors of opportunities that just didn’t exist 5 years ago, so don’t expect this topic to be taught at university in the coming years.
You need to look around, explore new areas, talk to people, learn from more experienced professionals. Maybe someone you know works for a marketing agency? Ask him about the main clients of the company – it will give you food for thought and new ideas.
The second method is based on the fact that you know what you want and what you like.
Have you ever noticed how few people know exactly what they like? Not everyone can decide on their tastes and preferences. If you are not one of them, you are in luck, and half the battle is already done. In addition, if you have previously worked in any area not related to languages, this experience can also serve as a starting point (for example, if you were a notary assistant in the past, jurisprudence as a subject is, as they say, what the doctor prescribed!).
When you decide on a specialization, try to enter the market. Even if your topic is quite specific, there should still be chances, opportunities. After all, the narrower the scope of the subject matter, the fewer specialists offer such translation services.
Why not become a specialist in translating, say, gluten-free or vegetarian diets if healthy food is your strong point? Explore deeper, compile glossaries, gain experience in translation (even, say, translating texts “purely for yourself”), and then conduct your market research on the subject of companies working in this area. Some of them may cooperate with foreign partners, supply their goods abroad, and then, perhaps, they will need your working languages. So what’s the answer? How to choose your area of specialization?
Do your homework – gather information.
Find out which market sectors are most profitable in Russia, as well as which are the most popular languages you can speak.
Imagine that you have been working with this topic for 10 years – how does it feel? If good – you are on the right track, if not – keep looking.
Identify your strengths that set you apart from the crowd. Choose two or three areas as this will make it easier to promote your services.
Even a hobby can sometimes be turned into a subject for translation. Then you will be happy to work for days!
Don’t get hung up. Follow the state of the market, what is happening in the world. Opportunities come to those who seek them.
Finally, learn from your peers. Read blogs, participate in forums, chat with experienced translators and find out what inspired them as they searched for their niche.