7 Reasons Why a Specialized Translation Career Makes Sense

Becoming a professional translator is all about loving what your job. If you don’t like Japanese, Italian or German (for example), you are likely to burn out and look for an alternative career down the line.

However, one of the more exciting prospects of being a professional translator is the ability to specialize in a certain field. You can choose a number of fields and translation types that will make you unique among your colleagues. Let’s take a look at several examples of careers that you may want to consider:

  • Medical translation in Spanish language
  • Technical document translation in Chinese language
  • Copywriting with translation and localization for German and Scandinavian languages

The list goes on and on without any signs of stopping. This means that the prospect of being “a translator” isn’t as simple or straightforward as many people assume. With that said, I’m about to list several reasons as to why a specialized translation career makes sense both from a personal and a professional standpoint.

  • Clear career path

Seeing that you specialized in civil engineering translation or legal document translation means that you know where your career is headed. You can easily identify seminars, conferences and meet ups that are relevant to your work.

This is a benefit that general translators generally (pun intended) don’t have access to. Having a clear career development path based on your choice of translation niche will save you a lot of time and energy – not to mention the added points and references in your resume.

  • Higher pricing range

Being a specialized translator with access to resources and knowledge unbeknownst to other translators makes you special in the clients’ eyes. You are solely capable of translating that difficult legal document into Greek (for example) like no other translator out there.

You can safely bump up your prices and make much more money than before. It goes without saying that the quality of your work should (and will) reflect the price point you set out to achieve. After all, you are a professional in your niche.

  • Establishing niche authority

Niches owe their name to an Italian renaissance architectural ideology in which separate art guilds had separate spaces to show off their work in public places. This means that every “niche” had a unique work of art displayed for everyone to see. As it turns out, the logic applies to professional translation as perfectly as it did in the 16th century.

Once you establish yourself as a reliable, capable and willing professional in a narrow translation niche – the work will come by itself. Word spreads around very quickly in small industries with only a few stakeholders (who more than likely cooperate on some level). In practice this means that you will always have a source of work in some form or another because just like your clients, you are a niche professional yourself.

  • Shorter turnaround times

Professional translators who specialize in certain areas will most likely run into clients that know exactly what they need. This is one of the most important benefits of opting for a specialized translation career path rather than keeping things general.

Clients that work in small niches usually know what, why and how they want their translation or localization to look like. They are also much easier to work with since you will already be familiar with the industry and the terminology required towards getting the job done successfully. If working in a slightly less stressful environment means something for you as a person, this one should definitely be taken into account.

  • Well-informed audience

Lastly, the audience involved in consuming your translation will more than likely consist of industry professionals as well. For example, translating medical, legal or technical documents into different languages means that they are meant for trained eyes. This means that you can look forward to understanding, well-informed and patient readers that look forward to reading your texts.

It’s also quite possible to receive critical and positive feedback about your work for the betterment of your professional experience as a result. If the audience you write for means something to you as a translator, opting for a specialized career route might just be the best solution for you.

Making sense of it all (Conclusion)

It’s easy to tell someone else that a life choice “makes sense” – after all, your choices will reflect your career moving forward. Translators who are not excited about their jobs anymore or feel that the process is getting stale need to change things up.

Specializing in a certain translation area doesn’t mean that you are shutting yourself off from the rest of the translation community. Taking on regular work on the side is still a viable choice from time to time, however specialized you may be.

4 Questions to Ask Translators before Hiring Them

If you’re in need of a translator for your business, you should probably take the time you need to make sure that you are hiring the best professional for the job. There are many things that you should take into consideration before taking the final decision and actually hiring the person, but if you’re new in this you might not know what you should look out for.

When you are interviewing a potential employee for a translation position, there are some things that you can ask them which will help you decide if they are the right choice for your company. Here are a few questions you should always ask a translator before hiring them.

  1. What is your native language?

While this might be one of the things that many people consider something that is essential for every translator, you won’t easily find translators who are native in more than one language. This happens because many professional translators have learnt their second language either while they were in school or during their university years.

The ones who are native are less likely to seek independent work and usually prefer to join various translation companies as they believe that without a degree, their skills will be put to better use there. In any case, it would still be best for you to work with a bilingual native speaker as they will be able to translate all the native phrases and words in order for them to make perfect sense to the native speakers.

  1. What language do you think in?

While a translator might be perfectly fluent in one language, they will definitely have a mother language in which they will be most likely be thinking in. While that is perfectly normal and understandable, this might not benefit your blog or your creative articles in the long run.

A person who thinks in their mother tongue will find it a lot more difficult to stick to translating native words and phrases accurately and they might make simple mistakes which will be noticeable by the natives. It would be best if your translator thinks in the language they are trying to translate in as they will make the least amount of mistakes.

  1. Have you worked in this industry before?

If your company is running a blog for a particular niche and you wish to find a translator who will be able to keep up with difficult types of texts and technical terms such as medical terms and vocabulary, you should probably not forget to check if your potential employee has worked in this field before.

Even though the translator might be an experienced one, you should make sure that they have experience in your particular field as this will not only help them produce good quality translations but they will also be able to get the job done a lot quicker and more efficiently.

  1. Would you be able to start working right away?

This is a question that can truly help you see in a translator is actually experienced and knows what he’s doing. The only answer you should be expecting at this point is for them to want to take a look at the proposed text and let you know.

A translator who is experienced will know that there are quite a few things to take into consideration before accepting a job, like the complexity of the text and the amount of technical terms in it. You would be better off working with a person who knows what they should look into before accepting a job.

Finding the right professional for your business

Hiring a translator can be difficult if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. If your business is still new and you’re still experimenting with promoting your content to other markets abroad, you won’t have to be looking for strict professionals and you could definitely start working with a translator with a lower rate who probably has less experience.

The more expanded your business is and the more difficult the niche, you will have to keep in mind that working with a professional translator will not only help you make the content that you translate more appealing to the local markets, but you will also be able to keep your content looking professional, free of simple mistakes and as appealing to your customers as possible. The questions mentioned in this article will help you get a better sense of the person you are intending to hire and help you make that final decision.

Top Tips to Master Simultaneous Interpreting

Simultaneous interpreting – a.k.a. the art of orally translating at the same time as someone is speaking. Crucial at conferences and courtrooms, this is likely the most difficult translation skill to master.

Typical translators have a text in front of them and use countless dictionaries and references to provide an accurate text. Simultaneous interpreters, on the other hand, need to listen and translate orally in the next second.

If you want to perfect your simultaneous interpreting skills, here are some tips that might be able to help you out.

  1. Anticipate

Translators aren’t exactly mind readers – but sadly, interpreters have to be. An interpreter has to listen and interpret what the other person is saying – and in this case, the ability to anticipate may come very much in handy.

No one can anticipate right off the bat – but with time, you will get much better at it. Plus, it’s a skill that you can hone even when you are outside of work. Whenever someone is speaking, listen closely to what they are saying – and see if you can anticipate what they are going to say next.

If you are already familiar with the speaker, this can get much easier – but it also depends on how prepared you are on the topic. Before entering a conference or a courtroom, make sure you familiarize yourself with what’s going to be tackled there.

  1. Keep a Sharp Brain

Interpreters don’t have the luxury of zoning off, because if they miss just a single word, they risk not knowing how to interpret the whole thing. Pay close attention to what people are saying and exercise your memory – along with your ability to multitask.

For example, try listening to a speech while you are working on another task – even something as simple as creating your grocery list. Once that is done with, check how much you can remember. It may not be perfect at first, but with time, you will be able to exercise your brain.

  1. Control Your Voice

When you are interpreting, it is crucial that you control the volume of your voice. For instance, if it’s too low, then the people won’t be able to hear you. On the other hand, if it’s too loud, then the original speaker might be overshadowed.

You may be interpreting, but people also need to hear the speaker as well. This way, they will know from their tone whether the speaker is agitated, relaxed, or intense – which can be very important while delivering a speech.

Use a manner of speaking that makes you comfortable – just as long as it’s not too loud or too low. In most cases, practice makes perfect, so it might not hurt to randomly interpret a foreign movie scene every now and again.

  1. Keep Calm

This may be a given, but we can’t repeat this enough times: no matter what the speaker may be saying, you should keep your calm. They may start shouting, speaking too fast, or talking about something that you do not agree with; however, you must remember that your job is to interpret, not to judge.

Stay focused and try to provide a translation that is as accurate as possible. You don’t have to translate it word by word; you just have to deliver the main message, hanging on to the important details.

Still, you might not want to skip whole sentences, just because you don’t feel they are really that important. The speaker added it into the speech for a reason, so cutting off important parts might be seen as a sign of disrespect – and may even cause the people to misinterpret their message.

If the speaker goes on a tangent, don’t let it frustrate you or interrupt your flow. You’ll just be falling behind for no reason, in a circumstance which you could normally easily control.

  1. Understand the Culture

Sure, it’s important to understand the language – but when it comes to interpreting, understanding the culture is just as important. Each culture has its own particular phrases which only their people would understand – so make sure that you are prepared for what’s to come.

If you are studying to become an interpreter, the chances are that you are already interested in language and culture – so this might actually be a fun challenge for you. Look up all the colloquial phrases before your interpreting session, and make sure that your interpretation is as accurate as possible.

Final Thoughts

Being an interpreter can be a lot of work – but at the same time, it is also something that will keep your brain active. It won’t be easy to master the skills; however, with time, you should be able to do it flawlessly. You’ll need a decent amount of practice and a sharp mind – but with this, you’ll be able to deliver the perfect interpretation.