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.

5 Tips for Project Price Negotiation

Negotiating the price range for your work as a writer or a translator comes down to several factors. It’s very difficult to determine what the perfectly reasonable price point is for particular projects.

However, holding onto several ground rules of price negotiation will help you determine the perfect middle ground between your expectations and your client’s resources. Without further ado, I’d like to talk about several tips and pointers for project price negotiation and how you can use them to your benefit as a professional writer.

  1. Set personal expectations

The truth is that no two clients are alike in any regard. Some people have small firms and very limited budgets but high amount of knowledge about the industry. Others might be prepared to pay a fortune for a good copy but don’t have the first clue about what they really need.

This means that you need to manage your expectations per-project basis. Don’t compare clients or projects with what you face today. Create an internal system that works for you personally and stick to it.

Prepare for every client meeting by doing some basic research about them and their recent practices and reviews. This will give you ample ammunition for price negotiation once you sit down and talk.

  1. Ask casual industry questions

It’s often a good idea to break the proverbial ice by chatting about the industry you both work in. Don’t be too direct or pushy but make sure to get a good pulse on how knowledgeable your client really is.

If they are popular and trustworthy in their niche you should be careful not to overestimate your abilities and charge more than you should. However, if they only have a vague idea of what content writing is, you can present yourself as a fair professional with a price point that suits their needs accordingly. It all depends on the scope and complexity of the task at hand, which in turn depends on the expertise of your client and the scope of their brief.

  1. Don’t oversell or undersell

Self-reflection and personal development plays a huge role in the success of a writer. Just like any other predominantly freelance profession, writers need to know how to sell their knowledge to the clients.

Your inner salesperson will have a field day with every client that comes your way since the final price will never turn out the way you expect. Some clients will be ready to pay more while others will do whatever they can to lower your price point to absurdity. Set a personal lower barrier which you are uncomfortable with crossing and refuse anything less than that.

It’s sometimes better to lose a client than to bury yourself with unappreciated work with very little payoff. The same rule applies for overselling your abilities and delivering a half-baked final draft that doesn’t reflect your initial promises. Find the golden middle and stick to it as you develop your writing career.

  1. Talk about the budget – openly

Writers are introverts with polite and calm behavior as a result of their choice of work. However, as difficult as it may seem, your client’s exact budget is an important factor to discuss.

You should talk about the budget your client has allocated for your writing from the get-go before working out the details of your content. There is no point in discussing further cooperation if your client isn’t willing to pay for the work they are asking you to do.

After all, your livelihood and monthly revenue directly relates to how much you make from each writing project. Be polite and professional but ask about the budget before you start putting in the hours.

  1. Per hour VS per project

The general consensus of whether you should charge per hour or per project often falls on the latter choice. However, it all depends on how much work there really is when it comes to a specific project.

Copywriting projects tend to take less time but make far more money for your clients than article pieces would. In contrast, the very same articles take far more time to write but should be charged for per hour or per word due to their complexity.

If you sense that there are a lot of hours needed to finish a project properly you can charge your client per hour. Otherwise, stick to per project pricing model and set clear budgets from the get go.

Every word matters (Conclusion)

It can be easy to devalue your own work when it comes to writing, design or other creative niches. However, don’t lose sight of your expertise, professional development and personal dedication to the industry. Every project you finish effectively raises your ability to charge more for your work. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you.

3 Ways to Raise the Productivity of Your Translator

When you’re running a business, it is important that everybody on your team is happy with their jobs and is as productive as possible. This will now only help your company move forward and be a lot more successful in its field but you will also be able to develop and sustain good a good relationship between you and your staff.

The number one thing that is important when working with a translator is the speed in which they translate. While many might consider that they are translating at a fast and steady pace, this might not be enough for your company. Before deciding that this person isn’t the right one for the job, here are some ways which will help you raise their productivity and give them a chance at working the way you wish.

  1. Provide them with training on translation memory tools

One of the problems that many translators come across is that they aren’t very keen on using the various translation memory tools that are available on the market. While this is understandable if the person is still new to this industry, it can really decrease their productivity and make you feel like they are not doing enough.

The best thing you can do about this situation, is to either have an older and more experienced member of your translation team show the newer employees how to work these tools and help them understand how they can make the job a lot easier. Not only will this increase their productivity, but they will also enjoy their work more as it will become a lot less stressful and tiring for them.

  1. Don’t give them tight deadlines

One of the things that possibly not many new translators know is that this field of work is based on deadlines. No matter who you work with, they will always be requesting to get their files back in a very short amount of time and they can’t understand why their employees aren’t always catching up with their requests. Translations should be easy to do, right?

Well, the truth here is that not everything can be easy to translate. If you’re giving someone a text on a niche which involves a lot of technical terms it is only understandable that they will need some more time in order to make sure that they translated every term correctly. The best thing you can do in this situation is to not be irrational when setting deadlines for your translators. Give them the time they need to do a good job and you are bound to help them increase their productivity and the quality of their work.

  1. Pay them fairly

The translation business can be tough for translators and the rates in many cases can be quite low for the amount of work a person is doing. Most people probably think that being a translator doesn’t require any particular skills or training but in reality there are quite a few things a translator needs to learn before being able to do their job correctly and successfully.

As a result, most of the times translators tend to get paid less for the work that they do. If you wish to keep your translator motivated and increase their productivity, the best thing you can do is offer them a good rate for the work that they do and allow them to know that their work is appreciated.

Increasing a translator’s productivity can be easy

If you are happy with the work your translator delivers but you are a bit unhappy about the amount of time they take to complete it, you might need to help them increase their productivity in a few simple ways. It is always very beneficial for the both of you to incorporate tools and appropriate training in their everyday working environment in order to help them save time and develop their translating skills even further.

While translators can work very fast on some tasks, that is not always the case and it solely depends on the difficulty of the text. There will be times when your translator will work very quickly and efficiently and other times when they will not be able to meet the deadlines that you set for them. A long as you pay them well and you set different deadlines per different task, you will be able to help them increase their productivity and want to produce better quality work in order to keep everything flowing smoothly.