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Waga specjalizacji w tlumaczeniach
Thread poster: Jacek Krankowski
Jacek Krankowski  Identity Verified
English to Polish
+ ...
Jan 27, 2003

Jako lekture towarzyszaca moim tyradom w watku o tym \"Czym sa a czym nie sa pytania KudoZ\" pozwalam sobie zamiescic co nastepuje, z gory przepraszajac wszystkich zainteresowanych za kalanie ojczystego gniazda obca mowa. Alisci autor, Alex Eames, jest zwiazany z Polska i w dodatku jest czlonkiem naszej sekcji.

Why Is Specialisation So Helpful?


By Alex Eames

Simple. It helps you to stand out from the crowd of other translators competing in your language combination.

The marketing term for this is differentiation. What makes you different (differentiates you) from all the

other translators out there? (...)

You need a Unique Selling Point (USP) which makes you more attractive to the kind of

clients you are trying to reach.

Examples of possible USPs for translators...

* better quality

* faster

* cheaper (I hesitate to mention this one)

* more trustworthy/reliable

* enjoyable to deal with

* local (can visit to discuss projects)

* expert in specific field(s)

Client\'s Angle


Look at it from the client\'s angle. Why would I want to choose

YOU for my translation project? You\'re an expert in the subject

I want translated? Fantastic - you\'ll do a great job!

Having specialist subject areas makes the client\'s decision

easier. It works the same whether it\'s an agency or a direct


Generalist or Specialist?


If you\'ve got heart trouble, you want a heart specialist.

If you\'re being prosecuted you want a defence lawyer.

If you\'ve got a legal document to translate, you want a

translator who will do it right.

You can look for a generalist and hope for the best, or you can

seek someone with the right expertise for the job.

Top Earning Translators Specialise


Most top earning translators are specialists in a particular

field, or a small number of fields. It is perfectly legitimate to

have 2 or 3 specialist areas. After all, I am well-read or

qualified in several areas...

* Analytical Chemistry (Masters degree and industrial experience)

* Business (Owned and run businesses for 19 years)

* Finance (Extremely interested in financial markets ~10 years)

* Photography (A long-term hobby ~10 years)

...perhaps even as many as 5. But if you claim to have very many

specialist subjects, your credibility will suffer unless you can

back it all up with plentiful experience. It\'s probably better to

just choose your best 3 or 4. After all, you can\'t be a

specialist at everything, or you become a generalist.

If you try to be all things to all people, you end up being

nothing to nobody.

Specialisation Does Not Mean You Can\'t Do General Work


Having said all that, you are still free to take on general work

if you are not busy working in your specialist area(s). There is

nothing to stop you from accepting other assignments to fill your


After all...

* a heart surgeon can probably diagnose a cold

* a defence lawyer can probably draw up a will

* a legal translator can probably translate a personal letter

...but they may choose not to, once they reach the point where

they have enough of the work they specialise in. Why?...

Specialisation Usually Attracts a Premium Rate


That got your attention didn\'t it?

If you position yourself in a specialist area, there will be

clients who are willing to pay top-dollar to get your expertise.

Did you notice I said already that...

\"Most top earning translators are

specialists in a particular field\"

...well this is why. If you have or can develop expertise in a

subject area that is in demand, you can earn better rates. The

ideal situation is to focus on an in-demand subject that you

really like. Then, the more work you get in that subject, the

less of the general stuff you will have to do. Sounds very

simple, but it takes time to build up your business in this way.

Specialisation is not a free lunch, it\'s a way to afford a more

expensive lunch.

Agency Databases, Online Directories, Your Web Site


Think of a translation agency with a database of 1,000

translators. The project manager has a project that requires

French to English translation of a company report.

There might be 50 Fre-Eng translators registered in their

database. Of those 50, perhaps 25 will mention something

including financial or commercial texts. [After all, that\'s where

a lot of the money is right?] Of those 25, probably 1 or 2 will

specifically mention company reports.

See, if you are the person who wrote down company reports and

financial specialist subject, you have just got yourself noticed

and are very close to being offered a project.

The same principles apply whether it\'s a translation

agency\'s database, an online directory, or your own web site.

What I\'m trying to get across here is that if you focus on a few

key areas, you increase your chances of being noticed. Many

people assume incorrectly that the opposite is true.

The next article in this series will discuss developing

specialist subjects.


Alex Eames is the founder of,

editor of tranfree and author of the eBook...

How to Earn $80,000+ Per Year as a Freelance Translator

Subscribe FREE to tranfree - the ezine for 30,000+ translators...

email... or visit


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