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Is a specialization necessary to work as a translator?
Thread poster: mariacris
mariacris
Spanish to French
Jul 12, 2008

Hello everybody

I´m studying Modern Languages and I hope to end my carreer in two semesters. Definitly, languages are my passion. But, there is a question that rounds in my mind, if I want to work as a translator, I have to get an specialization in this field?, or I could take courses of both languages "english and french" for improving my performance and rather get an specialization in another issue such as Business.

Thanks in advance for your advices.

Cheers

Maria

[Objet modifié par l'équipe ou un modérateur 2008-07-12 07:05]

[Objet modifié par l'équipe ou un modérateur 2008-07-12 07:05]


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aricb
Local time: 19:37
French to English
+ ...
Three kinds of specialization are required Jul 14, 2008

First, you need good skills in all of the languages you want to work with. You should only translate into languages that you speak at a native (or native-like) level. You should only translate from languages that you understand very well. Presumably, you are already doing very well with this kind of specialization.

Second, you need to know a thing or two about the theory and practice of translation: terms of art, textual analysis, dealing with the anisomorphism of language and culture (in other words, the fact that very few--if any--concepts are 100% equivalent from language to language or culture to culture)... the list goes on and on. The point is that translation involves more than bilingualism; translators must also know something about translation itself.

Third, you need to be familiar with one or more other fields, such as business, as you mentioned. Every field has its own terminology, concepts, and writing style. To understand a technical document, you need to understand the field from which it comes. To make a natural-sounding translation, you need to be able to write like someone who works in that field. From a practical perspective, if you can restrict your translation activities to a small handful of fields that you understand very well, you will be able to work faster (which means a higher pay rate per hour) and you will be more likely to produce high quality work.

The amount of effort required to become a translator may seem daunting, but if it allows you to pursue your passion, hopefully it is well worth it. Good luck!


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Pierret Adrien  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:37
Chinese to French
+ ...
Nothing that hard :) Jul 16, 2008

Well, in one word you should be able to understand the culture of the target language, and how to explain a concept that maybe does not exist in it without changing (too much) the base material.
Well, IMO that's obvious enough. Anyone should kind of get it way before starting a first Translation class.


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mariacris
Spanish to French
TOPIC STARTER
Then for being translation isn´t necessary a specialization Jul 16, 2008

Acording with your answers I´d say that it´s more important the experience and knowledge that I can have about the culture of the target language and the topic to translate.

Another thing I can´t understand the abbreviation IMO. Could you explain me? Thanks


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Aldana Gómez Ríos  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 03:37
Spanish to English
+ ...
- Jul 16, 2008

mariacris:

I agree with aricb


First, you need good skills in all of the languages you want to work with. You should only translate into languages that you speak at a native (or native-like) level. You should only translate from languages that you understand very well. Presumably, you are already doing very well with this kind of specialization.



I think that is also a very important thing to take into consideration.

Also, IMO stands for "In My Opinion"


CheerZ,
Aldana


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Anne Diamantidis  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:37
German to French
+ ...
Specialization vs. linguistics Jul 16, 2008

Hi Mariacris,

IMO stands for "In My Opinion".
Well from what I've seen, learned, observed and experienced, you need to be specialized if you work on a full market. I mean here language pairs like English>French, English>Spanish, etc... More generally, I'd say that if your working languages are "common" ones, like English, German, French, Spanish, etc. you'll have to be specialized in order to be different and more visible, because these are languages where there's the most concurrence. If you work in an "exotic" language that is rarer among translators, then the speciaization need is weaker.
From my experience, translators in our language pairs have to be specialized if they really want to live from translation. An English>Spanish translator with no particular specialization, who works in general fields, is IMO not 100% credible for clients who seek particular profiles to suit their particular needs.

HTH (Hope that helps)!

Regards,
Anne

[Modifié le 2008-07-16 20:01]


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mariacris
Spanish to French
TOPIC STARTER
Much more clear Jul 17, 2008

That is I had in doubt. But, it´s true that you can get good job as translator with a deep knowledge of one or two specific topics?

Thanks


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Anne Diamantidis  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:37
German to French
+ ...
Absolutely Jul 17, 2008

mariacris wrote:
But, it´s true that you can get good job as translator with a deep knowledge of one or two specific topics?


Absolutely...you can get even a great job if you're a translator with a top knowledge in a specific field, because you'll have something different from the others, and you'll be able to sell yourself better...and more expensively.

CheerZ,
Anne


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