Specialty Selection
Thread poster: Whisper9999
Whisper9999
Local time: 10:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 12, 2008

One of the other threads had this comment: "the most 'demanded' specialities, as you all know - are IT, juridical and technical". I am a native Spanish speaker and do translations almost every day for my job. My husband has become quite fluent in Spanish and works in the IT industry (as a database administrator).

He loves Spanish and is interested in doing translation (from Spanish to English of course) just because he enjoys it so much. I guess what I want to ask is if there is really a lot of work in Information Technology from a common language direction like Spanish to English? Would this be a field he would likely break into? I'm asking because I haven't noticed a lot of jobs coming across ProZ in Information Techology. (Bt maybe I haven't noticed because that's not my specialty.)

What do you guys think? His actual degree is in Electrical Engineering and he also loves nutritional/fitness/medical topics as well. Should he maybe concentrate on those instead?

In fact, that brings up another question: how do you find out which specialties have the most work for your language combination?


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bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:12
English to French
+ ...
IT jobs source is mostly English, I guess Oct 12, 2008

I have not read any statistics about IT jobs. But it is clear that most of the IT industry is in the U.S., or in English-speaking countries. So English will most often be the source, not the target language.
However, having worked as an IT engineer for a computer manufacturer in France, I remember that we had a lot of trouble finding good IT-specialized translators, from French to English.
So, he may have a valuable experience in Spanish-speaking countries (provided that there are IT companies with translation needs there - I don't know which countries would fit the model, that's what he should study first).
I would not rely much on Proz to find this kind of jobs. From my own experience (I am also fundamentally an IT-professional, and have turned to translation out of personal interest), highly technical jobs are largely overlooked by translation agencies, and the rates are outrageously low.
I would rather recommend looking for translators associations in Spanish-speaking countries, and taking ATA-certification exam (which will assess that he has the writing skills too). Targeting directly IT companies in Spanish-speaking countries might be fruitful, but they may have strict provisioning rules, not adapted to freelancers.
Another little difficulty that I see: Spanish IT vocabulary. If your husband has worked as an IT engineer only in the U.S., he may have some trouble with Spanish IT vocabulary sometimes, while when you have worked as IT engineer in a foreign country, you have naturally been exposed to both, simply because IT vocabulary is originally English. But it's worth trying. In this area, in my opinion, understanding of the matter is essential, and that's what a lot of so-called "IT-specialized translators" are missing. Don't expect the translation agencies to make the difference, though, nor even the end-customers notice. Getting some notoriety in this IT area is really tough.


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Whisper9999
Local time: 10:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Agencies and Technical Material Oct 12, 2008

You made several interesting comments. First of all, I don't think my husband would have problems with the IT vocabulary as he actually reads Spanish IT materials quite often. But I wanted to ask about what you wrote here: "highly technical jobs are largely overlooked by translation agencies, and the rates are outrageously low". So then how would he normally find work? I know you mentioned contacting foreign translation agencies. Are there any other options?

Also, why is there this gap with the agencies with technical translations? I would think that this would actually be quite profitable for the agencies??


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Whisper9999
Local time: 10:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
How Do You Decide? Oct 12, 2008

I was talking to my husband about this and he has many different areas he could probably try to specialize in besides IT: finance, medical/nutrition and science for example because he is very well read in all these subjects. Would one of these be better (for Spanish to English) in terms of getting work? Or is that a question that cannot be answered?

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bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:12
English to French
+ ...
Additional comments Oct 13, 2008

Hi Cristina,
I have not mentionned yet that there are many translators who claim to have IT experience, although they have never worked in this area. Because everyone who has his own computer can pretend to be an IT specialist, there is quite some competition and the rates tend to be low, compared to other specialties.
Of course, translation agencies may understand the difference, but not necessarily be ready to pay much more: they also compete with each other, and don't want to lose customers because their prices are higher.
It is certainly good to have other specialities, although it's probably not as having work experience in the area.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:12
French to English
Seconding what bohy says Oct 13, 2008

I agree entirely with what bohy says. See also:

http://www.proz.com/forum/translation_theory_and_practice/90397-being_picky_in_computer_english.html#727664

(please forgive typos - I think I was in hurry when I wrote that!)


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:12
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
IT work for translation does exist Oct 13, 2008

I know that IT work in my language pairs (French and Spanish to English) does exist because I sometimes get offered it, but because it's not my field, I turn it down. I guess the best way for your husband to secure such work is to contact reliable agencies offering his services as an IT specialist and highlighting his professional IT experience on his CV.
Best wishes,
Jenny


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Whisper9999
Local time: 10:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Another Direction Then? Oct 13, 2008

bohy wrote:

Hi Cristina,
I have not mentionned yet that there are many translators who claim to have IT experience, although they have never worked in this area. Because everyone who has his own computer can pretend to be an IT specialist, there is quite some competition and the rates tend to be low, compared to other specialties.
Of course, translation agencies may understand the difference, but not necessarily be ready to pay much more: they also compete with each other, and don't want to lose customers because their prices are higher.
It is certainly good to have other specialities, although it's probably not as having work experience in the area.



Okay, that explains it. I talked with my husband about it and his comment was, "Well, maybe, I should stick with my degree in Electrical Enginnering". In other words, he was thinking that he would be able to still easily handle english vocabulary relating to electronics, semiconductors, telecommunication and so on.

So I guess I'm asking if your comments apply to other technical fields as well? It doesn't sound like it, but I thought maybe you were saying that all technical fields get competition from translators who think they are technical just because they have a computer?

Oh, and I guess I'd also ask if other technical fields tend to pay a little more than IT?

And thank you everyone for the advice.

[Edited at 2008-10-13 20:52]


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Whisper9999
Local time: 10:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
More Than One Specialty Oct 13, 2008

Jenny Forbes wrote:

I know that IT work in my language pairs (French and Spanish to English) does exist because I sometimes get offered it, but because it's not my field, I turn it down. I guess the best way for your husband to secure such work is to contact reliable agencies offering his services as an IT specialist and highlighting his professional IT experience on his CV.
Best wishes,
Jenny


Thx - it sounds like I should try to recommend that he learn more than one specialty. But I know from his standpoint he want to really focus in on something and not spend too much time on something that will not be as productive or effective as far as jobs and pay. So I am thankful for any advice.


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