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when is one considered a specialist?
Thread poster: Ben Fields

Ben Fields  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:47
Italian to English
+ ...
Apr 9, 2010

If I bought a large medical dictionary could I bid on jobs that specify a medical specialization? Is it a certain number of jobs that gives one the specialist qualification? I want to specialize in the medical field in the Italian to English language pair. When and how does one acheive this?

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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 23:47
Member
Spanish
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Education + Experience Apr 9, 2010

If I bought a large medical dictionary could I bid on jobs that specify a medical specialization?

In my humble opinion, no. You could still do it but that doesn't mean that you'll do a great job, at least not as good. A specialization is about expertise. Having the correct dictionaries and glossaries helps a lot but that's just a plus. Studies (like a certification or even an online course in the area) or some kind of in-house training can make you a specialist.

The great thing about specializing is that you can make more money. Not only it will take you less time to do your translations because you already know the subject, also you can charge more for your expertise. But you have to offer the extra value, you have to posses that expertize.


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Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 01:47
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
Wiki article on "Strategies - specializing" Apr 9, 2010

Please consider contributing to a new wiki article called: "Strategies - specializing" posted here and announced here.

Regards,
Enrique


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:47
German to Spanish
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when is one considered a specialist? Apr 9, 2010

Ben Fields wrote:

If I bought a large medical dictionary could I bid on jobs that specify a medical specialization? Is it a certain number of jobs that gives one the specialist qualification? I want to specialize in the medical field in the Italian to English language pair. When and how does one acheive this?


When, apart from beeing an experienced translator, you have a medical degree or equivalent experience.

[Editado a las 2010-04-09 20:56 GMT]


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:47
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
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Could you speak Japanese if you had a dictionary? Apr 9, 2010

I guess not.
A specialist is somebody who's forgotten more than most people will ever know.
And sometimes even a specialist will look into a dictionary, or contact his friends or a colleague to ask about a specific term or strange phrase...

... With only a dictionary and no clues about jargon, terminology, what is used in the field you will get very awkward translations at best and you will potentially be responsible for people's deaths if you attempt Medical translations...

Of course you can still bid on medical jobs, but would you still be able to sleep at night knowing you send out a translation that you're not quite sure off and which contains some 'educated' guesses on your part...?

But don't let me stop you!

Ed


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:47
English to German
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Expertise vs. vocabulary Apr 9, 2010

Sure, you can look up technical terms in a dictionary and replace one fancy term with another without knowing what they actually mean. That's how MT works. If you are lucky, the term has only one equivalent in your language instead of five different ones, depending on the medical procedure. Which is the point precisely: A dictionary will never help you to understand the processes and procedures that you are supposed to describe in detail.

I don't touch medical texts. I am way to afraid to hurt somebody because I wouldn't know what I am talking about, even if I happened to choose the correct terminology.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:47
English to German
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One more Apr 9, 2010

Ben Fields wrote:
Is it a certain number of jobs that gives one the specialist qualification?


You certainly don't turn into a specialist by a given number of jobs. The true specialists usually hold a degree in their field, and / or have worked in a particular profession for a long time. They simply know what they are talking about. True specialists are the ones who you can wake up in the middle of the night and from deep sleep, and they will be able to tell you how a particular machine works, can recite law and regulations, explain your Sjögren syndrome or will give you a tour through post-Keynesian economics, depending on their field.


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 00:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Who's kidding who? Apr 10, 2010

Ben Fields wrote (with my emphasis):

... I want to specialize (NB: future tense) in the medical field in the Italian to English language pair. When and how does one acheive this?


If we are to believe your profile http://www.proz.com/translator/1098341 :

Specializes in:
Law (general) Law: Patents, Trademarks, Copyright
Finance (general) Medical (general)
Biology (-tech,-chem,micro-)

Also works in:
Geography Law: Contract(s)
Advertising / Public Relations Medical: Instruments
Medical: Health Care Medical: Pharmaceuticals
Medical: Dentistry Medical: Cardiology

Government / Politics Cosmetics, Beauty
Patents Linguistics
Chemistry; Chem Sci/Eng Certificates, Diplomas, Licenses, CVs
Business/Commerce (general) Botany

Hmmmm.... Mental note to personal memory: don't get treated by anyone dependent on ita-eng(us).

MediaMatrix




[Edited at 2010-04-10 00:36 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Step 1 is done, now for step 2 Apr 10, 2010

Ben Fields wrote:
If I bought a large medical dictionary, could I bid on jobs that specify a medical specialization?


Yes, but you also need to complete step 2. Buying the dictionary was step 1.

Step 2 is to find an existing translator in your language pair who is medical specialist translator and ask him/her to edit all your translations before sending it to the client.

There is a step 3, but I can't remember what it was...


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:47
English to German
+ ...
Step 2 Apr 10, 2010

Samuel Murray wrote:

Ben Fields wrote:
If I bought a large medical dictionary, could I bid on jobs that specify a medical specialization?


Yes, but you also need to complete step 2. Buying the dictionary was step 1.

Step 2 is to find an existing translator in your language pair who is medical specialist translator and ask him/her to edit all your translations before sending it to the client.

There is a step 3, but I can't remember what it was...


Wouldn't step 2 rather consist of taking up serious studies?

After all the studies (and I am not talking about merely reading Wikipedia entries),

Step 3 finally would consist of hiring a specialist translator to check if the homework has been done well.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:47
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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I'd consider you to be a specialist when... Apr 10, 2010

...you have translated 1 million words in that area, i.e. the equivalent of 2 years of successful full-time work in a subject. Of course, personal interest, education, and training in the matter at hand also helps.

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Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
France
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
If it was that easy... Apr 10, 2010

...anyone could earn pots of money in the "premium" specialist fields!

How would you feel yourself if you'd spent 20 years working in a field, acquiring real hands-on knowledge, only to see someone advertising himself as a "specialist" in competition with you, just because he's bought a big fat dictionary?

As for the dangers of not having hands-on experience in a field where lives might be at risk... ?!

I was "electrician's mate" to my dad from the age of 5 (I even had a special green hat!), and have rewired a house here in France after making sense of the French specifications, but I still don't list electricity among my translating fields (tempting though...).

You probably already have very valuable expertise that you're not exploiting:
- What do others come to you to ask about?
- What - as Nicole mentions as a test - is the thing you could explain in your sleep?
- What is that one thing, or odd combination, that no-one else seems to know much about, your boy-scout badge subject, the one you'd be prepared to stick your neck out for?

It might be eccentric, but shine a spotlight on it - someone, somewhere probably needs just that!


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:47
English to German
+ ...
That's the scary part. Apr 10, 2010

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

...you have translated 1 million words in that area, i.e. the equivalent of 2 years of successful full-time work in a subject. Of course, personal interest, education, and training in the matter at hand also helps.


If you can be considered a specialist AFTER 1 million words, how did you do - or to be precise, what damage did you cause - during the first 100,000 words?

icon_smile.gif


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Step 0 Apr 10, 2010

Nicole Schnell wrote:
Wouldn't step 2 rather consist of taking up serious studies?


Obtaining a degree or diploma in your specialist field would be step 0. Some people skip step 0 entirely, and the fact that the OP "bought a dictionary" lead me to believe that he is a skipper. Skipping step 0 is not ideal but sometimes it can't be helped.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:47
Flemish to English
+ ...
Somebody who is a master in a given field. Apr 10, 2010

Armed with dictionaries "we handle all texts" was the someone naive publicity slogan of my former school. A linguistic training is a generalist training, spiced by a number of specialised courses such as economics, how banks and exchanges work (described in general terms,not with statistics).
Given that construction specification from French into Dutch and vice-versa are specialised market-niche, which I was interested in, I the generalist handle the translation with the help of a) Specialized dictionaries and the equivalent translations of the descriptions and b) with the help of an engineer. In the end, the translators didn't understand the text, so the agency asked for the engineer to make terminology lists and I revised the linguistic part.
Do I dare to touch construction-specs. When working together with that engineer, why not.
Do I dare to touch dental texts. Yes, because a DDS with whom I went to high school and who has a good knowledge of English, French, German and Dutch has hours to spare supplies the terminology and corrects the translations with a focus on content.
Of course, this can not be done at a low-budget rate or with a lot of discounts for repetitions.
If you know that one hour of a dentist costs about 110 euros/£100, such a person will not revised text for free and that cost has to be included into the price of a translation.


[Edited at 2010-04-10 12:11 GMT]


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