Area of expertise - A perfect stranger
Thread poster: Silvio Allico

Silvio Allico
Local time: 04:43
English to Italian
Aug 4, 2012

Hello everybody,

I am near to graduate in 'Interpreting and translation' (BA) and I already have some experience in translating various kinds of texts in different fields (from English into Italian); I have never had any real need to make ends meet by myself and I have been more than happy to earn 600-800 € per month by translating general contents, given that the university was more important.

Now that I am about to graduate, and I know I will not start my MA neither in the immediate nor in the distant future, I have begun looking ahead to know what would I need to climb up to a decent salary (for me, about 1500€/month) and I have soon realized I need the so called 'area of expertise'. This concept sounds like a perfect stranger, and I am now trying to know something more about the idea of 'carving a niche'.

Unfortunately, I am an expert in the field of... nothing! My previous working experience includes nothing more than 2 years as low-paid waiter in a bar, and nothing else.
That's why I thought to Plan-B, or 'what I am interested to', and the following list is the result: geopolitics, modern history, the Middle East, financial markets, poker, videogames, travel, football. Not so many things, I know, but I already know a lot about some of them.

I have always been a person who learn fast, and I would be more than happy to focus on 2-3 of these topics and deepen my knowledge of them. Any suggestion on which of these should be better to develop (just considering the possibility to really work in that field, since I'm very interested in any of them) and on how to develop them (and how to prove to anybody that I am expert in that field) would be very welcomed.

I would expecially love to hear from someone who works in the field of geopolitics, since this is the one I know more, and I feel confident I could translate in this field at a very high quality.

Thank you in advance for your attention, and greetings from Italy.

[Edited at 2012-08-04 09:20 GMT]


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DLyons  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 03:43
Spanish to English
+ ...
Follow the money. Aug 4, 2012

That suggests Financial Markets, the Middle East, Geopolitics to me.

As for Poker, if you're good at playing rather than analyzing it, you'll make more money than as a translator


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:43
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Shoot for gold if you want bronze Aug 4, 2012

TreL wrote:
Now that I am about to graduate, and I know I will not start my MA neither in the immediate nor in the distant future, I have begun looking ahead to know what would I need to climb up to a decent salary (for me, about 1500€/month)...

To me, this is probably not the best approach from a business perspective. There is no thing as a salary in translation (unless you land one of the rare in-house translator positions), so if you want to make sure you make 20,000 euro a year... you should definitely gear up and try to make 40,000. Draw a proper business plan (where do you want to be and by when, what do you need, how much time and money do you have to invest, all with locations, names, and dates)

TreL wrote:
That's why I thought to Plan-B, or 'what I am interested to', and the following list is the result: geopolitics, modern history, the Middle East, financial markets, poker, videogames, travel, football. Not so many things, I know, but I already know a lot about some of them.

I am not really sure any of these topics will bring you good income in a reasonable time frame, but one should certainly specialise in things one likes in life.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:43
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
More training needed? Aug 4, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
There is no thing as a salary in translation (unless you land one of the rare in-house translator positions), so if you want to make sure you make 20,000 euro a year... you should definitely gear up and try to make 40,000. Draw a proper business plan (where do you want to be and by when, what do you need, how much time and money do you have to invest, all with locations, names, and dates)

You say you don't want to do an MA, but perhaps there is more training required. Perhaps it would pay to learn a little about (very) small business management, marketing, etc. It's something that few young translators know enough about. For a salaried translator, it's just a matter of translating the words you're given, but freelancers have to go and find them first! Even if you are good at marketing etc. you will have lean times at first so you should aim to earn a good bit more than 1/365 of your annual income each day.

But it sounds as though you're well on the way to choosing your areas of specialisation. Make sure you study them in both languages and keep them up to date.

Sheila


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Silvio Allico
Local time: 04:43
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
Business plan and training Aug 5, 2012

First of all, thank you everybody for your advice, which I really appreciated

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
To me, this is probably not the best approach from a business perspective. There is no thing as a salary in translation (unless you land one of the rare in-house translator positions), so if you want to make sure you make 20,000 euro a year... you should definitely gear up and try to make 40,000. Draw a proper business plan (where do you want to be and by when, what do you need, how much time and money do you have to invest, all with locations, names, and dates).


Hello Thomas and thank you for your answer. I am the kind of person who works hard and feels guilty in case something goes wrong, that's why I prefer to keep my expectations on a target I could reasonably achieve. You can bet that I'm not used to refuse work I can do just because I've already earned enough for that month.

But I had not considered the business plan thing. I will try to draw one and see what happens.

Sheila Wilson wrote:
You say you don't want to do an MA, but perhaps there is more training required. Perhaps it would pay to learn a little about (very) small business management, marketing, etc. It's something that few young translators know enough about. For a salaried translator, it's just a matter of translating the words you're given, but freelancers have to go and find them first! Even if you are good at marketing etc. you will have lean times at first so you should aim to earn a good bit more than 1/365 of your annual income each day.


Hello Sheila and thanks to you too. Your are right that I will need more training in the field of marketing myself, and this is something I am trying to do. I have read the famous book 'How to succeed as a freelance translator' by Corinne McKay, and I have found it great. While I am good at writing proposals (e.g. to advertise myself when jobs are posted by clients/agencies), cold contact is something I should definitely improve. I have found this forum a great source of useful suggestions, and I will keep on reading until I know... everything

But it sounds as though you're well on the way to choosing your areas of specialisation. Make sure you study them in both languages and keep them up to date.


Any suggestion about this will be really appreciated!


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