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Specialising in cosmetics
Thread poster: Rachel E

Rachel E
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:30
Mar 3, 2013

Hi,

I am at the beginning of my career and considering which areas to specialise in. One of the options I have considered is cosmetics. I have a background in the beauty industry and when I have done cosmetics related translations in the past I found them very enjoyable. However, I'm wondering if, to specialise in this area, I will need a lot more scientific knowledge and, if so, where would be the best place to obtain this knowledge? The other question is that I work into English and I'm not sure if this an area that would provide a lot of work. I'd really love some advice on this.

Many thanks

Rachel


 

almacarle
Local time: 21:30
English to Italian
+ ...
allology Mar 3, 2013

hi

specialization in a very good thing, but you need a very deep one if you work only in one field or for a company

if you want to work in a site as this, you need a wider range of experience and of training

otherwise you will not survive:-)

kind regards
almacarle


 

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:30
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Specialising in cosmetics Mar 3, 2013

I am in the same position you are in. I have always loved beauty, cosmetics, anything connected, but the problem is translating some of the terms and also knowing some of the technical terms- components of items like beauty creams etc. It is difficult deciding when one is interested in lots of fields too.

 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
Cosmetics Mar 3, 2013

Cosmetics isn't really an area of specialisation for a translator. This would just fall inside the scope of general translation.

 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:30
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Cosmetics resources Mar 3, 2013

You might find some answers here:
http://www.ecpdwebinars.co.uk/translating_cosmetics_household_products.html

There is also a thread about cosmetics resources here:
http://www.proz.com/forum/translator_resources/208691-cosmetics_beuty_glossary.html#1816094

I don't agree with Tatty. I know translators who specialise in cosmetics, and I have a feeling they would disagree too!


 

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:30
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Specialising in cosmetics Mar 3, 2013

There is a definite area of expertise in Cosmetics/beauty, so go ahead and specialise in it GL.

 

Rachel E
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:30
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Mar 3, 2013

Thank you! I much appreciate the advice and encouragement, those links were very useful too. icon_biggrin.gif

 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:30
Member
Italian to English
Often your specialisation finds you Mar 3, 2013

It has been my experience that often your specialisation finds you, not the other way around.

I hope you are able to specialise in a field you choose and enjoy; however you may find yourself working in and consequently specialising in a field you never expected to.

Best of luck.icon_smile.gif


 

Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:30
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
maybe include it as one of your specializations Mar 4, 2013

I am also interested in this field and have previous experience in it. There is an option on Proz to list it as one of your specialty fields. However, I don't think there is enough work in this area to have it as your only specialty so you may want to consider having other specializations as well.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:30
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Volume of work Mar 4, 2013

I agree with Sarah. The volume of work in cosmetics is rather low, and I doubt it will pay your bills. You definitely want to add related fields to it, like beauty, fashion, clothing, eventually going all the way to textiles and materials, which is more technical but could be interesting to exploit. It might all mean learning effort in fields you don't know much about at present. I'd include cosmetics as one of my areas in CVs and web profiles, but would not make it my sole field.

On the other hand, I also agree with Fiona: your specialisation often finds you and you end up translating a lot about some unexpected area, simply because you make good translations about it and you start getting repeated jobs from certain customers.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:30
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Choose other areas as well Mar 4, 2013

While you often have to take on the texts that are offered, especially when you are starting out, you also have to turn down jobs where you simply do not understand the subject material well enough.

You can expand the areas you can take on by reading up on areas that interest you in quiet periods. A hobby might be a starting point, if you have one that has special terminology etc. I had a reputation with one agency as 'the one who does the menus' - to my surprise, others did not like them! I did not turn them down, and I collect cookery books and herbs and spices... I have followed up by reading about catering, and also special diets, originally so I can cook for relatives with diabetes and allergies when they visit.

And of course, remember to add suitable keywords to your profile and website if you have one, so that people looking for a translator in those fields will find you.

Best of luck!


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:30
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Cosmetics is definitely a speciality Mar 4, 2013

because it's one of mine!

And as Fiona so neatly put it, cosmetics found me. I'm not particularly interested personally, I never wear make-up and only have a couple of creams I ever use. However I have a few clients on the organic/natural scene (I would never work for those who tell me I'm worth it, because they don't back their slogan up with a rate in line with it).

I wouldn't worry about the highly technical terms, most of the translations I have been asked to do contain just a few technical terms, and they are texts aimed at consumers so they need to be accessible. There are just some texts in which the client is obviously trying to blind its own customers with science, but there's no need to worry unduly since successful translation of these texts hinges on achieving a style that is vague enough!

As a Project Manager I found it quite hard to place this sort of translation: it was too scientific for the people I knew working in fashion, and scientific translators considered it too frivolous for their comfort zone. And it's a girl-only zone: even the gay male translators I knew who took lingerie in their stride would reject the cosmetics stuff out of hand. So there's definitely a niche!

If you've already worked in the cosmetics industry, you can contact the people you previously worked with for work, and specify that experience when looking for work elsewhere, so you have a great head start.

I would also agree that you might not be able to survive on cosmetics alone, but if you're good at that you'll be good at other, similar stuff like fashion, fitness, paramedical and so on.


 

French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:30
French to English
+ ...
lots of work in cosmetics Mar 4, 2013

I disagree that the volume of work in cosmetics is low. I specialize in cosmetics and fragrances, and at least 70% of my workload is in that subject area!
I also would not describe it as generalist translation per se. Fragrance and cosmetics texts can be extremely technical when dealing with specifications sheets, and legal when working on ingredients. Marketing and PR texts are also full of scientific lingo in an attempt to convince consumers of the product's efficacy, or describing the distillation process for a fragrance, for example. Not only do you need the technical expertise, but a good writing style is paramount as well, since fragrance texts in particular can have an almost literary bent to them.
All in all, I find it a varied and interesting field in which to specialize, and honestly I have no shortage of work - on the contrary.icon_smile.gif


 

nrichy (X)
France
Local time: 21:30
French to Dutch
+ ...
Cosmetics found me too Mar 4, 2013

French Foodie wrote:

I disagree that the volume of work in cosmetics is low. I specialize in cosmetics and fragrances, and at least 70% of my workload is in that subject area!
I also would not describe it as generalist translation per se. Fragrance and cosmetics texts can be extremely technical when dealing with specifications sheets, and legal when working on ingredients. Marketing and PR texts are also full of scientific lingo in an attempt to convince consumers of the product's efficacy, or describing the distillation process for a fragrance, for example. Not only do you need the technical expertise, but a good writing style is paramount as well, since fragrance texts in particular can have an almost literary bent to them.
All in all, I find it a varied and interesting field in which to specialize, and honestly I have no shortage of work - on the contrary.icon_smile.gif


Entirely agree. And it is a girl-only specialization as Texte Style indicates. You'll have to translate consumer leaflets and websites, internal documentation, technical product sheets, massage guides, general marketing guides ('how to sell more') and even tourism (balneotherapy, hydrotherapy, spas). In my case I extended to slightly medical texts (those who real medical translators don't want to undertake) and on the other side diet products, slimming pills and so on. Have fun!


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Rare example of anti-male sexism Mar 4, 2013

I'm shocked to see two people suggesting that straight males are incapable of translating this stuff. I'm neither female nor gay, and I do quite a lot of it, along with fashion and jewelry. Most of it is marketing, which doesn't require firsthand experience of applying lipstick or wearing dresses, but does demand the ability to write creative, persuasive text.

If I said that women were not the right people to translate heavy engineering, I'd soon get put in my place.

Any other males out there agree with me?

[Edited at 2013-03-04 21:06 GMT]


 
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