An Odd Specialization?
Thread poster: potosi
potosi
United States
Aug 11, 2014

Quick intro: I'm getting my MA in Translation next year, and my languages are Port/Fren -> English.

Besides language, the thing I'm OBSESSED with is perfume. I read articles and books about it, have travelled to visit perfume museums, I collect fragrances... I even archive my perfume samples. I'm interested in every aspect of perfume, from history to marketing and fabrication.

I also love cosmetics in general. I've written freelance beauty articles, and I have a social media presence -- I run a beauty blog and youtube channel where I talk about the best cosmetic products, how to use them and sometimes review products sent from companies.

If there is one thing I'm an "expert" in, it's cosmetics and perfume. Can I make this my specialization? Any tips on how to make it happen?

[Edited at 2014-08-11 16:18 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:03
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
The first question to answer Aug 11, 2014

potosi wrote:
If there is one thing I'm an "expert" in, it's cosmetics and perfume. Can I make this my specialization? Any tips on how to make it happen?

The obvious question is whether or not you know anything about the terminology in a language other than English. I don't just mean "I learnt xxx (language) at school"; I'm talking of an in-depth knowledge of perfume in a second language. From what I've seen it's an incredibly jargon-rich specialisation.

You'll also have to have very good writing skills in your target language and a flair for translating (these are not possessed by every person who knows two languages). And as a freelancer you'll also have to be able to run a business. If you think you have all those skills, and if you really are a bilingual expert in the field, then you have a good chance of making this your specialisation as a translator. I'm sure there's a lot of work out there.

For tips on how to make it happen, I think we'd need to know a bit about what you've already done. If you have a Master in Translation Studies or 10 years' experience in a perfume laboratory, then your approach will be rather different to that of a newbie who knows nothing about translating and only has an amateur's knowledge of perfume.


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
I do a lot of translations on this subject. Aug 11, 2014

The vast majority are marketing texts so, as Sheila says, you need to be able to write elegant, persuasive advertising copy. If you're good at that, I think it would be an excellent area in which to specialize. You might want to broaden it to include other luxury consumer goods like watches and chocolates, which require a very similar approach.

[Edited at 2014-08-11 15:51 GMT]


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potosi
United States
TOPIC STARTER
I am starting my Master's in Translation next year, and already have a French BA. Aug 11, 2014

Sheila Wilson wrote:

potosi wrote:
If there is one thing I'm an "expert" in, it's cosmetics and perfume. Can I make this my specialization? Any tips on how to make it happen?

The obvious question is whether or not you know anything about the terminology in a language other than English. I don't just mean "I learnt xxx (language) at school"; I'm talking of an in-depth knowledge of perfume in a second language. From what I've seen it's an incredibly jargon-rich specialisation.

You'll also have to have very good writing skills in your target language and a flair for translating (these are not possessed by every person who knows two languages). And as a freelancer you'll also have to be able to run a business. If you think you have all those skills, and if you really are a bilingual expert in the field, then you have a good chance of making this your specialisation as a translator. I'm sure there's a lot of work out there.

For tips on how to make it happen, I think we'd need to know a bit about what you've already done. If you have a Master in Translation Studies or 10 years' experience in a perfume laboratory, then your approach will be rather different to that of a newbie who knows nothing about translating and only has an amateur's knowledge of perfume.


I have no lab experience and it's as you say an amateur's knowledge meaning that I have not worked in perfumery. But I want to develop my passion into a specialization, and after reading and teaching my self about perfume (and cosmetics) for the past 5 years or so, I believe it's the one thing I know most about.

What I'm wondering is how I would go about this... How would one even get involved in the specialization? I do not have a chemistry degree. I was thinking perhaps attend a perfume workshop, something of that sort. But then again I have read so extensively on the subject of perfumery that I think I could do the work and do it well. But the problem is, how do I show that knowledge?


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Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:03
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
different angles Aug 11, 2014

You need to think about whether you would come at this from the marketing side, as Phil describes, in which case you would need to be able to write persuasively and creatively or whether you want to focus on the technical side, where you would need to know a lot about chemistry and production techniques.

There must be trade journals for the perfume industry too, which have articles that might need translating.

I think it would be a very interesting specialism and definitely worth investigating further. You might want to combine it with a more general (but perhaps complementary) field to give you the best chance of getting plenty of work while you are building up your specialism.


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potosi
United States
TOPIC STARTER
It's so interesting to hear from someone who works in this area. Aug 11, 2014

philgoddard wrote:

The vast majority are marketing texts so, as Sheila says, you need to be able to write elegant, persuasive advertising copy. If you're good at that, I think it would be an excellent area in which to specialize. You might want to broaden it to include other luxury consumer goods like watches and chocolates, which require a very similar approach.

[Edited at 2014-08-11 15:51 GMT]



Does your German pair help with your niche in particular? When I think Germany, I do think of "nicer things" but maybe I'm being silly!

I'm good with "luscious" and elegant writing, but I've never taken any courses in advertising/marketing. Could I ask how you got into the luxury area? Have you a degree in advertising? I'd love to know.


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potosi
United States
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the ideas Aug 11, 2014

Rachel Waddington wrote:

You need to think about whether you would come at this from the marketing side, as Phil describes, in which case you would need to be able to write persuasively and creatively or whether you want to focus on the technical side, where you would need to know a lot about chemistry and production techniques.

There must be trade journals for the perfume industry too, which have articles that might need translating.

I think it would be a very interesting specialism and definitely worth investigating further. You might want to combine it with a more general (but perhaps complementary) field to give you the best chance of getting plenty of work while you are building up your specialism.


I think you are right, it would make sense to focus on either marketing or the scientific side. In my case, I would choose marketing. I sort of regret now not taking some marketing courses during my BA! I wonder how one could do advert translation with no certification in the field of marketing/pr?


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:03
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
You have good prospects Aug 11, 2014

With a degree in translation in high-demand languages and a passion for the products of a huge industry, you are definitely on the right track.

With a decent writing ability in your native English, which can only get better, you should have good long-term prospects.

Pay attention to what you read here on Proz, search the forums, and do everything that you do in a professional manner. You should be picking up enough work, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Let us know how it goes.


[Edited at 2014-08-11 18:42 GMT]


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