English combination? (Getting established)"> Is "politics and economics" a viable specialism for German-> English combination? (Getting established)

Is "politics and economics" a viable specialism for German-> English combination?
Thread poster: S_89

United Kingdom
Aug 2, 2017

My degree was in politics (in the UK) and a lot of my early work experience was politically based - I interned for MPs and research organizations etc.

I've learnt German consistently since I was 12 (I'm in my late 20s now) and I've lived and worked in Germany for 6 years (obviously using solely German) and recently undertook a masters in translation, as I feel this line of work is the most suited to me, based upon my skills and talents.

My question is: especially considering the UK is leaving the EU and hence there will be many issues with Europe regarding this in the next 10 years, is politics a viable specialism in terms of earning a living?

I know translators who have told me the best specialisms are legal or medical.

Is it really possible to have politics as a specialism, or should I focus on something more commercially viable?

Answers much appreciated.


Kelly Neudorfer  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:32
German to English
Sure it's viable Aug 3, 2017

I have a PhD in poli sci, and it's one of my primary specializations. Because my focus is on the academic side (primarily journal articles for professors), I haven't put too much effort into getting in with international organizations. However, there are plenty of translators that do translations for these organizations.

There is certainly enough work there, but you will need to figure out how to get your foot in the door.


Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Yes Aug 3, 2017

Tbh, though, "politics and economics" is a pretty broad field anyway.

I would start there and see where your interests take you in the future. Enjoying your work is the most important thing. And you can pick up new specialist areas pretty quickly if need be. I didn't leave uni an expert in diabetes or collateral haircuts.

I think you also need to think about how good you are. Are you exceptional or average? If you are going to be an exceptional translator, you can specialise in pretty much anything. I suspect some of the advice you have had about translating medical (hard without medical training) may be from run-of-the-mill translators on here feeding off the current glut in the pharmaceutical industry due to regulatory requirements which dictate that everything has to be translated and back-translated and checked and double-checked a million times by clueless CAT pilots (just saying!). It's a rich seam at the mo to be fair, but a little soul-destroying.

Linking back to your previous question, it looks like you have lots of places to source work from so maybe straight to freelance is viable after all if you can't find an in-house position.


Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:32
French to English
Yes Aug 3, 2017

Whatever qualifications and experience you have will serve to make you credible as a translator in those domains, or ones related to them. You may wish to start contacting agencies as they generally require a university qualification and/or professional experience. It is evidence of knowledge and skill in a particular field.

There is no such thing as a "best" specialisation. "Legal" or "medical" translation are only viable for those who have knowledge and skill in those areas. Some have both. However, bearing in mind that there is a strong realtionship between law and policital science, both being such vast fields and the latter being considered by many as having derived from the former, you could find yourself doing work which edges into the legal field. You just won't be doing the same type of "legal" translation as someone who has legal qualifications and/or experience.

I think it likely that Brexit will make little or no difference to the amuont of translation work. If anything, it could even generate more work for political scientists.

P.S. It would have been extremely helpful to have had the educational/professional bio info you have posted here on the other thread about getting established.icon_wink.gif

[Edited at 2017-08-03 10:02 GMT]


David GAY  Identity Verified
Dutch to French
+ ...
how much do you need/expect to earn? Aug 3, 2017

Do you live in downtown London or on a virgin desert island?


English to German
+ ...
Media outlets, PR companies, business organisations Aug 3, 2017

Your background could also be helpful for translating media articles, press releases, position papers etc. in these fields.

You will need strong English writing skills, though, be familiar with the conventions for these text types (and be able to recognise reported speech in German and correctly render it in English).


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Is "politics and economics" a viable specialism for German-> English combination?

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