Is there such a thing as specialisation in environmental protection?
Thread poster: Charlotte S.

Charlotte S.
France
Local time: 16:31
Jan 11, 2019

Hello,

I'm just getting started in the translation business (English to French). At the moment I'm a TED volunteer translator, getting more experience behind me, and I'll be contacting agencies soon to hopefully take this to the next level.
But I'm a bit worried about specilisation - it seems crucial today.

Here is my problem: I am very interested in anything that relates to environmental protection and climate change, such as sustainable energy, wildlife conserv
... See more
Hello,

I'm just getting started in the translation business (English to French). At the moment I'm a TED volunteer translator, getting more experience behind me, and I'll be contacting agencies soon to hopefully take this to the next level.
But I'm a bit worried about specilisation - it seems crucial today.

Here is my problem: I am very interested in anything that relates to environmental protection and climate change, such as sustainable energy, wildlife conservation, ecotourism... but I realise it's quite a large area and I don't have strong scientific knowledge (just basic knowledge, and a degree in languages...). I do however invest a lot of time and efforts into learning about environmental issues and all the possible ways to fight them.

So far I've been translating TED talks dealing with CO2 emissions, plastic pollution, or even coal mining. Most talks were quite specific and detailed, and I've been reading papers about the different subjects. I also have translation experience in the maritime transport and offshore oil and gas sectors, which are not really environmental friendly, but maybe could help for a specilisation. That's without accounting for my personal knowledge and interest in wildlife, sustainable agriculture, pollution, etc.

Would you think it's possible to specialise in environmental issues in general? Should I pick a specific field? Is it mostly sciences (and without work experience in sciences, I'm not sure what my chances are)? I would love to have your opinions.

Thank you in advance
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Tom in London
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:31
Member (2008)
Italian to English
YES !!!! Jan 14, 2019

Yes!

This is a very important field and there's a lot of work in it.

You definitely SHOULD offer this as your major specialisation.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Yes, but... Jan 14, 2019

Yes, there is, but be aware that it is one of those fields that tend to be offered by every Tom, Dick and Harry, rather like music and cookery.

So you'll probably need to bring something extra, be it technical expertise or writing skills.

But I imagine it is an area where demand can only grow.


Tom in London
Elena Aclasto
Michele Fauble
Jorge Payan
Christine Andersen
 

Paweł Hamerski
Local time: 16:31
English to Polish
+ ...
I disagree with Chris - environmental protection is a complicated science and Jan 14, 2019

such translations do not constitute an easy task to translate - of course every Tom, Dick and Marry can delve in translation of some profane attempts at addressing general environmental issues but will fail translating specialized texts - like in other specialized fields.
It is my specialization by the way.


 

Colleen Roach, PhD  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:31
Member (2019)
French to English
+ ...
Yes; good area of specialisation Jan 14, 2019

I agree with everyone here. From what I'm seeing: there are quite a few jobs looking for specialists in this area; the area is sure to grow. I think you can "drill down" and expand, also in terms of your specialisation. By "drill down" I mean: anything related to "green," i.e. green energy, etc. fracking, etc. Might be a good idea to look at international organizations that are working in this area, too, to see the specific sub-subject areas. By "expanding," I mean specializing in areas like bi... See more
I agree with everyone here. From what I'm seeing: there are quite a few jobs looking for specialists in this area; the area is sure to grow. I think you can "drill down" and expand, also in terms of your specialisation. By "drill down" I mean: anything related to "green," i.e. green energy, etc. fracking, etc. Might be a good idea to look at international organizations that are working in this area, too, to see the specific sub-subject areas. By "expanding," I mean specializing in areas like biology. Good luck.Collapse


 

Seana Parker-Dalton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:31
Member (2019)
French to English
Same! Jan 14, 2019

Hello, Charlotte!
I'm interested in the same thing, only French > English. I just graduated and am still trying to figure out how to earn a living, but when I was in school part of my internship work was with an environmental group in Cote d'Ivoire, helping them to prepare materials for COP 23 in Bonn. I think there should be a lot we could do to facilitate climate communication between French-Speaking African organizations and English-based groups. I'd love to work translating for UN sus
... See more
Hello, Charlotte!
I'm interested in the same thing, only French > English. I just graduated and am still trying to figure out how to earn a living, but when I was in school part of my internship work was with an environmental group in Cote d'Ivoire, helping them to prepare materials for COP 23 in Bonn. I think there should be a lot we could do to facilitate climate communication between French-Speaking African organizations and English-based groups. I'd love to work translating for UN sustainability, but I don't have another language up to par yet. I'll let you know if I find what I think we're both looking for!

--Seana
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Cynthia Whitehead  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:31
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
I have been specialised in environmental protection for most of my career; it's tough Jan 14, 2019

Yes, but environmental protection can be subdivided into many fields, each of which has its own scientific and technical vocabulary. Then there is climate change, which is usually thought of as an "energy" field rather than environmental, unless you are talking about effects. Oil & gas is different to solar is different to agriculture etc.

The EU legislation and working documents are a good way to get into the vocabulary you need, but it would be good to pick some areas and emphasiz
... See more
Yes, but environmental protection can be subdivided into many fields, each of which has its own scientific and technical vocabulary. Then there is climate change, which is usually thought of as an "energy" field rather than environmental, unless you are talking about effects. Oil & gas is different to solar is different to agriculture etc.

The EU legislation and working documents are a good way to get into the vocabulary you need, but it would be good to pick some areas and emphasize these. I have not found it possible to do only environmental translations because they are usually seen as adjuncts to other fields, ie sustainability reports, EHS audits etc. Feel free to contact me directly if you would like to talk in more detail.
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Michele Fauble
 

Charlotte S.
France
Local time: 16:31
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jan 15, 2019

Thank you very much for all your answers.

My fear was that, since it's such a large field, it would be impossible to make it a specialisation without choosing one very specific field. From what you all said it seems like I would both need to focus on specific fields, but also to work on subjects that are not directly related to the environment.

One last question: would you think it's possible for me to specialise in the energy field, or other scientific fields, even tho
... See more
Thank you very much for all your answers.

My fear was that, since it's such a large field, it would be impossible to make it a specialisation without choosing one very specific field. From what you all said it seems like I would both need to focus on specific fields, but also to work on subjects that are not directly related to the environment.

One last question: would you think it's possible for me to specialise in the energy field, or other scientific fields, even though I have no work experience or proper education in those fields? Like I said I've done a few translations about clean energy, coal mining or even marine life, but without any other experience in those fields I might not be qualified to specialise in them.

Again, thank you for your help.
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Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:31
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Environmental transations Jan 15, 2019

Hi Charlotte,

It's good that you are thinking about a specialism right at the start of your career because it is indeed very important. Most translators don't start out with a ready-made specialism but develop this throughout their careers through a mixture of study and work experience.

If you are interested in environmental translations I would encourage you to look at ways to get a good grounding in science. There are lots of online, part-time courses you can take, so
... See more
Hi Charlotte,

It's good that you are thinking about a specialism right at the start of your career because it is indeed very important. Most translators don't start out with a ready-made specialism but develop this throughout their careers through a mixture of study and work experience.

If you are interested in environmental translations I would encourage you to look at ways to get a good grounding in science. There are lots of online, part-time courses you can take, some of which are free. Check out these , for example: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/free-courses/full-catalogue. You might also want to look at the residential courses offered by the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales - or perhaps there is something similar nearer to you.

By the way, I specialise in renewable energy, which is a fascinating but highly technical field. It is something I have been interested in for a long time and I ended up studying an engineering degree part time with the Open University, which took six years. I'm not saying you need to do that, just that it's one possibility you might want to think about in the future.

Anyway, good luck. Having a strong interest in a field is a very good start as that gives you something to build on.

Rachel
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Christine Andersen
 

Charlotte S.
France
Local time: 16:31
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Rachel Jan 16, 2019

Rachel Waddington wrote:

Hi Charlotte,

It's good that you are thinking about a specialism right at the start of your career because it is indeed very important. Most translators don't start out with a ready-made specialism but develop this throughout their careers through a mixture of study and work experience.

If you are interested in environmental translations I would encourage you to look at ways to get a good grounding in science. There are lots of online, part-time courses you can take, some of which are free. Check out these , for example: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/free-courses/full-catalogue. You might also want to look at the residential courses offered by the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales - or perhaps there is something similar nearer to you.

By the way, I specialise in renewable energy, which is a fascinating but highly technical field. It is something I have been interested in for a long time and I ended up studying an engineering degree part time with the Open University, which took six years. I'm not saying you need to do that, just that it's one possibility you might want to think about in the future.

Anyway, good luck. Having a strong interest in a field is a very good start as that gives you something to build on.

Rachel



Thank you very much for your help Rachel. Indeed, science is an important part of the environmental sector and I suppose it would definitely help to have good scientific knowledge. I will look into that, thank you.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
You can learn independently Jan 16, 2019

Charlotte Scavarda wrote:
would you think it's possible for me to specialise in the energy field, or other scientific fields, even though I have no work experience or proper education in those fields? Like I said I've done a few translations about clean energy, coal mining or even marine life, but without any other experience in those fields I might not be qualified to specialise in them.

It all depends on you as an individual. If you're careful about what you accept, good at research, and have a basic scientific understanding and a half-decent brain, there is no reason why you can't work in this area without formal experience and qualifications.

I'm entirely self-taught in economics but still translate mainly for a central bank, so I know it can be done.

After all, most texts in most fields require little more than general knowledge, and a good grasp of basic terms and concepts will get you a long way. Seriously technical texts are increasingly written in English in the first place.


Michele Fauble
 


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