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Getting Started: Italian>English Specialisations
Thread poster: Nicola2000

Italian to English
Mar 14, 2008


I'm still very much at the beginning of deciding whether to proceed with a career in freelance translating.

My questions really are with regards to specialisation and how to go about specialising. My background is a degree in Italian, working in travel and tourism and as a police officer. Could these be considered specialist subjects or are they really (as I suspect) a bit too general? I enjoy study so don't mind putting in the groundwork to become specialist in a particular area but is this possible without actually working in that field? I would love to do a postgraduate course but this would just be too much of an expense - is it possible to become a specialist by self-study? Also my partner is a builder - could I tap into his knowledge and call myself a specialist in construction (with a bit of practice of course)? Or is it possible to get enough work without being specialised?

And finally, are there any opinions on specialisations that are particularly sought after in my language pair? I reckon if I have to start from nothing then I might as well choose something that would give me more chance of getting work!


Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:17
Italian to English
My two cents Mar 15, 2008

Hi Nicola

You don't seem to be getting much response so here are my thoughts for what they're worth. Although the internet means your actual location need not be an issue, I think the advice you need does depend a little on where you are based and your profile tells us very little (except that you have been registered here for well over 2 years).
If you look at the jobs posted here you will see that legal, financial and medical translators are in great demand. I offer none of these but am still regularly asked if I can tackle them. I refuse because I wouldn't myself employ anyone who wasn't an expert at their job - and because it would take me too long, I wouldn't enjoy it and might even get sued!.
My specialism is based on 35 years experience before I became a translator but only about 20% of my work at most is in this area. There is a lot of work on tourism and the hospitality industry and I suggest you concentrate on that initially.
I have never come across anything connected with the police but it could most certainly be a niche area, depending on whether your experience was in Italy or in any way applicable to Italy.
That is an issue in my field - architecture, construction and property; the building techniques used in Italy are so different from those in the UK that there is often no real equivalent terminology, so unless your partner is Italian you might struggle with this.
I would say that if you have a keen interest in another field, start studying, just by reading as much as you can in both languages and treating it as a hobby initially.
Hope my ramblings are of some help.


Italian to English
Thanks for the reply Mar 16, 2008

Hi Russell

Thanks very much for taking the time to reply - all comments are appreciated. I suppose I should have said a bit more about myself but my original post seemed long enough as it was! I live in Italy with an Italian partner and have been here for nearly 4 years now. I joined Proz a while back but then numerous personal issues (not least of which having a baby!) got in the way of me pursuing translation as a career. I'm now back at the stage where I would like to find out a bit more about it. My plans at the moment are to do the City of London University course that prepares for the IOL exams - for practice and to see where I'm at as far as translation is concerned (it's a long time since I've had any translations marked!).

I'm interested that you said there is a lot of work in tourism and hospitality because it's certainly an area I would feel very comfortable translating. Are there particular agencies that deal with this category of translation or is there any specific way you would recommend going about pursuing this type of work? I'm quite happy to build my experience up slowly so any tips are gratefully received.

If anyone else has any further opinions about specialisations or could recommend short courses that would be useful or how to go about getting travel/tourism translations I'd love to hear from themicon_biggrin.gif


Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:17
Italian to English
Agencies Mar 16, 2008

Nicola, my experience is that enterprises and authorities in the tourist industry tend to use their local translation agencies. So if you have in-depth knowledge on certain cities or regions, that migh be a good place to start.
The Blue Board here is a good source of information on agencies but, of course, that means paying for at least partial membership.
By all accounts IOL membership and the like gives you a credibility that's well worth having but, to be frank, English native speaking translators are rare enough in our language pair to be prized by the agencies that have access to them (as long as they are reliable of course).
Rates are not particularly high compared with many other combinations but there is no need to accept the pittance that some do for translating into their second language!
If you're not familiar with CAT tools, I suggest you try one that can be downloaded free for initial use, such as Wordfast. Many agencies expect it and it also makes you look more au-fait with the industry. It's quite simple to pick up, for basic use anyway.
Good luck.


Italian to English
Thanks again! Mar 17, 2008

Thanks again Russell and I'm definitely going to consider full membership of Proz.


Gemma Monco Waters  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:17
English to Italian
+ ...
I would like to ask a question related to translation courses online Mar 24, 2008

[quote]Nicola2000 wrote:

Thanks again Russell and I'm definitely going to consider full membership of Proz.

It really concerns the topic you are discussing. I was thinking of continuing my translating education and I heard of a school that teaches translation courses online. it is called:World Language Services and it is located in Ireland. Anybody ever heard of it? And does anybody have any suggestions on courses online ( I work, I cannot attend a course in the flesh, so to speak) ?
Gemma Monco Waters


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