Marketing to clients in a specific niche (music)
Thread poster: AMcMillin

AMcMillin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
Apr 25

Good afternoon,

Sometime ago I had posted in one of the other forums asking about how to go about specializing in different industries. One of the respondents suggested that I go about specializing in a field in which I already have the education. For me, it is music. Of course, it is something I would LOVE to do but I am wondering if there really is work and a demand for it. I've not only studied music at the university level, but I have been teaching music privately now for a long time. I also have extensive experience performing with bands and choirs. Thus I can translate texts about topics such as theory and performance as well as the act of teaching. My question to you is where I can find clients. I've thought about finding musicians who might need their website translated for promotional purposes, universities who might need some of their academic materials translated, and publishers of academic journals (music-related, of course). But I cannot think of any other possibilities. Is there even a need for universities to have their materials translated? I am not sure if any of you have had to translate music-related texts at some point or if you regularly specialize in music. If you have, I would love to hear what you think as far as finding clients for whom you can translate such types of texts. Thank you for any advice you can give me!

Adrienne


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:21
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Disclaimer: I don't translate about music Apr 25

This won't necessarily be in the specific areas of music that you mentioned, but another potential client base in the field of music might be record companies/artists who export to other markets and need press releases and other materials translated. Also, companies that produce musical instruments? Publishers of music-related books, including books about popular performers, instructive books for learners, academic materials for students of music theory? Also, you could expand your search for clients to opera houses, concert halls, national symphonies, etc. in Latin America and Spain, which almost certainly have press releases and brochures, programmes and visitor's guides that need translating for tourists and the like. Just throwing some random ideas out there.

To answer your question about universities, I'm sure there are PhD candidates and the like who want to have their theses and dissertations translated -- but whether the budget is there, I don't know.


AMcMillin
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:21
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Angela is right! Apr 26

I work for a couple of record labels, I translate the blurb for CDs, sometimes the lyrics, press releases, biographies and so on. There's probably much more work translating from than into English.
The music industry is floundering rather though, since nobody buys CDs any more. The musicians themselves have no money, and record labels don't have nearly as much as before, so it's not the most lucrative of sectors. The only thing that still brings in money is live performances, and that's not something that generates much in the way of translation.
Perhaps you could try sheet music publishers? I remember someone telling me scores are not easily available even on Internet. Of course the bulk of any book would be the actual scores but there's usually an intro and a little biography of the composer/s.

If you can translate music-related texts, you can also branch out into other artistic fields surely? You may need to conduct some very thorough research in terms of terminology, but the ability to craft beautiful prose is every bit as essential as in music.


AMcMillin
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:21
Member (2008)
Italian to English
You're on the right track Apr 26

By choosing a specialised, restricted field, you're on the right track- but it will take a while for you to make yourself known with the right clients. Your next step, in my opinion, is to work carefully on your Proz profile and make it 100% complete, including good examples of your translations in the "Portfolio" section. Most of all, concentrate on your keywords so that when anyone does a Google search for something like "music translator" your name will come up.

Specialising is the way to go. Good luck - but be patient! Results won't come quickly.


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 16:21
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Music Apr 26


Perhaps you could try sheet music publishers? I remember someone telling me scores are not easily available even on Internet. Of course the bulk of any book would be the actual scores but there's usually an intro and a little biography of the composer/s.

Any score that is out of copyright and reasonably in demand is on the internet.

I've done a few music-related translations, but from my understanding most of these materials are done in-house or by non-professional translators (e.g. academics).

Also, music is a very broad field. All the knowledge of classical music in the world will not help you translate something about heavy metal.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Music Apr 26

Lincoln Hui wrote:
All the knowledge of classical music in the world will not help you translate something about heavy metal.


Actually, all Western music is pretty much the same really...

OP:

I think music, like tourism and food and sport, is one of those areas it's hard to specialise in because anyone who's ever learned an instrument/been on holiday/eaten/gone for a jog offers it.

To get work despite this, you need contacts. Milk your network. Be brazen. You might just strike the mother lode.


[Edited at 2018-04-26 18:41 GMT]


 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 03:21
German to English
+ ...
I've translated one Apr 26

It was a preface to a joint project involving a number of composers across several countries and the language of the introduction was German. The composer heading the project and I think running the publishing house knew me from conversations in a music forum. He also knew my teacher. The compositions were modern: some of the language describing the music went beyond what one usually learns in "classical" music, some of it borrowing from the systems in non-classical (jazz etc.) - these are the types of things my teacher was exploring with me, and the person hiring me knew my teacher as well.

Other than that, I have very rarely run into anything involving music.

I do sometimes see terminology requests in the area of music "out there" by one or two translators. I'm thinking that rather than specializing solely or primarily in music, you might make certain that this specialization is known. My experience I wrote about happened out of the blue because of contacts in an area that interests me. So maybe talking to people in the music industry and letting them know you're around is worth a try.


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 16:21
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
ORLY Apr 27

Actually, all Western music is pretty much the same really...

I'll be sure to take your word for it.


 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 03:21
German to English
+ ...
I can't agree Apr 27

Chris S wrote:

Lincoln Hui wrote:
All the knowledge of classical music in the world will not help you translate something about heavy metal.


Actually, all Western music is pretty much the same really...


As someone most at home in "classical" music, even for terminology alone - initially I had no clue about things like "riffs", "bridge", "verse-chorus", "comping". Some terms in classical music may be unfamiliar to non-classical musicians, or they may be called different things. I think the "chorus" is what we would call "refrain", and a "chorus" in classical is a group of people who sing together usually with somebody conducting. Then there is how people relate to music, and each other, and thus how they talk about it. I'm not sure that it is all the same, or that you can put it all under the same umbrella of "Western music" when talking about translating.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Off topic Apr 27

Chris S wrote:
Actually, all Western music is pretty much the same really...

OK, Maxi, it was a throw-away comment, but I do think it's a fair generalisation.

My point was that heavy metal and classical music might seem a world apart to those who haven't studied music, but underneath it's just the same old notes and chords.

But yes obviously not everyone is going to be equally at home translating articles about the Norwegian death metal scene and sleeve notes for a Baroque quarteticon_smile.gif

PS Lincoln, I see now why you were so sarcastic, but tbh I would've thought your background would help you see my point.


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 16:21
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Music Apr 27

Chris S wrote:

My point was that heavy metal and classical music might seem a world apart to those who haven't studied music, but underneath it's just the same old notes and chords.

...

PS Lincoln, I see now why you were so sarcastic, but tbh I would've thought your background would help you see my point.


My background tells me that musicians often know very little about things that they don't come into contact with regularly, which is often a lot of things. Church music and Renaissance music are two areas that are essentially foreign languages to a lot of regular musicians, and that's without leaving the realm of what is generally considered classical music.

It's the era of Google and Wikipedia and no doubt a person trained in one area of music has an advantage in using such tools to work with another area, but often what falls under "music" in the commercial translation world has a lot more to do with cultural literacy than with technical literacy.


 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 03:21
German to English
+ ...
answering Chris again Apr 28

Chris S wrote:

Chris S wrote:
Actually, all Western music is pretty much the same really...

OK, Maxi, it was a throw-away comment, but I do think it's a fair generalisation.

My point was that heavy metal and classical music might seem a world apart to those who haven't studied music, but underneath it's just the same old notes and chords.

I'm not sure how to understand this when you talk of people "who haven't studied music". I was not writing from that kind of view.
Same old notes and chords: try talk to the average classical musician about the "tritone exchange" or watch the confusion if you put musicians together from both camps and talk about "suspension chords". In fact, the humble B#. They often don't seem to be the same old notes and chords.

A throw-away comment, but it followed a question asking for career advice, and what Lincoln Hui wrote - which might indeed have some merit.


 

AMcMillin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Jul 7

Thank you kindly for all of your advice. These are some great ideas, which I plan on looking into. Of course, I don't expect to specialize solely in music, especially since I am already working in other areas where I know there is a lot of work and where I am already obtaining experience and knowledge. But since I already have a long, established background in music, it is worth looking into. The worst thing that could happen is that there wouldn't be any work.

 


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