Highest paying industries
Thread poster: ClarityTranslat
ClarityTranslat
Local time: 03:42
English to Spanish
May 28

Hello everyone,

I would like to know, based on your experience, what the highest paying industries or sectors are for translation jobs. I'm a freelance translator in the English-Spanish pair, and lately I've found a lot of low ballers, so I'm trying to focus my business efforts on high quality clients.

Your wisdom will be very much appreciated.

C.


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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 08:42
English to Russian
+ ...
Wrong question May 29

Highest-paying industries are those in which you have professional experience. To produce good (and accordingly well-paid) medical translations, you need to have at least some medical background, though you don't have to be a doctor or even a nurse - having grown up in a medical family or being married to a doctor may already suffice. In other words, you need to be able to speak to medical professionals in their own language (and jargon, too), understand what they say and not make a fool of yourself in such a conversation.
By the same token, an engineering background is needed for technical translations, a flying background - for aviation-related translations, etc.

[Edited at 2017-05-29 10:09 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
In which industry can you, as a translator, command good rates? May 29

Anton Konashenok wrote:
wrong question

I hear all the time that there are certain sectors that pay appallingly badly, and that tourism is one of them. You can certainly find outsourcers and translators who are happy to settle for a couple of cents per word in that area. Maybe it's quite a high percentage of the work that's done at those prices - I don't know, but many translators do tend to think that they can only charge rock-bottom rates for those "easy" texts, so it isn't surprising really that so many clients think they can get them cheaply. What I do know is that some direct clients and specialist agencies are willing to pay sensible rates for someone to craft texts for hotels, guides and brochures that aren't just an over-literal translation of the source. But they do insist on that someone giving them a lot of confidence up-front, so you need to be able to show experience, training and/or samples, and perhaps show them how you would handle their texts.

That's one area that I have personal experience in, but I'm sure the same is happening in other sectors. If clients have a relatively low opinion of the importance of having their own text translated really well, then they'll only be prepared to pay a low price. But if they see it as crucial to their business, then they'll be prepared to pay the rates that a specialist normally charges.

The recurring theme that you'll hear most often in these forums is the need to specialise if you translate between two of the commonest languages in the world. There's a vast amount of work out there, but there are a vast number of translators too, all after the same jobs. You have to let most jobs go because there will always be someone cheaper. But if you have a specialisation then you can stand out among the rest for those particular texts and command a higher rate. There's nothing to stop you doing work in other areas if it comes you way, but you need to market yourself as a specialist, preferably one with a niche market. It needs to be a 100% clear and unambiguous message that you give a client. Specialising in software, advertising, finance and poetry just isn't possible, so you immediately lose credibility.


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Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 07:42
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Not fully May 29

Anton Konashenok wrote:

Highest-paying industries are those in which you have professional experience. To produce good (and accordingly well-paid) medical translations, you need to have at least some medical background, though you don't have to be a doctor or even a nurse - having grown up in a medical family or being married to a doctor may already suffice. In other words, you need to be able to speak to medical professionals in their own language (and jargon, too), understand what they say and not make a fool of yourself in such a conversation.
By the same token, an engineering background is needed for technical translations, a flying background - for aviation-related translations, etc.

[Edited at 2017-05-29 10:09 GMT]


Why not give a credit and suppose that the person (I hope!) is willing to invest into such background, or improve the existing one, before undertaking translation jobs?
Yet I fully agree that the background as such is essential.


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ClarityTranslat
Local time: 03:42
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your reply May 29

Anton Konashenok wrote:

Highest-paying industries are those in which you have professional experience. To produce good (and accordingly well-paid) medical translations, you need to have at least some medical background, though you don't have to be a doctor or even a nurse - having grown up in a medical family or being married to a doctor may already suffice. In other words, you need to be able to speak to medical professionals in their own language (and jargon, too), understand what they say and not make a fool of yourself in such a conversation.
By the same token, an engineering background is needed for technical translations, a flying background - for aviation-related translations, etc.

[Edited at 2017-05-29 10:09 GMT]


Thank you all for your input. I am pursuing a degree in Sworn Translation and I have been working as a Freelance Translator for 10 years. I agree with you all on the importance of specialization, but my question was geared towards businesses or industries that, as Sheila said, see it as crucial to their business to have high quality translations. I was thinking, for example, about the automotive industry, or luxury goods, where communication usually gets a large part of the budget.

I will look into a specialization in Medical translation, as sworn translation is not really my cup of tea.


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Isa Harrington  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:42
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
If you are looking to specialise in Medical Translation.... May 29

...Universidad Jaume I offer a distance-learning Medical Translation Master, it looks very interesting, seeing that your language combination is EN-ES.

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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:42
Member (2008)
French to English
Large companies May 29

ClarityTranslat wrote:

Hello everyone,

I would like to know, based on your experience, what the highest paying industries or sectors are for translation jobs. I'm a freelance translator in the English-Spanish pair, and lately I've found a lot of low ballers, so I'm trying to focus my business efforts on high quality clients.

Your wisdom will be very much appreciated.

C.


In my experience, the highest payers are large multinational companies, in any industry (except translation!). For such companies translation is merely an essential business service, and its cost is not an issue, compared to the importance of timeliness and accuracy. And the way into such companies, in my experience, is the in-house translators who are already in their full-time employ, but not in my language pair/direction/specialty, because they are the people who will be asked by others within the company to translate a document, but know that they don't have the expertise for it, so will look elsewhere for help.

[Edited at 2017-05-29 15:13 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:42
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Probably May 29

ClarityTranslat wrote:

Hello everyone,

I would like to know, based on your experience, what the highest paying industries or sectors are for translation jobs. I'm a freelance translator in the English-Spanish pair, and lately I've found a lot of low ballers, so I'm trying to focus my business efforts on high quality clients.

Your wisdom will be very much appreciated.

C.


Probably the international arms trade.


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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:42
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Lucrative May 29

ClarityTranslat wrote:
I would like to know, based on your experience, what the highest paying industries or sectors are for translation jobs. I'm a freelance translator in the English-Spanish pair, and lately I've found a lot of low ballers, so I'm trying to focus my business efforts on high quality clients.

You might find this opinion relevant: The 4 factors that define a lucrative specialisation.

Regards,
Dan


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inesec  Identity Verified
Latvia
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Not only arms trade May 30

Tom in London wrote:

ClarityTranslat wrote:

Hello everyone,

I would like to know, based on your experience, what the highest paying industries or sectors are for translation jobs. I'm a freelance translator in the English-Spanish pair, and lately I've found a lot of low ballers, so I'm trying to focus my business efforts on high quality clients.

Your wisdom will be very much appreciated.

C.


Probably the international arms trade.


but also drug trafficking is a very profitable industry ...


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