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Poll: How long did it take you to specialize in your areas after you launched your career as a translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 16:56
SITE STAFF
Jun 20, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How long did it take you to specialize in your areas after you launched your career as a translator?".

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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:56
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
The areas of specialization have been developping Jun 20, 2013

progressively, over most of my 24-year long carreer! Let's say I stopped taking work in any completely new fields a few years ago, so that it took about 20 years.

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Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
I'm still at it Jun 20, 2013

after over 30 years... it is a never-ending process. At least I know I get better every day, it's one of the joys of being a translator.

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Susanna Martoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:56
Member (2009)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
My whole career Jun 20, 2013

And beyond.

Experience came with my career. But it is a a neverending experience.

Working and working and searching and reading and working again.
And remaining curious and interested in my working fields.


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Joeri Van Liefferinge  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 01:56
Member (2002)
English to Dutch
+ ...
The only way to specialize is to never stop learning Jun 20, 2013

Gilla Evans wrote:

after over 30 years... it is a never-ending process. At least I know I get better every day, it's one of the joys of being a translator.
Exactly. If you 'stop specializing', your knowledge goes out of date and you're no longer a specialist.


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:56
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Other Jun 20, 2013

At what point exactly does one become a specialist? We never stop learning.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 00:56
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Me too! Jun 20, 2013

Gilla Evans wrote:

after over 30 years... it is a never-ending process. At least I know I get better every day, it's one of the joys of being a translator.


After over 35 years...


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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:56
Member (2008)
English to Italian
3-6 months Jun 20, 2013

I agree with who says that it is a never-ending process, but I have to say that I answered 3-6 months, explanation: I started working in my field with only one client, this client somehow trained me, giving me detailed feedbacks. After 6 months I felt I could offer my service to other client, since I had the feeling I had become reliable and accurate in that field.
After 12 years I still learn new things, thanks to clients, colleagues and people I cooperate with and who have specific knowledge in some technical fields.


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Several years Jun 20, 2013

I'd say several years, but as others have mentioned, we really never stop learning even in our fields of specializaton.

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Enrico Zoffoli  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:56
Member (2013)
German to Italian
+ ...
< 3 Jun 20, 2013

If specializing in field X means "mastering the relevant terminology used in standard documents written field X", I would say < 3 months, since I have a PhD in my area of specialization.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other N/A Jun 20, 2013

Again with the assumptions, already. Piece a long is string of a how ...

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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Learning new stuff Jun 20, 2013

I never really understand when people say that they are still learning stuff. I get to apply my knowledge sometimes for the first time but I don't really learn anything major or even minor. I pick up bits and pieces of knowledge and I may see different ways of expressing certain ideas in my source languages.

But it took me a long time to become specialised, years in fact.


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Ekaterina Chashnikova  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:56
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
Other - No time at all Jun 20, 2013

I am a pharmacist originally, and I never had any doubts about my specialization. Medicine and pharmacy are wide enough to study them for your entire life.

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Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:56
German to English
About twenty years Jun 20, 2013

I have only recently decided to focus on my favourite and strongest subjects, which are technical translation and contracts. I don't necessarily refuse other work, but I no longer apply for work outside my chosen range. The results so far are encouraging, and I am now getting far more and larger jobs of the type I enjoy and far less "miscellaneous fragments".

Steve K.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 08:56
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Ditto Jun 20, 2013

Steve Kerry wrote:

I have only recently decided to focus on my favourite and strongest subjects, which are technical translation and contracts. I don't necessarily refuse other work, but I no longer apply for work outside my chosen range. The results so far are encouraging, and I am now getting far more and larger jobs of the type I enjoy and far less "miscellaneous fragments".

Steve K.


What Steve says really resonates my thoughts, too.

You specialize in something because you like the subject matter and when work comes along in your speciality -- well, the work is more fun and enjoyable. Also, the more familiar you are with certain subjects the faster and more accurate you can work. Which ultimately equates to more spondoolicks.
However, there is the downside that if market forces result in less work coming in from specific areas of industry, say, then you have to re-adapt and re-invent yourself.

BTW, in answer to the question. You never really stop do you.


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