Poll: Do you specialize in a certain field?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 00:29
SITE STAFF
Dec 24, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you specialize in a certain field?".

This poll was originally submitted by Umang Dholabhai. View the poll results »



 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 08:29
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, but I accept and welcome other jobs as well Dec 24, 2013

Paraphrasing the English poet William Cowper: Variety's the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour. I like translating medicine, but I need to intermix these jobs with other disciplines...

 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 10:29
Turkish to English
+ ...
Yes, but I accept other jobs as well Dec 24, 2013

I specialise in Turkish to English legal translation, and wish that I could work solely in this field, in which I can earn more since legal translation pays a premium over general translation and I can work faster due to my familiarity with the subject matter, but unfortunately demand for this sort of work comes in fits and starts, so I often have to take what comes along.

 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 16:29
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes, but I accept other jobs as well Dec 24, 2013

I've had the following conversation sooooooooo many times at parties.

"So, Julian. What do you do for a living?"
"I'm a translator."
"Oh, that must be soooo interesting. What kind of literature do you translate?"
"I don't translate literature. I'm a technical translator."
"Oh (said with a blank face and obvious disappointment). So, you translate computers then?"
"Well, it's not just computers...."

This is about when the conversation nosedives and the other person spots someone else in the room and drifts away from me as if I'm a dog with fleas.

It's not just computers. Almost everything runs on computers (read 'chips' and 'microcomputers'). Understand computers and how they work, and that's your start in technical translation. Even the machine tools (i.e. lathes, machining centers, industrial robots) that I cut my teeth on in the early years of my translation career were not a 'pure' technology -- they are an amalgam of pneumatics, hydraulics, mechanics, computer (NC) control, and other bibs and bobs.

Even though I can bore people to death at parties by telling them that I've translated in industrial automation for 20+ years doesn't mean I'm stuck to one particular technology -- there is so much technological overlap that I can apply my translation skills to a wide range of fields in the industrial sector.

So saying, I don't accept everything unconditionally. There are still lots of things outside of my 'comfort zone.'

Small edit

[Edited at 2013-12-25 01:55 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:29
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Multi-directional mind Dec 24, 2013

Teresa Borges wrote:

Paraphrasing the English poet William Cowper: Variety's the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour. I [sic] need to intermix these jobs with other disciplines...


I used to specialize only in literature, TV & film, and Civil Engineering, aside from a couple of working fields. Then I was offered a job that wasn't even among my working fields, but which projects turned into a steady workflow. So now I am open to a variety of fields, provovoideth prjects are interested and the rates are acceptable.icon_wink.gif


 

Reed James
Chile
Local time: 03:29
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I specialize, but stray to a point Dec 24, 2013

My two main fields of specialization are business and law. Even so, these two areas could easily include a bit of medicine or technology. For instance, a contract for a wind or solar farm could be replete with technological and technical terms. When I translate home studies (social worker reports) from Mexico, there are plenty of psychology terms that I must navigate. And I'm not complaining. I love it this way!

What I will not touch are purely scientific/technical/medical documents that require one to be an expert in the field in order to grasp them.


 

Alberto Montpellier  Identity Verified
Cuba
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
I specialize, but I accept other fields as well Dec 24, 2013

I'm working on a project that requires to grasp many fields. From automation to food. I'm currently in the industrial world, but I also do medical stuff.
Any field that's interesting I accept, considering the subject matter isn't too scientific that requires an actual specialist in the area.


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
Julian, I feel your pain (channeling Bill Clinton) Dec 24, 2013

Julian Holmes wrote:

I've had the following conversation sooooooooo many times at parties.

"So, Julian. What do you do for a living?"
"I'm a translator."
"Oh, that must be soooo interesting. What kind of literature do you translate?"
"I don't translate literature. I'm a technical translator."
"Oh (said with a blank face and obvious disappointment). So, you translate computers then?"
"Well, it's not just computers...."

This is about when the conversation nosedives and the other person spots someone else in the room and drifts away from me as if I'm a dog with fleas.

It's not just computers. Almost everything runs on computers (read 'chips' and 'microcomputers'). Understand computers and how they work, and that's your start in technical translation. Even the machine tools (i.e. lathes, machining centers, industrial robots) that I cut my teeth on in the early years of my translation career were not a 'pure' technology -- they are an amalgam of pneumatics, hydraulics, mechanics, computer (NC) control, and other bibs and bobs.

Even though I can bore people to death at parties by telling them that I've translated in industrial automation for 20+ years doesn't mean I'm stuck to one particular technology -- there is so much technological overlap that I can apply my translation skills to a wide range of fields in the industrial sector.

So saying, I don't accept everything unconditionally. There are still lots of things outside of my 'comfort zone.'

Small edit

[Edited at 2013-12-24 13:10 GMT]


When I was living in New York City and trying to break out as a freelance translator, a similar conversation would take place at church socials, with the exception that they'd ask So, you work for the UN then? “No,” I'd respond. “I translate a number of materials, legal, technical, etc.”

But if their faces drew a blank, it was partly my fault because I wasn't exactly selling myself all too well, especially when I was in front of a pretty girl (and I'm an introvert).

So, I stopped going to socials and I now send brochures instead.*



*Facetious statement.

[Edited at 2013-12-24 17:01 GMT]


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
The days of one specialization are history Dec 24, 2013

In my first days, I'd say that, as a legal translator, I specialized in contracts and such. But my career has taken me through different detours, learning new specializations along the way. I started with software and cell phone technologies, dipped in finances and an assortment of technical disciplines.

Right now, I've handled civil engineering, oil & gas, airports, health care (for many years) and medicine. Within software localization (which I have done for more than 6 years), I'm specializing in Internet security right now.

We translators in the 21st century wear many specialization hats and become a sort of mini encyclopedias. For a bookworm like me, that's a dream come true.


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 16:29
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
I feel your pain, too, Mario Dec 25, 2013

I call this the 'introvert but dying-to-burst-out-into-a-1,000-blossoms translator' syndrome icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif

Mario Chavez wrote:

.... especially when I was in front of a pretty girl (and I'm an introvert).



Been there done that -- crumbled up miserably in front of pretty girls -- on countless occasions in my youth.

But I've found that I'm popular with the opposite sex more than ever before. Maybe it's because of my 'unbearably sexy translator appeal'? icon_biggrin.gif

Merry Xmas, y'all!

Small but vital edit

[Edited at 2013-12-25 12:08 GMT]


 


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