Professional Development 2018: patent translation vs subtitling. Which one is best?
Thread poster: Maika Vicente Navarro

Maika Vicente Navarro  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 10:34
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nov 21, 2017

Dear translator colleagues:

I am looking at new professional development courses for 2018 to continue developing my translation skills. There are two courses that I like yet I do not know which one is the best investment: subtitling or patent translation.

Which one would you recommend? Or, would you recommend other courses?

My language pairs are English to Spanish.

Thank you very much for your help.

Best regards,

Maika Vicente


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
Let me ask you... Nov 22, 2017

Maika Vicente Navarro wrote:

Dear translator colleagues:

I am looking at new professional development courses for 2018 to continue developing my translation skills. There are two courses that I like yet I do not know which one is the best investment: subtitling or patent translation.

Which one would you recommend? Or, would you recommend other courses?

My language pairs are English to Spanish.

Thank you very much for your help.

Best regards,

Maika Vicente


Which specialization draws you in more strongly? Patents or subtitling? Because they couldn't be more different. It's like cosmetology texts and mineralogy studies.

You have to admit that the question, if you examine it at length, may come across as silly to yourself after a while. Why? Among other reasons, because you have all the time in the world to test the waters. Absent experience in patents, for instance, you pick patent translation. The instruction or course may be promising but it could be a letdown. That's a risk embedded in everything humans being endeavor to do, like the guy who has $10,000 and wants to invest them in a small business: should it be t-shirt printing or a pizza parlor? Other people's experiences may be illustrative but of little value to him until he tries his hand and takes a calculated risk.

Every specialization has its exciting moments as well as its boring aspects. Besides, have you ever read a patent, or a patent application? It can be very dry stuff.

icon_smile.gif


 

Jan Truper
Germany
Local time: 02:34
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
... Nov 22, 2017

I don't know which of these two is better, since I don't know much about patent translation.
But I am confident that the subtitling market will be booming over the coming years, because Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Apple will try to pummel each other with investments into new content for their respective VOD services.

Also, in the long run, I imagine MT might do some damage in the field of patent translation, while a human brain will still be indispensable for translation of entertainment content, which does require creativity (MT will not be able to convey context-specific humor in the foreseeable future, for example).

[Edited at 2017-11-22 09:23 GMT]


 

Jan Truper
Germany
Local time: 02:34
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
... Nov 22, 2017

Jan Truper wrote:
....Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Apple will try to pummel each other with investments....


https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/nov/21/amazon-lord-of-the-rings-tv-netflix-disney-apple


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 02:34
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Are you really, really serious about patent translation? Nov 22, 2017

Way back in another life, I worked at a printer´s for a couple of years, proofreading patent specifications.
OK, it really was a different world, before everything went electronic. They were still using linotype printers. I was the ´proofreader´s copyholder´, not the qualified proofreader, and we read galley prints aloud in turn, stopping each other whenever anything was not ´as copy´. It was useful experience, but I found another job as soon as I could!

A lot of things have changed since then, but the requirements for meticulous, nit-picking attention to detail, the fixed expressions and absolute precision probably have not. It is not an area you can dabble in. If you specialise, you need to specialise seriously, and keep in practice. You have to specialise in a particular technical field, not just generally. This is where the expression ´state of the art´ actually comes from.

Subtitling, on the other hand, is not all cartoons, thrillers and soap operas.

I don't do subtitling either, but I have worked on texts for a number of commercial films and marketing presentations, instructions for processes and snippets of documentaries. There is definitely a market there. Think of all the serious lectures and demos on YouTube... Or Webinars of all kinds. It is an art in itself to keep the translation concise enough to fit across the screen AND include all the essential details.

Being able to handle the technical equipment for subtitling - and trying out whether you can cope with the audio side while typing fast enough, or whatever the personal, physical requirements are... might be very useful, and it does not in fact tie you down to a specific genre or subject area. You have to take it seriously, invest in proper equipment and keep your skills up to date all round there too.

That is not for me either, but in your position I personally would go for the subtitling. I don´t have the self-discipline for patents! Or in practice, I might find a third option, rather than the two you mention.

There is a market for both, but it really is a matter of temperament, so ask yourself what you can envisage yourself spending time on - lots of time - for the next five or ten years...



[Edited at 2017-11-22 10:43 GMT]


 

Sarah Lewis-Morgan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:34
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Christine is right Nov 22, 2017

You need a fairly technical background as well as an understanding of the specifics of patents to be able to translate them. In my previous life I spent about 8 years working for a firm of patent attorneys - not on the technical side - and I wouldn't touch patent translations. I might do the odd legal one, but patents are a different matter. If you are comfortable with technical details and meticulous language, then maybe it is for you.

 


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