I have a question about the "specialty fields" area of the profile.
Thread poster: F_Alves

Local time: 15:16
English to Portuguese
Feb 4, 2014

Hello, I just recently subscribed to this site. I have some small experience with translation, and by small I mean less than one month as a freelance translator for the website eHow.com.

I was trying to better my profile, which so far is mostly blank, but I don't know if I could honestly say I have a field of expertise. I have majored on the english language, and my final paper was on translation studies, but I have no specialization in any specific area of translation.

I do feel more qualified to translate to some subjects than to others (I would be lost translating about, say, biology, but not so much when translating a text about history or art), but I am unsure if I could claim I have an expertise in those areas.

Should I list these as being my 'specialty fields', even though I don't have a formal specialization in them? I am leaning towards 'probably not', but it doesn't hurt to ask.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:16
Member (2007)
+ ...
Welcome to ProZ.com Feb 4, 2014


You don't have to list specialisations on this site, or in your CV etc, but of course potential clients will need to have an idea of what you can do for them. So you do need some "working fields". I suggest you have a look through the long list on the profile updater and check those that you feel you can work in. As you say you'd feel happy with history etc, then it would be sensible to leave the technical subjects unchecked as that would maybe give a confused message, unless you have a specific reason for including one or two.

Later on, specialisations will become clearer as you get experience, you know what you like doing, and you can study the subject areas in both your languages (self-study is often enough but you do need to know the terminology).


Domenico Trimboli  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:16
Member (2013)
English to Italian
Hobbies and passions Feb 4, 2014

As Sheila already suggested, the point is to list subjects that you feel you can work in.

At the very beginning, they often coincide with your hobbies and passions: a certain sport, art, video games (they require skills in localization, though), food & beverages - anything. Try to focus on your interests, to think of what kind of texts you've been exposed so far in both your source and (more important) target language. You'll be surprisedicon_smile.gif

If you are serious about starting a career in translation, I'd also recommend you to start studying a different subject you'd like to work in. You can study it by yourself (have a look at university programs in that field and at their syllabus in particular) or maybe you can find MOOC for beginners (have a look at Coursera.org). Anyway, whatever the way you choose, develop an expertise: it is fundamental for you to succeed.

Last, but not least, you should start to 'study' marketing principles for freelance translators. There are lots of resources online - eg try to Google Marta Stelmaszak or Corinne McKay and you'll find their blogs. Read them, an then read them again and again. They'll save you the time you'd waste working for peanuts if you didn't know how to market yourself effectively.

Good luckicon_wink.gif


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:16
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
What ProZ.com means by "specialisations" Feb 4, 2014

F_Alves wrote:
I don't know if I could honestly say I have a field of expertise. ... Should I list these as being my 'specialty fields', even though I don't have a formal specialization in them?

It is good that you want to be honest, but don't shoot yourself in the foot.

I don't think that ProZ.com means the same thing that professional translators normally mean when they use the word "specialty fields". For ProZ.com, those fields are simply a means to help clients match search queries to your profile. What you should do, therefore, is decide in what fields would you most prefer to get jobs, and list those as your "specialty" fields. You're not being dishonest when you do that, because ProZ.com doesn't mean what we normally mean when we use the term.

The "specialty" fields are the fields that will be shown on your profile page without any user interaction. The "working" fields are also shown on your profile page, if the user clicks a link. The "interest" fields are not shown on the profile page, but they are used in the searches.

You can have up to 10 "specialty" fields -- choose ten of them.
You can have up to 30 "working" fields -- choose thirty of them.

Then, in the "About me" section of your profile page, state what your real specialisms are.

I'm quite certain that I'm right about this, because if ProZ.com really meant what we normally mean by the term "specialist field", they would not have allowed you to select TEN of them.

[Edited at 2014-02-04 21:37 GMT]


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