Choosing a specialisation may look difficult. At the beginning of our careers, we all have this idea that we have no experience and therefore, we can’t be specialised in any area. Well, we can. In my view, experience is not directly related to knowledge. But of course, the more experienced you are, the more knowledgeable you become.
What is a speciality?
This question almost sounds patronising, because everyone knows what a speciality is. But I don’t mean it that way. I want to explore what a speciality may be, for a translator starting their career. We should always look for those fields we are more comfortable with. And when we choose a field it doesn’t mean we will be forever in that field, we may change if our career takes a different path.
Sometimes, becoming a translator is not the beginning of our careers, but a career change. That means we are experts in a specific field and we can use that expertise and experience in our translator’s career. Some people have other qualifications and they decide to go for translation, again they can use that expertise.
For those who have other qualifications is easier to choose, as they know exactly where to go.
When I started my career, I’ve set my specialisations as biology and science, because it is something I love and that I’ve always had great grades at. I am quite confident in those fields. However, my first paid client was an airline and I worked with them for about 8 years. It is also another field I love, so it became my speciality. I worked for some travel agencies as well.
My other main specialisation is Certified Translation or document translation. Because I am a Certified Translator, one of my main sources of income is Certified Translation. I help my clients get their documents ready for their applications to the Portuguese Government. Because I’ve done it for so long, I know what they need and I can provide them with the best service.
How to choose
It doesn’t have to be medical or law, it doesn’t have to be an academic field, it has to be something you love and are very confident with. If you like food and recipes, for example, you can specialise in culinary translation. The possibilities are endless, you just need to find what you really like to do and what you are best at. Then you will have your specialisation.