1) Why do you specialize? What are the benefits and drawbacks of this approach?
My main specialties come from my English Literature courses. My Bachelor and Master’s Degrees dealt with many literary themes and as a Greek native speaker who was taught these courses in English I felt that it was a lot easier to translate according to what I excelled at. Being more specialized allows me to work faster and have more in-depth knowledge on the subjects. That being said, I am not closing the door to any other possibilities. I am a person that believes in constant learning and exploring new horizons. Which is the reason that when I was asked to translate for a well known company that specializes in collagen based cosmetics I immediately accepted. Yes on one hand it was more difficult since it had unknown terminology but on the other hand I felt more educated after this experience. Additionally there are subjects that I can translate due to my personal experiences. I also work in a furniture shop, have extensive knowledge in interior design as well as building materials.
2) Do you feel that marketing yourself as a specialist allows you/would allow you to charge higher rates?
This is a tricky question. Being specialized in a theme that is not so common would indeed allow a person to charge more if they wanted. There other cases that some subjects are so ordinary that some people charge extremely low so as to be competitive. I am somewhere in the middle. I wish to be able to offer my customers quality results at reasonable prices. I will not charge too little just to get more customers if that would mean sacrificing the quality of my work over quantity. My prices are regulated according to what needs to be translated and how challenging it is.
3) How and why did you select your specialist field(s)?
As I have previously mentioned, my fields are based on my studies and my experiences. As a child I read a lot of books first in Greek and later on in English. Therefore when time came for me to choose what to study I went for English Literature. Additionally, I grew up in a family of furniture manufacturers and therefore have good knowledge on various additional fields like sales, furniture, interior design, marketing and building materials. In adding translation to those fields, it has helped me expand my knowledge as well as keeping my brain trained and vigilant!
4) How would you go about adding another specialist area?
I cannot claim that I will be able to know another subject as extensively as the ones I already know. I will however accept a new challenge like the cosmetics company, or an oil company and even terms and conditions of a webpage. I always make sure that I can indeed translate what has been asked of me. For example I will not accept a job that has specialized medical terms and themes since I am not familiar with such subjects. I always check what is being asked of me just to be sure that I can research it and translate it as it should.
Mary own a Master Degree in Comparative Literature and have been a professional translator for the past 8 years, specializing in English-Greek and vice versa.