Specialization according to Elissavet Botsaki
1) Why do you specialize? What are the benefits and drawbacksof this approach?
Whether to specialize or not is a very controversial issue that I have experienced before, during and after my studies. I understand those who support that it is better not to specialize because transla
tion industry, most of the times, is not a well-paid job so being more willing to translate every genre, every time, every text that you have been asked to do so, means more jobs and eventually more profit. However, I believe that a translator who is knew to the industry is better to stand more firmly on his feet by gaining more and more experience and knowledge in the areas he feels more confident to translate and has a better understanding of the genres. In my case, I chose 2-3 genres that I have a better understanding and experience on, apart from the more general interest genre, so at the moment I expand my already existed knowledge and experience by focusing on these genres, by attended more seminars in order to approach the texts from the point of view not only of the translators but also of the people who specialize in that area, like lawyers. I feel more confident when I learn, for instance, about common law or insurance and then I translate a text of this genre and I have a better understanding and decision making regarding issues that may arise through the translation process, like terminology. Regarding drawbacks, well financial ones when you reject jobs of the fields you are not particularly interested in translating. Another one would be what happens when you decide to add more specializations? Is it considered to be naïve? For instance, you have built a career and you are successful and then you want to explore more genres, does it mean that you may not be preferred by clients because you are new to this area of specialization? I believe that once you have gained the experience of translation and translation techniques etc., you are competent enough to explore more options.
2) Do you feel that marketing yourself as a specialist allows you/would allow you to charge higher rates?
I believe that any specialist should charge higher rates. You have devoted time and lot of effort to specialize, especially in genres such as legal, medical etc, this makes you a specialist and you should charge higher rates. However, this does not always happen whether because you are a new translator or because there are other colleagues with many years of experience. I believe that all of us should be given the chance to get these many years of experience and be able to charge the rates we deserve.
3) How and why did you select your specialist field(s)?
Before I enroll to my MA program, I always wanted to translate legal, medical and scientific texts. Their context, linguist style as well as their various genres gives you the opportunity to learn about specialized terminology and different contexts. Legal texts are always more serious and complex, medical texts are descriptive and scientific texts are also descriptive and follow a cause and effect structure. Through all the texts I learn about law, life, treatments and my knowledge is not only limited to terminology and syntax but it gets a more universal side, something that enables me to remember all these different terms and approach all the texts more confidently.
4) How would you go about adding another specialist area?
Gaining more knowledge and specialization is of utmost importance to me. At the moment, I would like to practice more on the areas of specialization that I already work. The specialist areas that I would like to add is marketing, comics, fashion, tourist texts, so genres that are more creative, I have translated some of these in the past but because of their demanding nature and context I would like to attend specialized seminars and get more qualifications and practice. I already research a lot regarding comics and marketing translation and I find it truly interesting to find patterns and ways of translating such texts.
Is Greek and English Translator with a BA in English Language and Literature, an Advanced Diploma in TESOL.
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