Quickly upon beginning freelance translation, you will find that many clients require that you “specialize” in the field in which the document is written. In other words, that you already have experience with and understand the majority of the industry-specific words to be translated. This allows for easier translation and quicker turnaround, or return of the translation to the client. A translator may specialize in a number of fields, and subfields within those fields. For example, you may specialize in medical translations, and be an expert on translating medical equipment or pharmaceutical supplies. Or you may specialize in legal translations, and be an expert on immigration law. There are literally a limitless amount of options for specialization.
A translator may specialize in a number of fields, or focus mainly on one field, but your specializations will affect the jobs that you receive. Training in various specialization areas is available through online translator education courses, workshops, webinars and seminars. However, actually working in your specialization fields is a great way to familiarize yourself with industry-specific terms and is extremely appealing to potential clients. The fields that you specialize in are up to you, and you can always expand into additional areas, but when starting off, it is good to go with what you know. If you spent your entire life around horses, why not get into the translation of equine terms, for instance. Specialization is also an exciting way to branch into subfields of translation. Freelance translators are often hired for video game localization, subtitling and voice over work. Allow your personal interests to influence your decisions when specializing; it makes for much more efficient translating.