You can’t be good at everything. That’s why most translators will have subject fields they specialize in. Either because:
- they have some academic or professional background in that field;
- they have some other kind of connection with a specific industry;
- they received relevant training related to a subject;
- they have significant experience in that specific field;
- or they simply have a strong interest and enjoy doing a lot of research related to it.
As to me, my ultimate goal is to do ONLY what I like. Don’t get me wrong. Every project I take on gets my full commitment, but I grow really excited when I receive a new project for a clothing brand, a new car model or some fun, appealing copy for a travel app… you get the idea. These are my personal interests; I am a consumer of this type of content. Talk about putting yourself in the customer shoes, right?
Chapter 1 – the girl who liked to play with nuts and bolts
When I think about it, my first contact ever with foreign languages was in fact with technical terminology. Growing up in a family business in the automotive industry, I soon started wondering what camshaft, Bremsbelag or coppricherchi meant. Then, at the age of 5, I would pester my parents wanting to enrol in school a year earlier so that I could learn to read. I finally beat them into enrolling me mid-schoolyear (ahh the eighties, no strict education rules or guidelines) and by the end of elementary school I got my way into middle school without being old enough by impressing the school board with a poem written under total pressure. By then, it was clear that despite my father’s efforts I was going to choose languages over engineering or management. I did kept involved in the family business until my father passed away, in my late twenties, and maintain, up until today, a solid network and a close relationship with this industry.
Chapter 2 – The travel junkie
With both my parents running a family business, I never got the chance to take long vacations. Instead, we would take short breaks in our home country, Portugal. So, I started building up my traveling bucket list and developing a serious interest for tourism. When I graduated, I started working in the international marketing department for a software development company. Part of my job was to take part in international trade fairs, so we were travelling around Central Europe all the time (that’s how I got to know one of my favourite cities ever, Ljubljana). Needless to say I got hooked! Since then, I’ve visited over a dozen countries and nearly 20 cities, in 3 different continents. I don’t take (many) pictures or write about my travels but I do love convincing other people to travel. As to myself, I don’t have a bucket list anymore, I have travel plans!
Chapter 3 – Passion for Fashion
The interest for fashion came about later. After struggling with a somewhat curvy figure since my teen years (the Kardashians weren’t a thing at the time), it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I decided to embrace a style that suited my body type and gained a strong interest in the fashion industry. I take it much more seriously nowadays, taking courses in this field and reading specific publications. Fashion, beauty and jewellery brands actually account for a significant part of my work, (over the past year, I have done over 300 transcreation jobs for the fashion industry). I love the fact that this type of brand does not require simple translation. More than conveying meaning, I love creating an impact and make the reader feel in a determined way.
What about you? How did you decide on your specialization(s)?