This week’s interviewee is Ewa Erdmann, an English-Polish translator and interpreter based in Dorset, England.
Here are Ewa’s thoughts on specialising:
Why do you specialise? What are the benefits and drawbacks of this approach?
Specialisation allows me to be seen as an expert in translation of specific fields, which in my case are law and marketing. Many of my colleagues take similar approach and specialise in up to three areas they are experts in. If communicated correctly, this practice attracts clients that operate in those fields, which gives me plenty of joy, since these are the projects I aim to receive. I constantly develop and work on my knowledge of the areas I chose as my specialisations, which means that when I receive a project, it will be a job well done. You can’t really be good at translating everything, so it is reasonable to focus on a few specialisations and excel at them. The only drawback I can think of is probably that when choosing just a few specialisations, you lose projects in other fields, but then you can turn this into a positive by recommending other colleagues who work in this particular area. This way, you probably won’t lose the client and you may be recommended in reciprocation.
Do you feel that marketing yourself as a specialist allows you to charge higher rates?
Yes, by all means. Since you will be seen as an expert in a particular field, you are allowed to charge your client an “expert’s rate”.
How and why did you select your specialist field(s)?
In my case, it was initially passion that lead to pursuing academic education and experience in my chosen fields. My main specialisations are legal and marketing translations. I am fascinated with both of them, especially from linguistic point of view, and this is the main reason why I enjoy translating legal documents and marketing texts such as website content, company and product descriptions, press releases, etc.
How would you go about adding another specialist area?
I would probably take on a university course or decide on one organised by Coursea. Otherwise, I would just read a lot and try to self-educate to the highest level possible enabling me to create flawless translations.
Ewa Erdmann (Transliteria) is an English-Polish translator and interpreter specialising in law and marketing. She is also a journalist for a Polish magazine MagazynPl issued in the UK. Ewa has an academic background in law, experience in marketing and a passion for languages. Always open-minded and enthusiastic about translation – this is what she does best.