Why is this supposedly mundane topic interesting to me? As a director on the board of a financial institution, I am responsible for reviewing financial reports every month. I am therefore very familiar with documents such as balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash flow statements and budgets, to name a few.
This familiarity with financial documents, such as end of year financial statements, (internal and external) audit reports, directors’ and managers’ reports, meeting minutes, bank statements, loan documents and investment documents, is a perfect scenario for specialising in a subject matter as a translator.
Why is this? When you are intimately familiar with a subject matter, you are able to render the document in the target language with expert care and knowledge. As a subject matter expert, the quality of my output is expected to be superior to that of a generalist translator or someone who is handling the topic for the first time. Not only am I familiar with the subject of finance, but I also enjoy it — a win-win situation in a working environment.
Specialising in a particular field also results in efficiency when translating. Since I am deeply familiar with the terminology, and have frequent, real-life experience using this type of language, as opposed to just having theoretical knowledge, I can work faster, be confident of accuracy and deliver to my customers in a shorter timeframe than when working in another topic in which I do not specialise or with which I am less familiar. This is another win-win scenario.
In my case, I also have an academic background in accounting and the related subject of economics, which gives me a deeper understanding of material which I translate in these fields.
Specialising in a subject matter also allows you to earn higher rates because you are recognised as an expert in your field. In addition, your clients have more confidence in the work you produce and are also likely to refer you to their colleagues in the field.
Having specialised in this field for years, I have also built up a lovely financial terminology bank among other resources which contribute to efficiency and accuracy when working in this field.
Did you know that translators work better in fields in which they specialise? Translators choose their subject areas differently. If you are a translator, what are your favourite fields to work in? What do you specialise in? What are the main factors that drove you to work in those fields?
Let me know in the comments and connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.