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Many translation projects have a certain topic area call “niche” which requires specific knowledge in topic and punctual understanding of keyword terminology of the translator in order to be qualified for a certain project. This recall translator’s “Area of Expertise”. It can also call field of specialization, whichever you comfortable to apply has the same meaning.

Why translator must have area of expertise

Translator who possesses at least one (or more is better) area of expertise is standing higher chance to win a specific job offer and enjoy better pay rate. Translation industry as a whole is valuing more for translator who special in certain technical area in which they are willing to pay more to for translator who can handle such as complex and vital terminology documents accordingly.

If you do not have any niche knowledge at all, you will be regard as generic translator. The job that you are likely to get is general conversation and letters translation in which the kind of project is not very often today. This is a part of your responsibility to be able to determine your own translation area of expertise in order to provide the attractive approach into translation industry today.

What is the most popular niche in translation industry?

I doubt if there is a forever most popular niche in translation industry. Since high demand area changes over time. 20 years ago I think production industrial area could be high demand as well as labor law, but in recent years, probably it is computer and website contents related area that was in demand. But currently, translation of smart phone application and website localization is rising fast in demand. So I would conclude that few key below could be major area of expertise of all time.

Aerospace, Auto, Business, Computer, Engineer, Finance and Accounting, Law, Medical and Health Care, Science, Telecommunication
I project them as a whole category; however, you will need to look into detail of sub group by yourself for which group you know or interested the most, for example, Category of Finance, sub group includes insurance, properties, stock market, commodity, futures and etc.

How new translator can determine his area of expertise?

In order to understand what your niches are, you must look back into you previous and current experiences and interests. What industry and kind of work have you been employed and what you have been studying so long outside work for your own behalf.

For example, I have 10 years work experience. Among 10 years, it has been 8 years dedicating to import and retail industry. So retail business is my area of expertise in general. But there are sub-groups that I could offer to client.

I have been dealing with Health Ministry on FDA issue; therefore, this is my niche.
I have been importing and selling more than 1000 unique list of consuming goods; therefore food and beverage is my niche.
I have also handling some trade proposal; therefore, this is my niche. As I am dealing with international freight and logistic, this is certainly my niche.
I have been studying stock market investment on my own favor, this can be my niche.
As you can see, if you look inside yourself, you will be able to dig a lot of niche you probably don’t even know you have it!

What if, new translator does not have area of expertise?

I doubt if there is a person who absolutely no area of expertise. But if there is, and if you are the one, then, what can you do to overcome this?

It has been researched and admitted in area of human development science that

Man has potential to learn and gain professional knowledge in whatever he wish to know.
Brian Tracy, the World famous entrepreneur, sales person, speaker, author and trainer, he start off very poor and he has no knowledge of anything in particular except passion. When he was working as a supermarket staff, he was wishing to become a copywriter. He did not have a degree for it but he find books and information and studied hard like he could die with it. He possessed skill and knowledge in copywriter and soon he won a job as copy writer. When he wished to become real estate agent, he did the same as he won the job and boosted the sales record for the company.

If you are very sure that you do not have any area of expertise in particular to start off in translation industry, you can go and learn them. Feel free to be confidence that you will become an expert in that area sooner or later if you work hard on it.

How many area of expertise do you need to possess?

I think the more is the better. Having more area of expertise to translator can diversify your risk of lack of job during the down time of certain area. Another, having more than on niche increase the chance to approach more job all year round. But make sure that each area you know, you know it well enough. Something that you have been working for many years or studying on your own interested for couple years until you know well and able to close your eye and explain inside out is what suitable to call “your niche”