Skip to main content

How did you choose your specialty fields? Passion first! Ewa Erdmann's story

Would you like to know more about specialization in the language and translation industry? Ewa Erdmann is going to share her story with you now. How did she choose her fields? Here's what she says:

Passion first
Just as doctors and lawyers choose areas they want to specialise in, translators should decide what field they want to pursue. Unquestionably, it is a very important decision, since it will determine their future work, marketing efforts and lifestyle.

The reasons behind their choice vary from translator to translator, but most frequently the determining factors are experience (being previously employed in a particular industry), passion / interests (depending on how strongly they feel about this area of specialisation) or academic background. 

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.

Ironically, both of them are totally unrelated. Legal language is very rigid and technical, and most of the time there is only one correct Polish equivalent for every English legal term that you absolutely have to use, and you also need to strictly follow the format of the original document, i.e. you have to make sure that everything is in the right place. You should also try to retain the sentence structure, so when it sounds awkward in the source language it would probably sound weird in the target language too, and let’s face it, most of the time legal documents do sound awkward and unnatural. What I enjoy the most about legal translation is playing a detective who pursues exactly the right or the closest equivalent of a given term: comparing definitions, looking things up in legislation, making sure a particular term is used in this area of law and in this context. Part of the fun is the exploring and the other part is actually finding the right term, which is very rewarding. The same rule applies to medical translation, which I am starting to enjoy more and more.

When it comes to marketing translation though, it is a completely different story, and the rules are... ehm, what rules? When I think of marketing translation, the first thing that springs to my mind is creativity, and this is what I mostly rely on when translating marketing materials. Instead of concentrating on the meaning of every word, I work on conveying the whole message whilst trying to produce an appealing translation that reads naturally and is effective marketing-wise. The focus, therefore, is on the reader, i.e. potential customer – will they find a product or service attractive after reading my translation? Would this word make the product more tempting to them? Marketing translation allows me to play with the language, have fun with words, phrases, idioms and sentences giving me much more freedom than legal translation. 

Although completely diverse, legal and marketing specialisations give me some sort of balance between being very limited as to the choice of equivalents and almost free when translating. I find both of them very stimulating and rewarding – this is why I chose them, and this is why I am going to stick to them.

Dear Ewa, thank you so much for sharing your story!

Моя фотографияEwa Erdmann (@transliteria) is a qualified and experienced freelance English-Polish translator with both linguistics and legal background. She provides translation, interpreting, website localization, editing and proofreading services for individuals and businesses. You can learn more about Ewa if you visit her website transliteria. And I absolutely love Ewa's blog where she shares her experience with the readers.


Popular posts from this blog

Clients vs translators: how do we show that we're honest?

This is a personal post, and I'd really like to hear the opinion of my colleagues about such situations and how to deal with them. My situation is kind of like the one described in Mox's blog . In December a new prospective client wrote to me asking about my availabiility for a new project. When I read the overall description of the project, I got really interested in it. But the client needed to know exactly how much time it would take and how much it would cost. No problem, just send me the text to look through or a part of it so I could get the gist of the style, level of complexity etc. In the reply that person just stated the wordcount, but there was no sample. I thought, maybe they didn't understand me. English is not my native language after all. In my reply, I stated the estimated time and cost based on the client's wordcount, but I repeated the request to see a part of the text. And then the person thanked me and ... disappeared.

How to Reply To a Negative Feedback About Your Translation

We are humans and we screw up many times! And receiving a negative feedback about your translation work if one of them. As translation professionals, we work daily with people from different cultures and backgrounds. So, it is quite important to keep a level of etiquette while we do our business communication. Whatever your years of experience or your educational background, there are times when daily life affects our business badly. It is how we react to these situations what makes a big difference between professional translation service providers and those who are not. I was lucky enough when I started my translation career back in 2004 to read about the “ A Complaint Is a Gift ” business book and receive my training by a true professional Arabic translator. My colleague taught me the tactics of a professional’s reply to a negative feedback and the book mentions the bright side of receiving a complaint about your work. If the client does not like your work, he can just m

15 interesting facts about the English language

I prepared this list for one of my English classes. And then it dawned on me that I can share it with you, too! So here are 15 facts about the English language that I find very interesting. Hope you do, too ;) Rudyard Kipling was fired as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. His dismissal letter said, "I'm sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language. This isn't a kindergarten for amateur writers." No language has more synonyms than English.