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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.


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