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Sara Colombo: How did I choose my specialisation field

Hi everybody! So how are you doing? I can't believe autumn is coming so fast! As much as I like the summer, I can't wait for September to come. If you read this announcement you'll know why :)

My second webinar for Russian-speaking translators is approaching fast, too. This time we are going to talk about blogging as part of translation business. You can check the details and register here.

And now let's get down to business :) Hope you remember that we are talking about specialisation. And this time my guest is Sara Colombo. Sara is a freelance translator, interpreter, blogger and author. She is going to be one of the speakers at our September Conference and give us some important advice about transforming a blog into a book. So if you are blogger and if you are looking for a way to make a book using your blog posts, Sara is the person you need!
You can read Sara's blog at Balance Your Words and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. And here's her story:
I earned a degree in foreign languages and wanted to freelance but believed that, given the financial and market circumstances that this profession has to face in Italy, it would have been an insane choice. So I decided to take a permanent job in a medical company that was looking for a university graduate with strong linguistics skills, and started to work within the marketing office.

The job was interesting, there were many other young graduates and nice colleagues, and I was asked to translate, speak or interpret. But not as often as I wished. On top of that, I felt that I could not put into practice my ideas, and quickly found myself facing a scaring dead-end: I was not using languages, not growing as I wanted to. So I decided to leave the company and gave my dreams a chance.

During the time spent working within such challenging environment, however, I learned to develop a wide and precise medical terminology. Indeed, my daily activities included face-to-face specialists and manager meetings, which were mainly focused on technical and detailed aspects regarding our products, patients and general communication strategy (often addressed to our other Spanish and American markets). Even if initially I disliked that experience, it proved to be very useful.

On one side, I understood that I had to be a translator: I had to use, learn and play with words, concepts, values. While on the other, that I loved working with localization, marketing and transcreation.

So I started to look for clients within the marketing, advertising, but also localization field. You might wonder what does the medical field have in common with creative texts? Which, by the way, is a good point. The answer lies in globalisation. Communication is a key aspect within the medical industry, and companies (both small and large) like to promote and share, let alone managing their institutional website and marketing materials.

Globalisation, by its side, has changed the way we communicate and share our knowledge. Health and medicine have turned into global issues covering a wide range of topics and problems, at national as well as international level. Markets are interconnected, health and medical specialists can’t ignore the cultural values beyond a foreign market anymore, because also patients and potential customers can easily reach online information, and, as a consequence, change their opinion, or make a different choice.

These years within the medical field have proved to be really – extremely – interesting and resourceful. I worship the chance I had to work in that big company (it is a client, now), because it baked up my linguistic education, and proved to be a memorable experience.

Indeed, after all those translated texts, meetings, and courses, other companies within fields such as marketing and advertising started to contact me to collaborate on different typologies of materials eg. fitness (my beloved!), food, beauty, but also research and ethic.

My suggestion? Don’t be a naysayer: try many things, absorb, learn and  listen to your heart (literally), because the moment it will bounce you will know that is your path, and will find what you love most. 

Dear Sara, many thanks for sharing your valuable experience! 


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