Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Can I Add a New Specialization?

Bette Frick and Liz Willis wrote about not specializing in their technical communications business in the latest issue of Intercom, the magazine of the Society for Technical Communication ("Focusing Your Business: Support for the Independent Consultant or Contractor"). Even though they are not specializing in any one technical area, they are focusing on providing only certain types of services that use their individual strengths.

My increased marketing seems to have paid off not only in more potential projects, but especially in more IT-related translation work. On the one hand, I appreciate that tendency, since I find such texts faster and easier to translate, with less terminology research required. While Ms. Frick and Ms. Willis state that as generalists they tend to learn more new things than specialists would, I found that most of the legal and business documents I receive for translation are pretty similar and, to me at least, not particularly interesting. After all, a contract is a contract, whether it's for selling a gadget, an assembly line or a cake.

On the other hand, a couple of times I worked on documents relating to clean energy technologies. While they required quite a bit of terminology research, I found they offered fascinating insights into, e.g., how wind turbines work. Since Germany is somewhat in the forefront of such technology, I am hoping to work on more documents relating to alternative energy.

While my non-translation background is in IT, not energy, a few more energy-related projects might launch me towards a new area of specialization ... Besides, pretty much all energy generation and distribution systems use some computer technology (as does just about anything else technical), so this could dove-tail nicely with my software background.

For the time being, at least, I do appreciate the relative ease and speed of IT projects, though. Keep them coming!


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