Linguistic challenges are only the first hurdle qualified translators are expected to jump over. Linguists have to face new challenges in different areas of expertise every day, depending on the field of translation. After breaking down the language barrier, the next challenge is acquiring a deep understanding of the document we are translating, beyond its linguistic dimension. Qualified translators pay special attention to specialized terms and their specific definition in that specific context.
This can really put the translator's ability to test, because, apart from outstanding language skills, we are expected to have a perfect command of the subject area as an essential step of a highly-quality translation project. So what are the most challenging fields of translation?
Why is it important for translators to specialize?
The forces of technology in the developing world are making it necessary for translators and language experts to specialize in subject areas. This means that, apart from mastering the language combination, the translator must have an in-depth knowledge of the translation field for their translation to be remotely acceptable and trustworthy. It also appears that the more the language is in demand, the greater the need for the translator to specialize. It would be rather impractical for a Finnish translator to specialize, since this language is of low diffusion.
On the other hand, if your language pair is English and French, you might find it very beneficial to specialize in order to find a niche in such a large market. Your areas of specialization can put you ahead of your competition because they make your clients think of you as the go-to translator for that specific domain. Unlike your unspecialized counterparts, your knowledge in subject areas, specifically the most challenging translation fields, positions you ahead of many translators who provide generalized translation services.
Find out here how to correctly reflect your fields of expertise on your CV.
The most challenging fields of translationIf a translator decides to become an expert in a particular subject, they would logically begin to wonder what the most challenging translation fields are. If the purpose of specializing is to place yourself in a privileged position in the translation market, it makes little sense to specialize in low-demand fields of expertise. It is, in fact, more profitable to provide generalized translation services.
Medical translation is one of the most challenging translation fields because of how vast the required knowledge is. In order to accurately convey the meaning of a medical document, the translator needs to have much more than basic knowledge in medicine. The level of precision required by the medical translator is unmatched in any other area because the patient's life and safety are on the line. This is why you would need a fundamental understanding of medicine and strict quality assurance if you want to succeed as a medical translator and avoid serious legal consequences.
Medicine is one of the most challenging translation fields