I must admit that my clients dictated my specialisms at the start of my career as a freelance translator. Ceramics was the subject of my first large project; it took me six weeks to successfully complete 30,000 words.
Since then, I have carefully expanded my range of specialisms because, as you may know, we cannot become legal experts or doctors in a couple of weeks.
Surprisingly, one day a client approached me to translate a football-related commercial. I love football, so I automatically accepted the project.
Terms such as one-two, fixtures or squad list may pose a challenge for a linguist who does not have football as his/her specialism. Why? Spanish as well as any other language, has its own specific football slang, which must be learned.
Luckily, I have been learning this slang since the age of 5, when I used to listen to the radio because some matches were not broadcast on TV. I can say I have cultivated this specialism for over 20 years, and my brain seems to remember the voice of commentators vividly.
In contrast to ceramics or other subjects, the amount of parallel texts is low, and sometimes I found myself flicking through online sport newspapers to find out cultural specific terms such as “Red Devils” or “pig in the middle”.
I have now worked on several football related projects, and I love it: I am fast and accurate, and the tone of my translations recalls those passionate comments that give goose bumps to many football fans.
Do you have a specialism you cultivated without formal training or education? I would love to hear from you!