The standard advice to any translator trying to move upmarket is to specialise. It obviously makes sense – you should be able to produce a better standard of work, command higher fees and build stronger relationships with your customers. However, I sometimes wonder if this advice gives the misleading impression that the translation industry (and the world) can be separated into distinct niches.
I am currently working on an expert witness opinion for a claim for damages.
But legal texts are never just legal: laws, disputes, contracts are almost always about something in the real world (the exception, I guess, are laws whose sole purpose is to regulate the legal system). In this case, the expert witness opinion is about an industrial property dispute.
So it’s industrial property.
Not so fast. This industrial property dispute is between two (groups of) pharmaceutical companies.
So it’s pharmaceuticals.
Or maybe not. Most of the details of the expert witness opinion actually relate to the financial impact of the disputed behaviour in terms of loss of earnings, impact on market share and so on.
So my legal text is actually a legal-industrial property-pharmaceuticals-corporate finance text.
The world is a messy place. And sometimes the translation industry is, too.