How To Pick A Translation Specialization Or Niche

Welcome back, everyone! My topic today covers why I chose to specialize and translate for the food and beverage (nutritional supplement) industries. This move has expanded my business, and I believe a specialization might help you also.

By the way, if you are someone who works in the food & bev. and nutritional supplement industry looking for a translator, please contact me by email so we can discuss your project privately.

What Does It Mean To Specialize?

You already know something about specializing since you most likely translate in certain language pairs and not others. Similarly, specializing in a niche or industry is another way to tailor your work to your strengths.

My speciality is food and beverage and the food (nutritional) supplement industry. I translate product descriptions and labels as well as informational materials that relate to nutrition and supplements.


Other translators might work exclusively in the legal field. This would make the most sense for you if, for instance, you have legal experience and also translate.

Alternately, if you are a language professional and have a background in classical music, you could choose to specialize in the music industry.

Picking a specialization is simply choosing an area of business that you have a lot of experience in, excel in, or want more jobs in. It is a way to focus your business and build strong connections you can draw on for years to come.

Which Specialization Is Right For You?

As you can probably see from my examples, it makes sense to pick a niche that relates to you, your previous experience, and your life. You don’t have to do this, but it will help point you in the right direction. It will also help you get jobs based on the experience you already have.

I don’t always do things the easy way, however, so I went about it a bit differently.

My speciality found me. I landed a few jobs translating ingredient labels and product descriptions for retailers in the US and UK, and realized I really enjoyed it much more than the other jobs I was receiving. The thrill of translating ingredient labels (something I had been reading my whole life, but for which I had to painstakingly research each word) was just the kind of challenge I enjoyed.

I built a huge terminology dictionary and bought a Spanish-English pharmaceutical dictionary (El Diccionario Terminológico de las Ciencias Farmacéuticas by La Real Academia Nacional De Farmacia to be exact!) and got to work. Those jobs gave me the experience to work for other clients in the same field, and I began to market myself with those clients in mind.

Before I knew it, the bulk of my work was focused on the food and nutritional industry.

I enjoy this type of work because it helps people. The way nutritional supplements can affect your day-to-day life is something that will never cease to amaze me. I personally take a vitamin B complex supplement for energy, biotin for hair and nail care, and 5-HTP occassionally for the daily grind.


In this field, which I’ve grown to learn so much about, I feel that I can work efficiently and make a real difference.

Building On Your Past

Now that I look back on my childhood, I remember spending hours in the aisles at the local pharmacy reading product labels. I was mesmerized by Spanish translations of beauty products then, and still am today! When I started receiving jobs in the nutritional supplement industry, the big picture just clicked.

21462302_10159198343110459_6707166866317896756_nIMAGE BY: JILLIAN KOSTORA DA SILVA

You might find that your translation specialization is the missing piece of your work puzzle that you never even thought was missing. It certainly happened that way for me.

The Benefits Of Specializing

I find translation specialization beneficial for me for several reasons. Here are a few that spring to mind first:

  1. It limits my work to things I enjoy doing and increases my happiness and work satisfaction. I look forward to receiving assignments that I’m prepared for!
  2. The speed and quality of my work skyrocketed. Higher productivity = more money.
  3. From a business standpoint, picking a translation specialization helps you stand out in a market where certain translators are a dime a dozen. If you’re the supplement translator, people remember that. If you’re the general translator who does all things, you are much less memorable in an already saturated market.

By Doing Less, I Can Do More

Specializing increased my satisfaction, productivity, and marketability. It’s amazing how cutting back and focusing paved the way to more jobs. I wouldn’t have believed it myself, but I’ve seen it. I’ve also spoken with other freelancers in a number of fields who’ve had the same success.

Let me know about your experiencing with specializing. I’d also love to answer questions you have about getting started.

If this post helped you, share it with a freelancer or translator who might like it too! You can also follow me on social media at Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

See you soon!


Translation Services: Jillian’s Story

Welcome to my blog! I am the owner of JK Spanish and Portuguese Translation Services. As you might guess from the name, I offer translation services in Spanish, Portuguese and English. I hope this page becomes a place for other translators to learn about the business through the things that work for me. I want to share tips and tricks with you and learn yours as well. To break things up, we’ll share some translation humor and play with words.

Image by: Magdalena Roeseler via flickr

I’m really glad to have you here!

Since I want this to be a place where we share, I’ll go first. It seems only fair. So, how did I get here? What is my daily translation life like? How is my translation business moving me closer to an authentic life where I spend plenty of time with my family? It’s all about flexibility, patience, and commitment. Lots of reading and studying have helped too! I find that setting up a routine based on deadlines has brought me to a place where I can plan my day, get everything done and still have time for fun things like reading and playing with my son. Being actively involved in his life has motivated me to be my own boss. It’s not a choice, it’s a necessity!

Specialized Translation Services For The Food (Nutritional) Supplement Industry

At a relatively young age I knew I loved the culture of words. However, I didn’t know that love would lead me to South America and a translation business. It’s been quite an adventure! I’ve come to believe in following your instincts and letting life take you where it points- just keep your hands on the wheel.

As I gained clients and cultivated my business, I realized I was specializing… and enjoying it! Today, my focus leans toward business translation services such as advertising, marketing and e-commerce particularly in the food & beverage and food (nutritional) supplement industries. I enjoy that work because it’s an engaging but rewarding challenge.

translation services vitamin b complex bottle and supplements
Image by Jillian Kostora da Silva 2017

The majority of translations that currently I handle are product listings, product descriptions and manufacturer/ingredient labels. My specialization started happening naturally and then I nudged it along. Yours might be doing the same and I encourage you to keep a global view of your work so you can respond positively to trends like this.

I also work with many different clients translating everything from web pages and business communication to immigration paperwork and legal documents. I enjoy that type of work because I genuinely like to help people, especially when it comes to communicating. That ties into my personal story.

Language has always been a part of my life in many ways and it feels only natural that it’s now my career.

My Journey Deep Into Language

For over fifteen years I’ve been working hard building a solid reputation as a translator. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work with languages. Growing up in Upstate New York, but hailing from a small city in Lancaster County, PA where Pennsylvania Dutch (an Americanized dialect of German) was spoken more often than English, I gained a unique insight to the use of language.

Both my maternal and paternal grandparents were multilingual. Combined, they spoke a total of six languages: Russian, Slovak, Hungarian, Polish, PA Dutch and English! Unfortunately, I never learned much more than a few words, but when I met a Spanish-speaking Dominican-American family at the age of fifteen, it opened up a whole new world to me.

I was deeply inspired to learn not only the Spanish language but their culture as well. Hearing non-English words spoken at the dinner table was nothing out of the ordinary for me, and while not a native Spanish-speaker, I believe my brain was prepped for learning languages from day one.

Graduating with a degree in Spanish and History from Manhattanville College, I continued to work with languages for various companies. I travelled to South America and resided in Colombia for three months studying Dreamweaver & Flash web design and enjoying the amazing sights and sounds of this enthralling country.

After returning to the states and moving to New Orleans to work, I met my husband, Marcos. We moved to Ipatinga, Minas Gerais, Brazil, where we married and were blessed with a son. I continue to live in Brazil but travel to the US just about every year.

To learn more about my credentials, see my About Me page.

Building A Business That Offers Translation Services

The bottom line is, to work as a freelance translator, you have to find clients! A lot of my content will focus on that.

I have a beginning steps to becoming a freelance translator post in the works that will help you learn where to find some initial clients and how to ‘trade up’ for jobs with more consistent work and better rates.

I also want to talk to you about specializing and how that has really helped me stand out. It has also helped me eliminate work that I really just don’t find interesting. We all have to do some of that to keep the cash flowing, but minimizing it is good for your spirit, trust me.

I am really hoping you’ll give me lots of feedback as readers so I know what interests you the most and how to create content that’s valuable to you. If you have a question, someone else out there probably has the same one! Don’t hesitate to reach out to me either on social media or by email.

Contact Jillian and Join the Translated That Community

You can email me anytime at These emails come to me personally and I will respond to you as soon as possible.
Get actively involved in the content you see here by following me on Facebook:

or Twitter: @translatedthat

or even LinkedIn: /translatedthat

If you enjoy the articles you read here, please share them with a friend and think of me if you need Spanish/Portuguese/English translation services.

Finally, leave me a comment to say hi so we can start getting to know each other!

Until next time-


With translation, the world understands.

JK Spanish Portuguese Trnaslation Services me