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!