When it comes to choosing areas of specialization in translation, one often gets various pieces of advice, like “Have you got some hobby? Or may be some previous work experience in this or that field? Try going in that direction”. The influence of our hobbies and background on our areas of specialization is indeed huge. Yet, has it ever happened to you that some of your translation projects were SO interesting and fascinating, that you decided to try something out? Now I can safely claim: yes, it has, and it’s one of the most amazing experiences ever.
Few years ago, a promising Italian mosaicist contacted me and asked me to translate her website into Russian. I happily agreed and delivered the project on time with some SEO recommendations as a bonus. I loved her amazing works of art. They truly were a source of inspiration for me. Never could I have imagined that some years later I would be studying to become a mosaicist myself, making small steps at a time: Roman mosaics, micromosaic and mosaic jewelry with “filati”, modern glass mosaics. I’m learning it all and thinking of going to a jewelry school in a year or so. This way I’ll enrich my knowledge and vocabulary as a fashion and jewelry translator and gain valuable hands-on experience in my specialization area.
It’s unbelievable how interesting projects can lead you to a new hobby that becomes an independent area of specialization in itself.
What about you?
If fashion had a mother tongue, which one would it be? French, Italian or English? Fashion has “spoken” all of these languages throughout its history and modern times, thus, looking for terms and translating descriptions with “foreign intruders” here and there could be quite tricky. Now and then I come across French or English words in the Italian product descriptions or some French terms in the English source text. Needless to say, that if I hadn’t studied French for a couple of years, it would have been more difficult for me to understand their meaning.
Historically, French is often used in fashion terminology. Some of the terms might sound totally unfamiliar, like “damier”, while some words are well known worldwide: tulle, couture, Chantilly, crêpe de Chine, Trompe l’oeil, and others. If you have good passive knowledge of this language, it is more than enough for you to work in IT-X or EN-X language pair. If your linguistic skills are way better than that, consider adding French to your working languages as it could open a whole new market for you (with brands like Chanel, Dior).
English, the global language of the fashion industry, is used by most of the brands and designers, regardless of the country. Don’t be surprised to receive an English source text from an Italian luxury brand. Nowadays it’s common practice, and sometimes it can help reduce the costs and achieve better quality in terms of procedures and results.
The importance of the Italian language is due to the fact that a lot of major brands and maison (yes, another French term here) are located in Italy. It could be a good idea to master Italian and make it one of your working languages (if you haven’t done so yet) because having this “trio” – English, French, Italian – in your portfolio might turn to be the ace of trumps.
I know we live in the 21st century, and yes, Internet is a great source of information. Yet, have you ever dealt with thousands of photos trying to see that very difference between two types of cuffs? Collars? Dresses?
I’ve been looking for a good visual fashion dictionary for a while now. And finally I found one, on Amazon.
Fashionpedia will never become a dust-keeper in your house. Actually it’s that useful that I doubt it will ever leave your work table. Very well-structured, minimalistic and clear content makes it easy and pleasant to use or simply thumb through. This elegant hardcover edition with a black ribbon marker will make an excellent present, too.
If you are a fashion translator or blogger, this investment will be worth every penny you pay for it.
You can read more about it and watch a video on the official website: Fashionpedia.