Should A Linguist Specialise Or Generalise?

When it comes to choosing a career as a linguist, you may be torn between being a specialist or a generalist. There is no right or wrong choice in which path you choose as a linguist, but rather a choice on how you want your workflow to evolve.

Benefits Of A Generalised Linguist

Being a linguist that generalises in many different topics of translation services can give you a breadth of work to complete each day. You will always have something interesting to focus on, but the effort that you have to put in may be more than you are willing to bear.

As a linguist that generalises, you will have to divulge into your topics with fury as you will need to complete the necessary research to understand the terminology and how translation will affect its results. For some, this can be an adventure and allow them to constantly learn something new.

While there is really no drawback to this continual research, it could limit your knowledge base when translating but could offer you the ability to keep your interests up. This can help you focus on your translation services without any inference from being pigeon-holed into a more specialised topic.

Benefits Of A Specialised Linguist

On the other end of the spectrum, we have specialised linguists that are experts in their area of focus. While this is a sought-after talent, getting to the point of being able to call yourself a specialised linguist takes some plenty of work on your part.

You will need to submerge yourself in the topic of your choosing and only focus on projects that revolve around it. This can be time-consuming and arduous as it could take several years to get to this level. But, when you do, you will reap the rewards of being able to get into your translation work quickly. You will understand all the nuances of the subject matter as well as the terminology without any additional research necessary.

Being a specialised linguist gives you more technical aptitude and methodology to your translation process. You are an expert in your area of focus and will excel at work that is geared to this type of translation project.

Which Choice Is Right For You?

When you compare being a generalised or specialised linguist, you need to consider what works best for you and your needs. There is no right or wrong choice to be made here as only you will know what is right for you.

Both linguist positions offer plenty of opportunities as both are beneficial to companies the world over. The choice that you make really depends on your interests at the current time and the level of devotion you want to make with each translation project now and into the future.

Remember that a generalist linguist paints with a broad stroke while a specialised linguist focuses on the details. Both pictures are masterpieces in their own way, leaving the determination up to you on which linguist specialty to choose.



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