Each man is capable of doing one thing well. If he attempts several, he will fail to achieve distinction in any.
Plato 424/423 BCE – 348/347 BCE
Over the years, and as a result of experiences abroad and the assignments that came my way, two main specializations have emerged: nearly everything related to personal computers, and the medical / scientific stream.
Because of an involvement in software localization from 1987 onwards, many of the assignments that followed this early venture into the world of the personal computer dealt with hardware manuals and instruction guides, guides and booklets for peripherals such as printers, keyboards, mice and monitors, (linguistic) software localization, plus all the related Help files that come with software after nearly all software publishers abandoned expensive manuals and provided on-line Help only.
For a number of years now, the boundaries between translation and localization have been fading, partly because certain bigger LSPs (Language Service Providers) found that “localization” sounded better and could — initially — make them more money, partly due to fairly recent technological developments in the form of web-based applications. Such applications still involve the execution of code in the background, but the front-end looks like any other browser and feels like an interactive web page. A third reason is that (conventional) web pages must also be localized; mere translation no longer suffices.
But earlier still, in 1984 and before Nico van de Water Linguistic Services had been established, I was asked to translate a medical-scientific article into English so that it could be published in one of the numerous medical journals that are published on a regular basis. My translation was accepted without any comments whatsoever from the editorial board (except that it praised my translation). The article was published in 1985 and is still in demand and regularly quoted. It marked the beginning of an incredibly interesting involvement in the life sciences. My initial reluctance to accept such an assignment was lifted a bit by the fact that since 1979 I had translated quite a few articles and research reports written by academics with a background in applied social sciences (sociologists, psychologists and statisticians).
All this does not mean that Nico van de Water Linguistic Services does not accept assignments from outside these two specialist domains. Far from it. Past assignments cover general and specialist-technical documentation (from air suspension systems to thermal plastics moulding to PA / sound systems for rock bands), legal and / or certified translations, veterinary information leaflets and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). In addition, experience in the domain of technical authoring includes railway infrastructure, call-centre software and software for electronic internet payment systems. But after an x number of assignments, one simply feels comfortable in one or two specialist areas.