Main Article Content
Translators of specialized communication need to meet challenging requirements. Nevertheless, according to a survey by the German Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators (BDÜ), many freelance technical translators are not able to make an adequate living. One reason for this dilemma might be the noticeable discrepancy between the translator competences required by clients and the competences that translators actually develop during their academic studies. The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the requirements clients place on freelance translators, especially in the field of Technical Documentation. Prior research in Translation Studies and Technical Documentation postulates that subject area competence is one of the most important client requirements. Hence the paper focuses on translators’ subject area competence which is defined by Kelly (2005) as a sufficient degree of knowledge of their subject area allowing them to solve translation problems. For the present paper, an online survey of potential clients was conducted. The aim was to verify if clients consider subject area competence as especially important for freelance technical translators. The results show that for the surveyed persons subject area competence is the most important translators’ competence, which leads into a discussion of the opportunities for freelance translators to make an adequate living and the implications for
translator education at universities.