Most professional translators at the beginning of their careers take whatever work comes their way. This means a newbie might do a medical translation today and maybe a marketing translation tomorrow and so on. He or she might not be comfortable in any one, or both the areas but cannot do anything about it because refusing a translation job is not an option when you don’t have a reliable and established client base.
The above is obviously not an ideal situation because no one is an expert in a variety of areas and the lack of expertise while producing a translation can return to haunt the translator in future. The documents would contain errors like incorrect usage of technical terminology and misunderstanding of concepts.
All of the above create a demand for specializing in translation areas. Pick up a field which you are comfortable with and ready to do translation work, study about it to gain a substantial understanding which would help you smoothly translate related documents. Keep a track of the developments in that particular field so that your knowledge does not become obsolete.
Along with specializing in one or more fields, it is also important to have a reasonaby good idea about other fields. You cannot survive by being an expert in medical translation and knowing absolutely nothing about chemistry, electronics and other areas which might overlap with medicine.
So along with specializing in your given areas make it a point to develop solid general knowledge of other areas as well, especially the new developments. The whole thing sounds tough but once you get into the groove the drive would be smooth, and what’s more you will make an ace translator.