The following is a guest post from Antonio Tooley, an ESL teacher who blogs at EduGeeksClub.
Language learning is one of the basic preconditions of modern business. With so many international projects and partners, professionals need the knowledge of foreign languages to keep the business running. But besides the basic understanding of other languages, almost all organizations require professional translators. That’s why a brand new branch of freelance translation business is emerging.
Last year, translation industry was worth around $40 billion and the revenue is expected to grow in the next five years. If you are a well-educated language professional, you can step in and start your own translation business. Don’t be afraid of it being too difficult or demanding. Yes, it takes a lot of effort. But you’ll get a chance to run the private business and be your own boss.
Most practical tips to start translation business
There are so many little steps to take before launching a freelance translation career but don’t forget the crucial element – you must be an expert in at least two languages. Of course, one will be your mother tongue and the other will preferably be one of the most common languages worldwide. But let’s guess that you got that covered and analyze the first 6 steps to take while initiating a freelance translator business.
Choose the right client group
You’ve probably accumulated a broad experience throughout career and know what your ideal client could look like. Therefore, you need to be specific and decide the targeted field of expertise, your clients’ financial potential, and translation preferences. You should know if potential clients really need translation services, whether they seek for professional translators or need the low-quality work.
In the beginning, don’t waste too much time chasing big deals with companies which demand agencies with the highest credentials. You are simply starting the business and need to do it gradually. This means that your first clients will be good but probably not excellent. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you should accept loads of work for a minor financial compensation. Try to target small businesses that appreciate high-quality work and offer a reasonable sum for translation projects.
Create a website
If you are not present online, you don’t exist. You need a nice website presentation to let potential clients know about your skills and academic background. If some of your former clients are willing to leave a great testimonial, it will make an excellent contribution to your web page and confirm your credibility. If you wonder about the ways to actually create a website, here are the most common solutions:
DIY: You can spend some time learning the HTML basics and create the page on your own. It’s time-consuming and takes a lot of patience but you’ll also add skills to your portfolio. However, avoid this solution if you feel like starting right away.
Use a free website source: There are numerous free sources to make your own Internet presentation, such as the wordpress.com blog. However, renowned entrepreneurs avoid this solution because it reveals the lack of funds and business reliability.
Hire an agency: Being a language expert, you probably wouldn’t allow an amateur to deal with translation. It’s the same thing with website creation: it is best to leave it to professionals. We suggest you to hire an agency to make a great-looking web page. It is one of the rare investments of translation freelancers and we advise you not to save money on it.
Use social media
Social media are by far the cheapest way to attract new clients. It seems like 60 million businesses own Facebook pages, with more than two-thirds of them being small-sized companies. Along with the website, this is the opportunity which you must exploit while starting a freelance translation business.
Your clients will always demand two things – good translation services and quick turnaround. Your job here is to find the perfect balance between the two. Each text you translate must be highly professional and precise but it’s not worth much if you breach deadlines. Don’t put yourself in the overload position. Know your skills but also be aware of your limits. It will keep you more relaxed and your clients satisfied with the on-time delivery.
You can be an all-around player but that won’t get you too far in the long run. You will reach the earning limit soon and there will be no more room to make progress. Before launching a freelance translator career, think about the specialization. Consider a few fields that suit you the most and choose one that will give you the biggest potential. This is the right way to gain more thorough translation knowledge and to attract the best clients. Translators usually specialize in medicine, law, IT, and finance – and that’s exactly where you can find the most generous clients.
Now that you are self-employed, you can set the work rhythm according to personal preferences. However, being your own boss doesn’t mean that you are allowed to work less. On the contrary, now is the time to give all you got in order to boost the business. Work hard and be as productive as possible. It will bring you more clients, great referrals, and higher incomes, consequently. But always make sure to keep it aligned with the deadline issue we mentioned earlier.
Each type of skill or expertise nowadays can be considered a great starting point for the private business. In a globalized world, where all organizations must be very precise and professional, language experts can find more than enough room to launch their own freelance translator careers. The good thing about this kind of work is that you already have the most important prerequisite, namely the knowledge of foreign languages. Besides that, you only need a relatively modest launching investment and a solid business plan to make a serious breakthrough. Using the above mentioned six steps, things become even simpler, so don’t hesitate to use these tips and make the full-time freelance translation career.
About the Author
Antonio is a translator and a blogger at an online writing service EduGeeksClub. He loves writing about SMM, marketing, business, education and productivity. He’s also crazy about riding his bike and bumping into new people (when he’s on foot). He will be happy to meet you on Facebook and Twitter.