Are you skilled with languages, and looking to start your own translation business? Globalization means that translators are in greater demand than they have ever been before, and clients are looking for professional translators for a variety of fields and languages. However, language skills on their own aren’t enough if you want to make your new translation business a success, and there’s a lot more you need to know.
If you’re a newcomer to running a business, getting hold of this information may prove a challenge. If that sounds like you, don’t worry – you’re in the right place. Here are 4 things you need to know before starting a translation business.
- Start with Specialization
One of the biggest challenges that translation businesses make when they’re just getting off the ground is that they feel the need to offer services translating every language possible for themselves and their employees. However, rather than creating a sense of confidence, this wide range of services can actually dissuade clients from hiring your business.
The wider your menu of translation options, the greater the chance that you’ll make a mistake. This is especially true for a new business – remember, you’re just getting your feet wet, and your clients will likely take a bit of time to trust you fully. If they feel like you’re overextending yourself, they’ll be less likely to hire your business.
Instead, choose a single language to build your reputation with – preferably one that you, personally, are very familiar with. There are a number of benefits to choosing a specialization, including gaining a mastery of the language you choose to focus on. Expertise in a single language will encourage people to hire your business, allowing you to build up to a point where you can add additional languages to your repertoire.
Furthermore, it’s essential to remember that you will make mistakes, especially as a new business. These mistakes will be most easily rectified when you’re working with a language you’re completely familiar with. You can then use the lessons learned from those mistakes and implement them when expanding your business to additional languages. This will help make further translations more effective and efficient and allow you to have confidence in your team members when they’re working on translations in languages you may not be personally familiar with.
- Make Sure You’re Organised
As a new business owner, you need to meet all the legal requirements of forming a business before you start to advertise yourself. This includes formally setting up a company, with the help of a company formation service or business.
If you haven’t yet gone through this integral process, then you need to make sure you get that squared away immediately so as to avoid any possible legal trouble. Decide on your business’s name, then choose a locally based business that can handle company formation; simply go to website to further understand how you can get your legal documentation completed as soon as possible. Be thoughtful while choosing a name for your business – it should be one that defines and sets aside your brand from others, and should help inspire faith and confidence in your services as well.
When registering your startup, make sure you’re aware of how you’ll be handling taxes for it going forward. Paying taxes for a business is very different from doing so as an employee at someone else’s company or as a freelancer. Knowing what you’re facing can help reduce the risk of you getting in trouble with the authorities.
- Choose Your Marketing Niche
Aside from choosing a language to focus on, you should also choose a marketing niche to concentrate your marketing efforts on.
In the world of language translations, there are three key ways of distinguishing your business from others – quality, speed, and cost. Focusing on each requires different capabilities from a translation business – those that focus on cost often use machine translation and post-editing, while those focusing on quality have a rigorous screening process when choosing translators to hire. Businesses focusing on speed may offer 24/7 support and automation to help guarantee fast turnaround times.
No approach is better than the other. Each has its own pros and cons – and you need to choose which your business will focus on.
Make sure you don’t try to specialize in all three options. This can end in your business being good at translating fast, accurately, and affordably – but you’ll be unable to distinguish yourself in one aspect and truly stand out from the crowd. On the other hand, if you choose one to focus on, you can truly build a stand-out brand. For example, if you choose to focus on speed and emphasize industry-leading turnaround times, clients that need work done quickly will choose your business over competitors that work fast but not fast enough, as they’re also trying to ensure top-notch speed and affordable prices at the same time.
- Hire Linguists with Cultural Knowledge
Excellent translation requires more than just language skills – it also needs cultural knowledge. Translators with cultural knowledge will not only be able to translate certain words and phrases to culture-specific equivalents, but they’ll also be able to advise a client if their work contains a cultural misstep.
People with cultural knowledge are generally people who have grown up in a country or have spent several years there. It’s essential to keep in mind that your translators’ cultural knowledge will not be foolproof, as customs vary from area to area with the same state or country. However, a broad understanding of the target country/group of people will help your business distinguish itself.
This is also why you should start by focusing on a single business. It is easier to look for cultural experts in a single language rather than multiple languages and countries all at once.
Just like any other new business, starting a new translation business can be a demanding challenge. However, with confidence and a well-thought-out plan, you’ll soon find that your translation company is doing better than you have ever imagined – and the tips above will help make your business a roaring success.
Working as a cyber security solutions architect, Alisa focuses on application and network security. Before joining us she held a cyber security researcher positions within a variety of cyber security start-ups. She also experience in different industry domains like finance, healthcare and consumer products.