Setting out on your own rather than seeking employment with a recognised translation agency is a whole new ball game. It means you are starting your own business rather than being an employee in someone else’s business. This has advantages and disadvantages and only you will ever know whether it is the right decision to make. Having your own translation business isn’t for everyone but if you prefer to make your own decisions and are prepared to work hard at it, then it can be very rewarding and potentially earn you a lot more money than working for someone else.
Here are some Tips for Starting out in your very Own Translation Business
#1 Your Business and Marketing Skills are at Least as Important as your Ability to Translate
Of course, you must be able to translate one or more languages, but when you start your own business this skill may not be as important as business skills. In business, you need to make money to survive. If you don’t find clients, you won’t make any money, however good your translation skills are. To find clients you need to find a way to market yourself. You need to show them that you have a skill which they want to take advantage of. You need to price your translation skills at a competitive rate so that you are an attractive option, especially if there is competition for translation services.
#2 The best way to Market yourself is to have your Own Website
Having an easy to navigate business website is the best way to market your translation service, showcase what you can provide, how much you charge, provide a method by which translation projects can be assessed, reviewed and sent to and fro. It is better to have a well set up website than spending time and money using social media platforms, although these may have a place when you become more successful.
#3 You will need to Work Hard
Like any new small business, there will be little opportunity to take regular time off. Translation, in particular, depends on being available at all hours of the day and night throughout the week. This is particularly true when many of your prospective clients are located around the world in different time zones. Only if your workload becomes much larger might you start to think of employing someone else and then maybe you can begin to think about having some time off yourself!
#4 You don’t need to Spend time getting a Certificate in Translation
With a few exceptions, your business skills are more important than your translation skills. A reasonable translator who knows how to find clients and what they want is more likely to earn more money than the person who is an excellent translator who doesn’t know how to market themselves. That observation is not the same as saying you don’t need to be fluent in the languages you offer, but it’s not as important as you might have thought it was.
#5 You need to Learn how to Communicate Effectively with Potential Clients
Communication skills are essential if you want to convince a potential client that you can provide what they want. Part of that is how you communicate through your website, but eventually, you will need to talk to the client on the phone or in person. You need to convey to the client that you know what you are doing and understand what they want you to do.
#6 You don’t need Sophisticated Software or Translation Tools to Start with
There is a lot of technology out there which could help you become more efficient as a translator, but you don’t need it when you are starting up your own business. Remember that you need to make money to survive. You are not out to provide a free translation service or end up paying interest for the technology you don’t really know how to use what you have bought on a loan.
Translation technology is great when you have learned how to survive. Figuring how it all works and how you can use it efficiently can take up too much of your valuable time when you are only just starting up.