English may still be the lingua franca of global business for now, but this doesn’t change the fact that the globalized economy creates hot demand for language skills in the UK and beyond. Brexit has created a surge of demand for translation work, which is likely to be sustained as companies look to move into new markets. For those speaking non-European languages, there’s never been a better time to parlay those skills into starting an online translation business.
Specialize your services
The most important step in starting any business is refining your idea. When starting an online translation business, the trick is knowing where your services will fit into the market. Unless you’ve worked in-house at a reputable translation company, you won’t necessarily have the powerful reputation you need to command important translation projects: legal contracts, financial documents and technical translations. When it comes to any writing-based jobs, it’s vital to settle on a specialization: whether this is translating SEO content into Spanish or translating marketing materials into Mandarin.
One of the best things about translating services is that barriers to entry are low. You can start an online translation business from the comfort of your own home with your own PC. With that said, there are some upfront overheads such as Hiscox professional indemnity insurance. It’s crucial you get the right cover to defend yourself from any translation complaints that could otherwise sink you.
Once you know which services you’ll be offering, you can work out your costs and come up with a price accordingly. What are your competitors charging for comparable services? When you’re starting out in any industry, it’s a good idea to bring a range of introductory offers that will help you secure long-term business.
Advertise on freelance platforms
A good way of testing the market and looking into viable demand would be advertising on the major freelance platforms. Fiverr, Upwork and People Per Hour are the biggest names in this niche. Bear in mind that all these platforms will eat into your bottom line, taking a 10% cut of your fees.
Build out a website
Hiring a web designer will be costly, so as a short-term solution, you can rely on a template-based application like WordPress, or even a slightly more sleek SquareSpace or Wix buildout. The challenge in the long run is to use your website to hammer home your translation brand and communicate your unique selling proposition (USP) to site visitors. Why should businesses use you for their work? Include client testimonials, a summary of your key selling points and a contact form as absolute standards. Beyond this, it pays to know about the basics of SEO and keep an eye on how your website is doing through Google Analytics: traffic, bounce rate and dwell time are all key data points for you to work on as you grow your business.
Once you’ve built your website, all that’s left is to start shouting about your business. Social media is important but B2B social media is where the money is.