Running a translation company
Considering running your own translation company? This can be an important step in the career of any translator.
Understanding how you should set up your agency, and what responsibilities and challenges you will likely face, can help make that decision for you. Whether you just want to outsource some work to other freelancers, or are considering stepping into the role of a CEO or administrator of a corporate structure, the following information will assist you in that decision.
Regardless of your business structure, these problems will ultimately be your responsibility. Ensuring the smooth running of any business can be a full-time task. You have to decide if that’s something you’re ready to undertake.
One good way of finding out if you are ready to start your own translation agency is to work as a freelancer who outsources. Freelancing teaches you how to hunt for clients and stimulate your own business, while the freelancer who outsources gains valuable knowledge on how to be the middleman between client and translator. Freelancers who outsource are also able to step into new markets where previously they weren’t able to translate. Consider the following scenario.
As a freelance translator you already have your own client who sends you regular work in the language of your preference. Now, this client wishes to move into new markets that require translation into a language that you are not familiar with. Because you have made it known to the client that they should bring all their translation needs to you, the client has trust in your ability to deliver. By outsourcing the work you gain valuable experience dealing with an ’employee’, although technically at this point they aren’t yet employees.
It’s also a good way to progress into an agency model, as you’re already networking and building up a database of potential employees and contractors.
Build a good website
While freelance translators and transcribers might be able to get by with just a LinkedIn profile and a registration with a couple of freelancer sites, if you are thinking of starting your own translation agency, building your own website (or contracting someone to do it for you) is a must.
Your own website should be professional looking, simple to navigate, and create a ’sales funnel’ that guides users easily from the page they land on to a purchase or request for quote, or to make contact with your agency via a simple call to action.
Because your new agency is competing with established agencies in a global marketplace, it pays to learn a bit about the following in web design trends:
Search engine optimisation is when you create content that caters to search engine queries and is formatted with the behaviour of search engines in mind. As a new agency you will want to start out targeting smaller traffic niches (using longtail keywords) to build up the organic flow of search traffic before targeting larger terms and audiences.
Understanding the difference between advertising on Facebook and advertising through Google AdWords will go a long way to developing your overall sales strategy. Explore what kind of advertising options are available, test what you get out of them, and keep detailed reports of their effectiveness.
User experience (UX) and responsive web pages
How a user interacts with your website is important to your overall strategy in client acquisition and retention. The current trend is towards ’flat’ designs that create a uniform experience.
Another consideration is the responsiveness of your website. Responsive sites change their layout to suit the type of device they are being viewed on (mobile, tablet, laptop, desktop) without losing any of the key features integral to the site’s function.
Create your own or hire a professional
There are many web services that help you build your own functional site, and learning some of the basics of web design and HTML will save you money over time. Remember, the web is always changing, and like many industries is subject to trends in design and functionality.
Employing a professional might ensure you receive a top notch website, but are you learning how to manage and maintain that site? Will the web developer keep your site updated? How much will they charge for this work? Will it be easy to migrate your website to another domain or server, or allow another developer to access the site if you require it?
Having the answers to these questions before employing a professional will save you time and money in the long term. Consider your website in your business plan, and if you’re not ready to start your own translation business just yet, come back to the article when you’re ready to take the next step.
This article is proudly contributed:
I’m Emily Rebecca, an Australian by birth studied and worked in the UK for 15 years. Presently based in Singapore as a writer and editor at Translation Services Singapore (http://www.translationservice.sg). An outgoing writer who Loves life and loves travelling. Cheers!
Published - August 2015