Side Hustle Business Idea: Translation Business

In a world where Google Translate can convert text from one language to another for free, it might seem like human translators have become obsolete. The reality is that software-based services aren’t yet capable of replacing real people in the translation sphere. The subtleties of language will continue to confound even the most sophisticated software tools for years to come. One can make a mint with a translation business since the demand for these services continues to grow. While it’s hardly a cakewalk, running a translation business can be a great opportunity for the right individual.
Brush Up on Your Skills & Hire People
If you’re going to be a one-man or one-woman outfit, you’ll obviously need to know your language or languages inside and out. To brush up on your skills, check out sites like Coeffee and LingoGlobe that allow users to converse with native speakers of foreign languages. The American Translators Association is one rich resource worth consulting when you’re fleshing out your business game plan and assessing market demand. If you plan on hiring translators to work under you, the aforementioned sites are extremely helpful.
Getting Off of the Ground
Getting your first few jobs as a translator is the toughest part of the process. Try sites like Guru, Odesk and Freelancer  to look for opportunities. Also, look in your local community at schools, organizations or governmental entities that may be in need of translation services.  As you’re establishing your reputation, you’ll want to create your own website with linked social media accounts to cement your authority. If you take the incremental route and build slowly, you can start your business with little or no money. Otherwise, you may need to take out a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Promote, Network & Profit
If you’re good at what you do, your expertise should sell itself. Regardless, you’ll still have to put in a decent amount of time networking to drum up business. One excellent networking hub that should be on the radar of any translator is Translators Cafe. Initially, you can expect to get up to $1.40 per word for business material and up to $10,000 per job when translating fiction. Your specific rates will vary based on the niche in which you’re operating.
Expanding Your Business Horizontally
Translating content all by yourself is a good way to start but it’ll only take you so far. Building your business vertically will work up to a point and you should try to become as specialized as possible within a niche at first. However, there’s only so much one person can do in any 24-hour period. Eventually, you’ll probably find that expanding your services is the ticket to greater revenue. Once you’ve established yourself as a brand you can hire translators in other niches and diversify your sources of revenue.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the broader translation industry is slated to grow at an above-average rate from now until the year 2020. In order to make the most of this remarkable opportunity, you’ll need to learn to change with the times and adapt to new market realities. No doubt Natural Language Processing software will become ever more sophisticated in the near future and threaten the livelihood of less proactive translators. Stay abreast of translation industry shifts to avoid this outcome.
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