How To Start A Translation Business From Scratch

Team Pepper
Posted on 12/05/229 min read
How To Start A Translation Business From Scratch

Are you passionate about languages and cultures? Are you seeking to start a translation business? You’re not alone. The need for translators and translation companies has increased as globalization has gained traction. The good news is that you don’t need any special skills to start a translation agency.

Starting a translation business is not a walk in the park, but it isn’t an impossible feat either. A translation company ensures that the client’s confidentiality is maintained while providing business translation services. During this process, they ensure the accuracy of spelling and grammar and maintain the original document’s meaning and context.

How to Find Your Niche Market

When it comes to an online translation business, all translators are familiar with the concept of specialization. A niche market focuses on a particular area, product, or subject matter and becomes an expert in translating that content. A translator can specialize in many areas ranging from financial to legal and medical translation.


A niche refers to a small part of a speciality or market segment that corresponds to a specialization. An example is translation services for medical professionals. However, you might want to narrow that niche down to pharmaceutical or dental medicine translations depending on your interests.

There is always a clearly defined segment of the market in each case. It also allows translators to specialize in a particular area of expertise and become very proficient in it.

The factors listed below will help you find your niche market:

1. What do you like?

If starting a translation business is on your wish list, here are a few things you should know.

Work experience is key to building a solid career in translation. It is challenging to do something you dislike for the long-term. Make sure you pick something you enjoy.

Your audience won’t connect with you if you invest your resources in something you find boring. Learning to stay on top of industry trends is a constant requirement for translators. Choosing a niche you enjoy researching will prevent you from having to change your mind after a few years.

2. What can you offer?

If the niche chooses you, or you choose the niche, you should prepare yourself to become an expert in that field. Prepare a list of the services you can provide potential clients based on your skills evaluation.

Your business can take advantage of growth opportunities in each market by developing specific skills. Translations aren’t the only services translators offer. They may also provide copywriting or voiceover services.

The working environment is another crucial factor. Modern technologies enable most translators to translate directly online and via the web. However, some industries may require you to meet in person with clients regularly. Would you be comfortable travelling or accepting them at your office? If not, perhaps you should pursue a different speciality.


3. Who is your ideal client?

It is essential to consider the type of people you want to work with and where you will find your clients when choosing a niche in the translation industry.

The limited number of companies that need your services could prevent you from ensuring a consistent number of clients if your niche is too narrow. In this case, you should broaden your specialization by adding another field.

4. Do you comply with the regulations?

Legal and medical translations, for instance, require 100% accuracy. Many legal requirements apply to these specializations, meaning you will need certification to demonstrate your skills.

Your professional background may include passing several exams and becoming a member of a professional body. You must invest both time and money into yourself and your business if you want to succeed.

5. Is the niche a growing market?

There is much more to a translation business than plain translation. To become an expert in your field, you must know your market well. This is why you should choose a niche that is realistic and sustainable.

If your narrow niche doesn’t work on its own, you may have to change your services or broaden your specialization.

Machine translation is rising, resulting in a drop in prices and reduced interest in some niches. You will have difficulty finding new clients if you do not know the market well enough to make accurate predictions.

Make sure you know everything there is to know about the market where you intend to operate. Will translation prices be fair enough to be able to make a living? Is there too much competition between translators for a limited pool of clients? Contact other translators and network. As a result, you will clearly understand the market and its potential.


Where To Look for Clients in Translation Business

There are several ways to locate translation work. Fortunately, some translators can gain their first clients through referrals or networking. However, when you have to find them yourself, you may find it challenging to get started, and you might not earn much at first. You might have to wait a while before you start earning money.

A strong CV, an understanding of marketing strategies, and translator resources, such as online workspaces and agencies, can make getting your first translation clients easier.

1. Agencies

There will either be direct contact with translation clients, or an intermediary will act as a middleman to connect you with translation clients. In addition to providing business translation services to clients, translation agencies hire subcontracted freelance translators.

An agency checks its available translator databases to see what specializations their translators offer as jobs arise. Whenever there is a vacancy in your field, they check if you can take it, and if you cannot, they find another candidate.

Whether you accept or decline the job depends on how comfortable you feel with the terms in the job description and your current workload. Engaging with more than one agency will provide you with a steady workflow.

2. Marketing

You will likely be able to create a highly personalized website with your employer’s or association’s logo to emphasize your education, experience, specialities, and other relevant information. Personalizing your site shows your dedication to your work as a freelance translator.

Step by Step Guide to Starting a Translation Business

1. Get trained

The majority of people believe that just knowing a language will make them successful translators. But this is not the case. One must be adequately trained and have linguistic expertise to make a successful career in translation.

Several educational institutions offer courses to help you become a professional translator. It is a good idea to attend training courses at nearby training schools. Several schools offer certified translation-related courses that the American Institute approves of Translators.

2. Do market research and select a niche

It takes thorough market research and good knowledge of trends and demands to start a successful translation agency business. It is recommended that a beginner starts with a specific industry or language. Find the type of language and industry translators that employers are looking for by searching job sites like Indeed or freelance job sites like Fiverr or Upwork.

Many different languages can be studied, including Chinese, French, Russian, Arabic, English, and Spanish. As soon as you choose the language, go for deep study, and get as fluent as possible. The terminology of an industry that you want to specialize in is essential if you want to be an expert translator for that sector.

3. Find top industries that need translators most

The spread of globalization has necessitated translation services in most industries, including the government. However, there are some industries where translators are more in demand than others. Based on our research, we have selected five industries where translation services are more in demand. These include:



Finance & Banking


Information & Technology


4. Create a translation agency business plan

It is critical to document your business plan properly if you want to operate a sustainable translation agency. Outline your goals, vision, mission, operating process, hiring process, financials, and marketing strategy. The business plan will act as a road map for future success.

5. Have a translation agency business name

Your translation agency business name must be informative and catchy. Choosing a name for your translation company is one of the most important decisions. Don’t use your name in your company name, as the agency may appear to be a one-man show to customers. Take some inspiration from these translation agency business names:

6. Make your translation agency business legally compliant

Getting your translation agency registered is the key to running a hassle-free business. Select the most appropriate business structure concerning your resources and the size of your venture by consulting with competent authorities or attorneys. Get the licenses and permits your area requires to operate a translation agency.

7. Set pricing

There’s no need to set a set rate for pricing translation services. Several factors will determine the rate. Languages are a major factor. It is possible to fix a higher rate if the language pair you chose is difficult to find. The translation rates for certified translators and experts in a certain field, such as medicine or any other, are usually much higher.

8. Hire translators

If you want to start a translation agency and offer services to more industries and languages, you must hire translators with expertise in those verticals. Identify the right talent by creating job descriptions and advertising in job marketplaces.

9. Start a blog

An online presence is imperative if you are serious about making money from translation. Making a website alone won’t suffice. Having a blog can make you appear as an expert and help you build customer confidence. Setting up a blog is now much easier than it used to be. Almost anyone can create a blog in just a few minutes.

10. Promote your translation agency business

As the owner of a translation business; your entire promotional strategy is to reach out to prospective clients as much as possible. Today, you can easily attract customers worldwide with your services even if you have little money. The promotion of the translation business is largely dependent on social media marketing.

Translating is a scalable business that you can do on the side or build into a much larger, full-time endeavour that will generate an impressive amount of income if you know at least one other language. Since computer-driven translators have become more sophisticated, technology will increasingly determine the industry’s future. Nevertheless, human translators have been needed for many decades.

Key Takeaways

● Translating can be a lucrative career choice for someone fluent in a foreign language. Human translators are still required for accurate and good-quality translations, despite some translation services being handled with technology today.

● As a result of the internet, the number of freelancers is growing, especially in the field of translation. As with most freelance industries, prices have gone down due to the competition because of the availability of many websites where freelancers can sell their services to willing buyers.

● If you’re looking for a side business that will allow you to do something you love while earning extra money, freelancing might be the right choice. Although you will not go without work, you may not be able to command the rates you should, at least not right away.

● Advertising on major freelance platforms would prove an excellent way to test the market and evaluate demand. The most prominent players in this niche are Pepper Content, Fourrr, Upwork, and People Per Hour.

The reputation you need to handle essential translation jobs, such as legal contracts, financial documents, and technical translations, will not necessarily be established until you have worked in-house at a reputable translation business.

Whenever you deal with writing-related work, it’s essential to choose your specialization: translating marketing materials into Mandarin or SEO content into Spanish.


1. What are the characteristics of a good translation agency?

Evidently, translators have an in-depth understanding of the world and the language and culture they are translating for. However, good translation companies have experts in various fields, such as finance, medicine, marketing, and technical translation.

2. What is the best way to tell if a translation is good?

To translate effectively, one language (the source) must successfully convey its meaning to another language (the target). While accounting for cultural differences, a message must get its original tone and intent.

3. How does translation accuracy work?

A natural translation does not sound like a translation. To achieve accuracy in translation, the translator must be able to convey the original message as accurately as possible.

4. What do translators do at companies?

Translation professionals are among the most prominent in the field. The work of several other professionals is essential to making translation projects successful. A freelance translator may transition into different roles in the industry throughout their career.

5. Is there a demand for translators?

Interpreters and translators are expected to grow 24% between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the overall job growth rate. Over the next decade, there are expected to be approximately 10,400 openings for interpreters and translators.

6. What are the requirements for becoming a translator?

1. Knowing one or more foreign languages (source languages) well (near-native proficiency).
2. Living and working in the source language country for a long time can provide a solid understanding of its culture.