How to Launch a Translation Business - Starting a Career in Translation

How to Launch a Translation Business - Starting a Career in Translation

Translation is an attractive career for many people because it offers the opportunity to do something you love while working for yourself. Starting a career in translation is not for everyone, however. Translators will need to possess a high degree of fluency in two or more languages as well as an understanding of the culture behind the language. If you do not want to spend your life learning about language or culture, this might not be the career for you. If you don't mind lifelong learning and wish to start your own business, come up with a plan before you start.

You will need to have a bachelor's degree before you start translating. You might be able to get by without a degree if you have excellent language skills, however. Many jobs will also require some sort of translation certification. Fortunately, certification programs are widely available, relatively inexpensive, and can be completed online at your convenience. These programs will teach you what you need to know about the translation industry and your target language. Certification programs are especially valuable if you do not have prior experience in the field. Other options include campus-based training programs or seminars.

Next, you will want to pick a translation field with which you wish to work. Some of the available specializations include medical, legal, financial, engineering, business, or patent translation. You can also find work localizing software and PC applications. Although many people believe that you need to go to school to specialize in certain fields, this is not necessarily the case. Many translators are self-taught. Of course, if you do have a degree in a highly technical field, you will have an easier time translating documents in your field of expertise. Specializing will allow you to find more work and can enhance your credibility.

You will also need to decide what to charge your clients. Rates are highly personal, but should vary depending on the project and client. Before accepting any project, you should decide what you want your hourly rate to be. Next, decide how long the project will take. Based on your assessment, you can charge the client a per-project or hourly fee. Keep in mind that setting your rates too low can hurt your business. Many clients will assume that you are an amateur if you do not charge enough. If you need help deciding what to charge, contact other translators for advice. Many forums, websites, and blogs also cover this topic in detail.

-By Adriana Tassini

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