How to start a translation business

The translation and localization industry is one of the fastest growing business-to-business (B2B) market segments. International companies know that language services play a key role in global expansion and translation budgets are growing. More and more content is being translated more than ever before and into an expanding array of languages.

The Slator Language Industry Market Report 2019 provides a comprehensive view of the global language services and technology industry, which, according to Slator was a USD 23.2bn market in 2018 and projected to grow to USD 28.2bn by 2022.

With such a large and growing market size, opening a translation business makes sense. There is a lot of money to be made if you know what you are doing. So how can you start your translation business and make a good living? As someone who has been in the translation industry for over 20 years, I think I am qualified to provide some insight into this and would like to impart some of this knowledge to our readers.

Knowing and loving languages helps. Being a polyglot is not a prerequisite, but it can help you start your translation business. If you yourself are a translator, then it will be easier for you to hire good translators, check the quality of translations and manage quality control of projects. You can then also translate materials yourself, but that is not recommended if you want to have your own translation business. Better to farm out the work and leave your own time for managing the operation.

Translators, translators, translators.  As a translation company owner, one of your greatest assets are the translators and reviewers who will do the actual work. So it is key that you get your hands of good professional translators who will turn in good work. Once you identify a good translator, make an effort to nurture that relationship and keep them happy. They will help you make money. Whether it is a freelance translator or an in-house staff member, make an effort to keep these people happy and working for you.

How to recruit translators? There are numerous ways of doing so. One easy way to seek out freelance translators online is via websites such as Proz and Translator Cafe. If you are looking for in-house staff, you can also use conventional hiring practices like wanted ads and headhunters.

Quality, Quality, Quality. This is the cardinal rule-always deliver the best quality work. Quality complaints will kill your translation business so avoid them at any cost. Review the work you deliver rigorously. There is no excuse for turning in poor work. Reputation is everything in this business so keep yours clean.

Customers, customers, customers.  Need I say more? Your customers are the lifeblood of your company. The translation business is all about service. As in customer service. Give your customers great service and they will keep on coming back with more orders. Repeat customers is what will make your business. Does your customer need the translation first thing in the morning? No problem. Do you guys do Norwegian too? Of course we do, thanks very much. Can we get a discount? Sure thing. Get the idea? Learn to say the word Yes and remove the word No from your vocabulary.

How to get knew customers? Not an easy task but not impossible either. If you have your own connections, get them involved. Your uncle is Operations VP in some company? Your aunt is a partner in a law firm? Why wouldn’t she/he want to help his favorite niece/nephew? Tell all of your family and friends that you have a translation business. Network with people and spread the word. The beautiful thing about the translation business is that every company and business needs translation services from time to time. Tell your next-door neighbors that you have a translation business and who knows, maybe a few years down the road they will get you a killer lead. It happens, believe me.

Project Managers. PMs are a very important part of a translation business so recruit good ones. PMs provide the interface between your customers and your translators. PMs will get to know your customer’s preferences and will provide the customer service that will keep your business going. Larger translation companies will also have vendor managers and customer sales reps to grow and establish new accounts. Very large translation companies will also have M&A people to buy other translation businesses in order to grow market share. But as a new translation company you won’t need some of these activities. But in time you may do.

Position your translation business. There are many verticals in the translation industry. Medical translation. Legal translation. Business translation. Official translation of documents for immigration. Translation for the automotive industry. Each vertical has its own requirements and possible forms of certification. Equip your translation business with the resources needed to service your chosen verticals.

Know your competition.  Find out of who you are competing against and try to outperform them in some way. Better prices? Better service? Think out of the box on this one and try to snare away some of their business. Or if you don’t want to step on any toes, at least find out which customers they are serving and see if there are some opportunities that they are overlooking.

Advertise your business. There are various ways of doing this. For a translation business, digital advertising online is key and probably the most cost-effective form of advertising. Establish an online presence by creating a website, a Facebook page, LinkedIn, Instagram. The returns on this activity will take some time (even years) but will prove to be worthwhile. Start writing good content and circulate it online. Trade shows are always good as they will put you in direct contact with buyers and competitors. At first, if your budget is modest go on your own to a industry conference and give out business cards. Once your business gets bigger, get a booth and staff it with your sales people. Spread it all out as you never know where your next lead will come from.

Bill Gates

Keep expenses low. At the beginning, you will need to develop your company and the revenues may not come pouring in right away. Bill Gates is quoted as saying that he always had enough cash on hand to run Microsoft for one year without one penny of sales. This is good practice for your business too.

Keep your nose clean and hope for the best.  I myself am a religious person and believe in prayer. But even if you yourself don’t, it can’t hurt to hope for the best. Luck never hurt anyone but ultimately a person creates her/his own luck. Work hard and don’t give up. Success is right around the corner.

GTS Translation Shows Off Translation Skills on Clutch!

With over 6,900 languages in the world, conducting business on a global scale can be tricky. And though we live in a globalizing world, it can still be tricky to communicate with overseas business partners.

GTS reviewed on Clutch

So how do you do it? Lucky for you, we are a top-notch translation service with the ability to translate countless languages such as Russian, Hebrew, French, Chinese, and Spanish just to name a few.

We provide professional translation services you can trust, and in a timely manner. With almost two decades of experience, we are able to deliver high quality translations unlike any other!

Don’t believe us yet? Well, according to Clutch, a B2B ratings and review site, we are one of the best translation services in the world! Our speedy and high-quality services have helped us continuously outrank out competitors all over the world.

However, we haven’t just been recognized by Clutch! We have ranked on The Manifest, a business news site, as one of the top translation service providers as well.

Thanks to all of our clients for leaving us such amazing feedback and helping us rank so well!

We recently received two reviews on Clutch: one is from an RV manufacturer we helped with translating vehicle manuals. The manuals ranged from 166-200 pages each- we translated from English to French Canadian. The publications specialist for the RV Manufacturer has said that we were always responsive and met deadlines! The translated manuals received good reviews from Canadian dealers, verifying the quality of our translations.

The second review was from a software company whom we helped translate their web application User Interface (UI) into 13 languages. The end client was very satisfied with our translations. And the software applications users in dozens of countries were invariable happy with our translations as attested to by the Senior Brand Strategist who ordered and coordinated the translation work.

But our clients aren’t just limited to one industry- we have translated materials for companies in biotech, banking, chemical manufacturing, clinical research, education, e-commerce, cosmetics, fashion, healthcare and more!

Here are a few more client testimonials to demonstrate our success:

“We are very happy with the results of the translations.  The setup for each section was perfect and it made implementing the translations much easier for us.” -Joshua Meinke, QA/Regulatory Supervisor, Applied Medical Technology, Inc.

“I just wanted to share a compliment with you from our CEO. He was incredibly impressed with the recent translation. It was quite evident to him that the team that performed the translation really knew what they were doing and produced a high-quality translation that is a great help to us.”-Laura Eichorn, FerroKin BioSciences, Inc. (now Shire PLC)

 In addition to Clutch and the Manifest, you can find our work featured on Visual Objects, a platform for creative design firms to post their portfolio items!

Thanks again to all of our amazing clients for sticking by us and helping us achieve such amazing titles! Visit our website and get in contact to learn what we can do for your business.

Localization, Internationalization or Globalization? Which one do you need?

localization, internationalization, globalization

As our world becomes increasingly smaller and interconnected through the rapid advance of technology, translation alone is often no longer enough. That’s where localization, globalization and internationalization services come in. But which do you need – and what is the difference between them? Read on to find out.


Let’s start with localization. Whether you’re translating marketing materials, an app, a video or something else, it’s important to focus your material on your target audience. Localization does just that. The process considers everything from the popular culture and current slang to the religious beliefs of the translation’s intended audience, molding the resulting language to meet those needs. Localization can apply to imagery, logos, company names and more, with all of these potentially being amended to suit one specific audience.


Internationalization is essentially the opposite of localization. It is the process of preparing something to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. Instead of focusing a translation on the needs of a specific group, the process creates a document (or logo, app, video game, etc.) that can be used by people around the world without the user experience diminishing in any way.

Internationalization must often be addressed at a deeper level than localization. Data encoding, software and hardware issues can all have a fundamental impact on internationalization and must therefore be considered as part of the overall process.


Globalization is the process of preparing something for a global audience. This is a broad term that can actually encompass both internationalization and localization. For example: as part of its globalization strategy, a company could seek to make its website appeal to as wide an audience as possible through internationalization when developing the site itself and the content, but then localize elements such as currencies and the checkout experience.

Which service do I need?

If your business has plans to expand its operations and court a global audience, then globalization is an essential part of the process (along with translation, naturally). In all likelihood, you will need both internationalization and localization expertise in order to build your brand around the globe.

Speaking with an established translation agency can be a helpful part of establishing the best way to go about reading your documents for your company’s globalization. Such entities have a great deal of experience when it comes to supporting brands to go global and will be able to offer insights as to where internationalization will be absolutely essential and where localization may also be of use. It’s a process that can at times seem complex, but the business benefits are undeniable. Building a brand that appeals to customers around the world is easier than ever before and can be an immensely rewarding – not to mention profitable – experience. As such, it’s time to start mapping out your globalization (and internationalization and location) needs.

Author Bio

 William Mamane is Head of Digital Marketing at a translation company that provides translation, localization, globalization and internationalization services.