Mobile menu

The start up of a translation company.
Thread poster: babycheeks

babycheeks  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:53
English to Albanian
+ ...
Jul 13, 2006

Dear colleagues,

I am planning on starting a translation company.
Can anybody help me with any words of wisdom, advice or tips on how to get started and mostly how to get affirmed and well-known?

Appreciate all the help i can get!


Direct link Reply with quote

Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:53
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
well, Jul 13, 2006

as my Martial Arts teacher used to say, there is a lot of potential...

- first you probably need to inscribe yourself at the Chamber of Commerce and with the Tax office.
- you probably need to set up some sort of administration
- you need to do something about the resume you posted, because now it reads like somebody applying for an office job instead of an independant freelancer
- you probably want to detail as much of you translation experience as possible, especially since you claim to speak and translate from/into many languages
- then you only need to get a few clients, deliver great work on time and send invoices - this will probably require lots of e-mails to translation agencies and companies in your specialist area.
- you probably want a Translation tool (like Wordfast to begin with for free)
- you also need dictionairies and reference books
- and you probably want a proofreader or two, to make sure you don't leave any silly mistakes and your text flows naturally.


Direct link Reply with quote

Stephen Rifkind  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:53
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Start small and budget Jul 13, 2006

Calculate what you can afford as start up expenses. These include, at minimum:

a functional computer (it does not have to be the hottest thing in town)

fast internet connection

a fax

a marketing budget for membership fees to translation associations, marketing organization, translation sites, as you see fit

Expand only as you earn above your threshhold level.

In addition, try and learn what the market wants. I translate from three languages to English, but 70% of my business is from Hebrew because the work/translator ratio is good there. I had no idea when I began.

About the previous comment about a proofreader, you can translate or your edit (at least on longer documents), but you cannot do both effectively. Long term, give up some revenue so you can keep customers and avoid angry clients.

Good luck.

Stephen Rifkind

Direct link Reply with quote

Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Member (2002)
+ ...
Some hints Jul 13, 2006

Hi Majlinda,

In addition to what outher colleagues have said, I would like to point out:

1. It's crucial to keep the fix costs as low as possible, e.g. don't rent any office until you can really afford it.
2. Also, don't try to offer everything to everybody, like any language combination within any field for any client - that's doomed. It's far better to specialize into e.g. technical texts for business clients or whatever.
3. Build up a trustworthy network of translators and proofreaders.
4. Do a good job and see to it that your clients tell others That's the cheapest and best marketing you can get.


Erik Hansson ( SFÖ )
Technical translator DE-SV
Hansson Übersetzungen GmbH
Am Birkenwäldchen 38
D-01900 Bretnig-Hauswalde, Germany
ProZ profile

Direct link Reply with quote

Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:53
Spanish to English
Outsourcing Jul 14, 2006

I presume that as a company you will be outsourcing work. I would say it is vital to only outsource short translations to translaters who are new to you and allow enough for the translation to be redone if necessary. You will, hopefully, gradually build up a base of translaters you know to be reliable and avoid letting down your clients and getting yourself into any financial problems.

Direct link Reply with quote

To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

The start up of a translation company.

Advanced search

Translation news

Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »
Translators like you are producing higher quality translations faster with Lilt!

After years of research at Stanford University, Lilt has introduced a revolutionary new tool that will change the way you translate. Lilt learns how you translate to give you more personalized suggestions. Be more productive today! Use it FOR FREE!

More info »

All of
  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs