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June 26, 2019 |

How Translators Can Be More Competitive in 2019 and Beyond 

The last time someone tried to estimate the size of the language services industry, there were 640,000 translators in the world. According to the Translators Association of China (TAC), one in four language service providers is a freelancer. There’s no doubt; competition is extremely high. So how can translators be more competitive with so many people ready to sell their language services? 

Depending on the language pair you provide translation services for, you may have a hard time staying ahead of your competitors. Your language skills alone can only take you so far. 

You need to learn marketing, networking, and some other tips and tricks to build a reputation in the industry. Here are some practical ways in which translators can be more competitive in 2019 and beyond. 

1. Focus Translation Services on a Specific Niche

Choosing a niche can help translators gain access to more clients and deliver better translations. When you narrow your services down to a specific domain within the industry, you can master your skills in that particular field. 

How can a niche help translators be more competitive? Here are a few of the benefits:

  • Consistent professional growth, as you continue to study and learn about the field. 
  • Better options to land high-paying jobs, as you become an authority in the niche. 
  • The chance to build a solid translation memory to use for future projects, which enables you to reduce translation costs. 

The sooner you choose a niche, the higher your chances are of becoming an expert. Many fields require Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for translations. Companies in the healthcare industry or people who need legal translation services, for example, won’t work with beginners. 

In verticals where translation requires 100 percent accuracy, you can differentiate yourself from competitors is by providing impeccable services. Choose a niche, and you’ll become the go-to person or high-paying clients.  

2. Stay Updated on the Latest Trends in the Industry

The language services industry has seen significant changes in the past years. Thanks to globalization and the internet, almost all companies rely on translation and localization services.  

Businesses today need to meet the high expectations of a “global” public to be successful. This means you need to find innovative ways of helping your clients communicate with their clients effectively. 

Find experts in translation and follow them to learn how the industry is changing. Attend conferences and industry events to stay updated on the many challenges companies face in the internet era. 

The more you know about the trends in the industry, the higher your chances of understanding your clients’ needs and adapting your services to them. Tailor-made solutions that address those needs can make translators more competitive and bring in more jobs. 

3. Build a Network

Networking is an excellent way of getting in touch with other professional translators. Not only will you learn from them, but they can also turn into collaborators that bring in more clients. 

Don’t avoid colleagues just because one of them could take advantage of your knowledge. Also, don’t be afraid to share your experience. Being a lone wolf in a world governed by social media can only limit your business opportunities.

Go to translation conferences, join professional associations, or use social media to connect with people in the industry. Every language professional can become a source of information, inspiration, or even revenue. Plus, you’ll be making friends who understand your passion for languages and appreciate your abilities. 

4. Be Open to Human-Machine Collaboration

Technology and translation go hand in hand. Or, at least, they should, as software can make a difference in the way you approach translation projects. Technology can help translators be more competitive in more ways than one. 

Among the benefits of using computer-assisted translation, you should consider:

  • Project management features that enable you to provide your clients with all the details they need to measure progress. 
  • Consistency across all translations, thanks to a Translation Memory (TM) that allows you to create and manage a glossary of terms. 
  • Reduced costs, which help you keep your prices in the market range. 
  • Fast turnarounds that all your clients will appreciate. 
  • Built-in quality assurance features, which allow you to minimize translation errors and deliver excellent services to all your clients.
  • The ability to work with multiple types of source files, which makes things easier for your less tech-savvy clients. 

As you can see, using software to speed up the translation process doesn’t mean you’re cutting corners or sacrificing quality. On the contrary, the computer can become a trust-worthy ally in your attempt to deliver better services, faster, and for a fraction of the cost. 

5. Keep a Blog

Publishing content about the translation industry can help translators be more competitive. A blog is a critical element in your strategy for professional growth. 

Blogging can help you establish your business as an authority in the niche. Whether you’re a freelancer or a company, a blog can help you communicate with prospects and find new clients. 

The trick is to write educational content–blogs that inform, educate and sometimes entertain the audience. Moreover, you should take the time to update the content regularly to keep it relevant. 

Use your blog to explain your services and guide your potential clients through the secrets of the translation industry. You can also write for your colleagues, as a way to expand your network and find new collaborators in your niche. 

6. Plan a Marketing Strategy

Marketing is an essential element of business growth. As you might have learned by now, clients don’t fall out of the sky. They need to find you, so you should be ready to promote yourself in places where potential clients are looking. 

Find some cost-effective ways of improving your marketing skills. From online classes to how-to articles, there’s plenty of material online to help you master your abilities to promote yourself. 

Build a marketing strategy that will allow you to reach the right clients. Analyze the market, identify your ideal clients, and start looking for them online. The more you learn about your customers’ needs, the higher your chances of providing them with the right service. This way, you can step ahead of your competitors and bag ongoing work. 

The Takeaway

Translators can be more competitive when they never stop learning. Stay updated about the latest trends and learn everything you can about how the needs of your ideal clients change. 

Follow the industry, go to conferences, and don’t be afraid of technology. This way, you can stay relevant and reinvent your translation business every time it’s necessary. 

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