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January 23, 2019 |

How Translators Can Choose a Niche in The Translation Industry

Choosing a niche in the translation industry can help translators work better and access more clients. Narrowing your expertise doesn’t guarantee a higher number of clients. But as you master your skills in a particular field, you’ll have more options. This eventually leads to consistent professional growth.   

In this industry, success belongs to those who know their business well. In a market that reported revenues of over $46.52 billion in 2018, there’s plenty of market potential.

General translators have their place in the business, but choosing a niche in the translation industry can be the essential differentiator between you and the competition.

What Is a Niche in the Translation Industry?

All translators are familiar with the term “specialization,” which generally refers to picking a particular field, product, or area and becoming an expert in translating related content. Many translators specialize in fields or types of translation services from legal to financial, and medical translation.

The niche is that segment of the market that corresponds to a specialization or a small part of specialization. A broad niche refers to medical translations, for example. But depending on your abilities, you could narrow that niche to dental medicine or pharmaceutical translations, depending on your topics of interest.

In every case, the segment of the market is specific and well defined. And it allows translators to stick to a precise area of expertise and become very good at it.

Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Niche in the Translation Industry

When choosing a niche in the translation industry, most translators go for a field in which they have some experience. Maybe because they had previous jobs in that particular industry or their studies are somehow related to it.

However, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all recipe. While you can become an excellent translator in a niche in which you’ve already spent a few years learning and growing as a professional, there are other aspects to consider.

The following questions can help you identify the right niche for your translation business.

1. What do you really like?

Building a solid career in translation based on previous working experience makes sense. You’ve already invested so much time learning about it, so why not continue in this direction?

However, doing something that you don’t like can become overwhelming and hard to bear in the long run. You should choose something that you like and have a passion for.

If you start investing your resources in something that seems boring to you, you won’t be able to connect with your audience. Translation requires continual learning to stay up-to-date with industry trends. So choose a niche that you enjoy researching, and you won’t have to reconsider your options after a couple of years.

2. What can you offer?

Whether you choose the niche, or the niche chooses you, you should make sure you have what it takes to become an expert in the field. Analyze your skills and make a list of the services that you can offer to potential clients.

Every market requires specific abilities and can open growth opportunities inside your business. Some translators, for example, also provide copywriting services or work as professional voiceovers.

Another crucial detail is the working environment. Technology today allows most translators to work online and translate directly on the web.

However, some industries may require you to have regular in-person meetings with clients. Are you ready to travel or receive them in an office? If not, maybe you should follow a different specialization.

3. Who is your ideal client?

When choosing a niche in the translation industry, you need to think about the type of people you want to work with and where you’ll find your clients.

A niche that’s too narrow may not be enough to ensure a consistent number of clients because it has a limited number of companies that need your services. In this case, you should widen your options and add another field to your primary specialization.

4. Do you comply with the regulations?

Some niches require 100 percent accuracy, such as legal and medical translations. These specializations come with rigid legal requirements meaning you’ll need special certification to prove that you have the right skills for the job.

You may need to pass several exams and become a member of a professional body, as part of your professional background. These things require time and money, so be ready to invest in yourself and your business.

5. Is the niche a growing market?

A translation business goes far beyond plain translations. You need to know your market well to grow as a professional. That’s why it’s important to make sure that the niche you target is realistic and sustainable.

Some narrow niches don’t work on their own, so you should be ready to either vary your services or widen your specialization.

Also, with machine translation on the rise, prices are going down, and some niches become less appealing than others. Unless you know the market well enough to make winning predictions, you’ll have a hard time finding new clients.

Learn as much as you can about the market you plan to operate in. Are prices fair enough to make a living from translation only? Are there too many translators fighting for a limited number of potential clients? Make contacts among other translators, talk to people. This way, you’ll have a clear picture of the market and its real potential for business.

The Benefits of Choosing a Niche in the Translation Industry

As you can see, several internal and external factors can influence your translation business, as well as your evolution as a professional language service provider. From knowing your skills to identifying the companies and individuals that need a specific type of translation service, many elements can help you decide on a niche in the industry.

Choosing a niche in the translation industry can help you find the right job for you. Something that you like, can become an expert in, and get better because you love what you do.