The translation industry is highly competitive. The number of translation companies is lesser than the demand for professional document translation services. So many factors affect the industry and the provision of services. Some offer general translation although many more offer specific and specialized services.
Like other industries, the translation industry is also beset with some problems, such as closing deals and educating potential clients, because there are still clients who do not understand the translation process and want shortcuts to lower the fees for translation services. Likewise, the problem of survival is always there, especially since many smaller companies are being beaten or eaten by larger companies with more resources.
There must be ways for translation companies to thrive in the industry. If you look at other industries, there are some things that smaller companies do differently, which could be of benefit to smaller translation agencies to make them stand out. If you’re a translation business owner, you can also look to other companies for tips and inspiration. Look for the innovative ways other companies do their business to be noticed. Here are a few tips that could be beneficial.
Do things out of the norm
In many instances, small to medium size business owners are too busy trying to grow their business. Often they try to do some things in a specific way because it’s the way other translation companies do it. However, if you are looking and doing the same things as your competition, you just become one of many. You may also find that the things you normally do are not working for your business. It remains stagnant and you may be relying on repeat translation orders from the same clients or maybe you’ll be lucky and a new client drops by.
If your business is growing at a snail’s pace, it is time to stop what you normally do and look at your short- and long-term goals. Work toward the realization of those goals, even if what you do will make you stand out among the rest. If you’re always aiming for a market that is already oversaturated, look for other markets that are closer to your specialization.
Make you agency attractive to clients by using client education as your tool
Translation is exciting work. You get to do different things each day and you encounter something new and challenging every day. Do not think that you are only a translator because you know that you are helping your clients and their clients as well. When you join a networking event and you’re asked what you do for a living, do not just say that you’re a translator or a translator that specializes in something, like patent, medical, legal or business. Instead, paint a picture of how your work helps your clients conduct their businesses internationally or how your work improves communication among people who speak different languages.
It is also important to ensure that your web presence makes people immediately grasp what your business is. Make it attractive to prospective clients by using images and texts that will help them to quickly understand your professionalism and at the same time, show them that you care for their needs and you’re still down to earth. Use your online resources to convince potential clients to work with you. It is vital that you give the best impression, whether in person or online.
Do not spend time on things that you do not bring you closer to the goals you’ve set
Even with a team, you still have plenty of things to do as a business owner. To reach your goals, see to it that you do not waste time on things that would not move you nearer to your targets. There are tasks that have to be done, such as administrative work, but if you are spending too much time on tedious or meaningless tasks that are not fulfilling, then you would have less time to do the real work.
You might be wearing too many hats at work. Is it possible to take off some of them? Take a hard look at all the things that you do and make a list. Find the right people to delegate some of the work that you do. In some cases, you might decide to get rid of all those tasks that eat up your time but do not contribute to your business growth. Trust the team that you have and unload some of the tasks to them. Unloading does not mean that you are not going to be on top of things. You are just making other people responsible and accountable for the work you assign to them. It’s to give you more time to think of innovative ways to make your business a big success.
Create blogs not only for industry colleagues but also for potential clients
Blogging is a critical element in online marketing. Although there are other forms that allow people to consume informative content, the written word is still one of the most effective methods. What is important is to have blogs that inform, educate and entertain. Moreover, blogs should be regularly updated. A blog is quite good for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. It is also a very effective means to show current and potential clients that you are an expert in your line of business. However, it is important to maintain separate blogs. Clients are still curious about translation services and the things that are related to translation, such as culture and language. On the other hand, a blog for colleagues contain content about the industry and other things they are familiar with.
It’s all right to have other types of income streams
You should be familiar with other businesses that diversify in order to have other sources of income. You can apply the strategy to translation services as well. Review the skills you have and market them as well. You just might be surprised at the benefits that this move can bring you. Did you know that popular German carmaker Volkswagen sells more pork sausages than they sell cars? In their German plant, Volkswagen churns out about 18,000 currywursts each day and the company has been doing it for the past 45 years. Their sausages are available in 11 countries but not in the United States.
Learn to strategize
Do not be satisfied with just doing translation work for your clients. As a business owner or as a translator, you might have heard that there are colleagues who refuse to work with clients who are always demanding unreasonable deadlines or those who do not want to pay the right rate for translation work. It is not going to change things is you just complain. You need to have a strategy so that situations like these are minimized or put under control.
Instead of just being a tool to the clients, take the time to learn why they have unreasonable deadlines or why they always wanted to pay lower rates. You have to do something in order for the respect for the profession remains intact. You have to make the client understand that the professional service you provide allows them to gain access to new markets and increase their earning. Translation work helps them to serve populations that they could not serve because of differences in language. Clients should recognize that a human translation team couldn’t be replaced by automation or machine.
Find a way to present your expert skills easily and attractively to potential clients
It is critical that you know how to present yourself to a client from the time that he or she makes an inquiry until the time that the client pays for the translation work. Think of the interactions with client as a continuum and use every opportunity to impress and educate them. Borrow good, effective and innovative ideas from other industries that made an impression on you. Tweak these ideas to suit your services and business style.
Learn new things and embrace new technologies to take your business a step further
Look and analyze the challenges that affect your business and the other businesses you admire. Find out how they came out on top of those challenges and formulate your own strategies. You could adopt similar software, technology and programs that could facilitate you workflows and project management. You might find that you can actually develop a project management tool that is specific to the translation industry.
Job orders for translation work are plenty but some agencies struggle to win over competition. You might have the abilities and the skills but when competition is fierce, it is how you present your abilities that could win contracts and clients’ trust.
Build a strategic team and improve your visibility
Research and being up to date about industry matters are important, along with how you present your company to your clients. You should have a core team or a strategic team that you discuss with regularly. It is better if the team is composed of professionals from other industries who can share new approaches in doing things.
You do not have to be unique to stand out. Every other translation company would be saying what you’re saying. Everyone would have the same claims on the number of languages they work with. They would be saying the same things, such as professionalism, accuracy, quality, fastest turnaround times or punctuality. These are actually what clients expect from a translation agency.
What is more important is to pinpoint the things that takes you above the rest and let the world know. For example, if your competitors do general translation work, highlight your specialization. If the competition works with more languages than you, be proud that you are selective and let clients know why it counts.
You can highlight some of your internal processes, like having exceptional translators in your team. Or you have innovative in-house training. Broadcast why clients are proud to recommend your service.
Whatever out-of-rote things you have or do, it is important to let others hear about it. Even if it is just slightly different from the rest, the most important thing is you present it in ways that are concrete rather than abstract.
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