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Tools and Technology in Translation »»» Business Plan


Hi everybody! A few weeks ago, I did a quick survey on a Facebook group with fellow translators and they seemed very interested in getting ideas on how to put a business plan together. So, today, I’d like to go through
one of the assignments I have in my “Tools and Technology
in Translation” class, when I ask students to reflect on what they want from their career in the translation
and interpretation industry. The first thing I ask is for them to write down 5 short-term goals, that is, what they would like to achieve in a 1-5 year period. Then I ask them to
write down 5 more items that they consider long-term goals, which they would like
to achieve in 10 years or so. Depending on how they want
to develop their careers, these goals might include working part-time or full-time
as freelance translators, thus transitioning from
their current employment. Or maybe establishing
their own company, and possibly having colleagues working with them. Students usually mention that they would like to become members
of a profession association, maybe even seeking certification after passing an exam like the one offered by the
American Translators Association. And, of course, finishing their degree in Translation and Interpretation. After brainstorming these
short-term and long-term goals, I ask them to write down
their desired business names. Depending on the country
where you operate, you can actually do business
under your own name, or you can create a
partnership, or establish a limited liability company,
or even a small corporation. Then I ask them to
visualize their logo, an image that
will represent their business. I tell them that it’s also good to have a mission statement and a slogan while keeping their
target audience in mind. Finally, I ask them
what their marketing ideas and business strategies are. Will they contact
translation agencies only? Direct clients only? Maybe both… Will they advertise only online, or also in the conventional media? Are they planning on making business cards, flyers, and other promotional materials? As I always tell them, this business plan is not something set in stone. It’s a dynamic list of ideas about what they would like to
achieve throughout their career. Most students
are overwhelmed at first, but they end up being glad
that they took the time to set some direction
that they can follow. I know it sounds obvious, but you definitely want
to do a Google search when brainstorming
for business names. After all, there are so many translation businesses out there, and you have to do everything
possible to stand out from the crowd. Think about something
that is unique to you, maybe related to
your language combination, the country where you come from, or your main specialization. Maybe your last name
brings to mind an interesting concept that you would like to make
the heart of your business. In any case, it’s
always a good idea to search for individual names
within quotes, so you can find results
for that exact combination of words. Once you come up with a short list
of unique business names, you still have to check if domain
names are available for them. Give preference to
.com domain names, so it’s easier for your clients
to remember your web address. The main thing here is
to be unique and easy to remember. After all, you don’t want your clients
to misspell your business name, nor do you want to
send them someone else’s way and lose a business opportunity.

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