Scaling your Translation Business: What’s it All About?
You may have heard about translators scaling their businesses.
What does scaling mean, and how can you do it?
Scaling means to grow your business without you being a bottleneck. That means as you scale, you can take on more projects and it’s not determined by the amount of time you have available or the number of words you can take on in a day.
It means you start outsourcing some or all of the work you get.
Depending on how you look at it, scaling your translation business means becoming a translation agency.
In this article, we look at the how and why of scaling a translation business.
Why scale your translation business?
Scaling your translation business is a way to make more money with less work.
It’s also great for translators who also enjoy:
- Managing teams
- Doing the actual business side of translation - finding clients, generating more leads, doing marketing
- Working with different kinds of people
Some translators prefer to do nothing but translation.
But that’s not for everyone! When you scale, you can take on clients with greater needs - perhaps larger volumes of work or needs for translation into several language pairs. You’ll be able to serve them with your team.
The main benefit of scaling is to increase and diversify your income in the translation business. But it’s also to free up your time without losing money.
What does a scaled translation business look like?
Scalability relies on strong systems, workflow, and processes.
That means you have systematized processes for
- Onboarding clients
- Outsourcing translations
- Managing the translation/editing/proofreading process
- Quality control
- Delivering translation
- Receiving & implementing feedback
- Invoicing and payment
That means you have a documented, repeatable, step-by-step process you do for all of these steps. It takes some tweaking - you do it yourself first, write down all the steps you take, and then follow your checklist next time you do it.
If you missed a step or did it wrong, then you edit your system until it works well and somebody else can replicate it.
This means you can start delegating more tasks and you have more time to work on what you really like.
How should I start scaling my translation business?
The first place to start is by getting a reviewer for your work.
Even if you don’t want to scale, we highly recommend getting a reviewer!
The next people you’ll want to hire are:
- More translators
- Project managers
- VA (virtual assistant)
This may take a while, and you should tighten and test your systems for hiring these people before you move on to the next one. Outsourcing can be dangerous if you don’t have a strong system in place for maintaining quality.
In LSP.expert, we have a supplier portal that allows you to outsource jobs in just a few clicks - this will already take a lot of work out of building your systems. In the suppliers tab, you can also rank your translators on various categories: timeliness, quality, and more, so that you know who to pick for the right job.
Having everything in one organised system makes it easier to scale while maintaining quality and keeping happy clients.
Have you started scaling your translation business? Would you try? Why or why not?