Ways Translators Can Diversify Their Income
Diversifying your income is the proverbial additional baskets to put your eggs in.
While some translators may prefer to focus on nothing but translation - others like to dabble in various activities. We came into the profession through our curiosity for other cultures. Why not exploit our curiosity for other disciplines, too?
Taking a page from the investor’s book, diversification means having several sources of income. It’s a risk management strategy and works for a lot of translators.
There are many reasons translators may choose to diversify their income, here are the main two:
- To have a more secure flow of income and mitigate any slowing down of translation work
- For a wider variety of work
Both are great reasons.
Some people get bored doing the same job every day. Even though translation jobs can differ greatly in subject and approach, the task remains the same. Providing a variety of services can keep your mind fresh and inspired.
Also, as we’ve learned, we never know when a huge crisis can hit and totally dry up one source of income. It’s a safety move to have a few different sources to make sure something is always coming in.
Vertical vs. horizontal diversification
There are different ways you can diversify your income.
Vertical diversification is expanding your services to a new clientele.
For example, you could teach language or writing, do tech work for colleagues, or start blogging.
Horizontal diversification is adding services to appeal to your current client base.
For example, if you translate marketing material, you can add multilingual keyword research or SEO optimisation as a value-added service.
Here are some possible streams of income that are aligned with translators’ skills:
Translators need to be good writers, so writing as a source of income is a natural step.
Copywriting is writing for commercial purposes, but copywriters can work on all sorts of projects:
- Website copy
- Sales copy
- Email marketing
- Content writing (blog articles, etc.)
- SEO writing
- Social media creation
The list goes on, and you can specialise deeply in any of them. Adding this skill will also help you in your translation work, since you’ll have a better understanding of the purpose of your translation.
Like organising people and teams?
Project management is a highly valued skill that you can do on a freelance basis. Translation agencies that aren’t ready to take on in-house project managers outsource this work. Of course, you can also manage projects for companies outside of translation.
If you’re a clear communicator, organised and can give and follow instructions well, this is a great way to diversify your income.
Scale and build a team
If you do enjoy organising teams and building systems - instead of managing other companies’ projects, why not your own? Some translators might not be a fan of the business side of translation - but others thrive in it. If this is you, scaling a team is a solid way to add another stream of income.
You can take your freelance work and scale it - outsource translation jobs, editing, proofreading, and even project management, while you handle the higher-level view of your company.
This will allow you to still take any translation jobs you want, but also work on other projects that inspire you.
You can use a tool like LSP.expert to easily manage your translation team, projects and client information all in one place.
I’ve decided how to diversify - now what?
Well, now you have to let the right people know what you’re doing.
That’s called marketing, and is another important non-translation skill to learn, whether you decide to diversify or not.
There are plenty of ways to market your new service - personally inform your clients, go to networking events, create a website and a LinkedIn profile and start creating content. The how is up to you - but you do need to go out and connect with people who may need your new services.
Would you or have you diversified your income? In what way? We want to know.