Small Business Start-Up Idea – Translation Service

For someone who is fluent in more than one language, starting an online translation service is a good business idea. There are numerous automatic translation engines online but they can be inaccurate and extremely literal, making them fairly useless for a company wishing to write copy in another language.  Personal translation services are therefore in high demand amongst companies wishing to expand to other countries.  

Skills needed: You need to be highly fluent in the languages involved in the translation, both orally and in writing. It will be helpful if you are familiar with writing professional copy and have basic web publishing skills to keep your website updated.  

Business environment and set-up cost:  You will have high international potential in countries that speak your languages. If you already own basic computer hardware and software then you will not have high start-up costs. You will need to pay someone to professionally design and host your website. The overall start-up cost will range from £1,500 to £2,500 (2,000- 3,000 EUR, 3,000-5,000 AUD/USD).  

Marketing Techniques:  

  • Participate in the pay-per-click schemes of the popular search engines
  • Use keywords and other techniques to optimise your website for search engines
  • Place online links to your business at websites, directories and cybermalls related to conducting international business
  • Pay for banner advertisements at websites related to conducting international business
  • Become involved in newsgroups and forums related to conducting international business. Make sure you attach a signature to your posts with a clickable link to your website
  • Use OnlineOffice to set up web-site, blog and online shop to promote your business online

Complimentary business ideas: You could partner with companies selling translation software to earn commission.  

Notes: If sensitive material is to be translated, privacy of the information may concern the company. It is important for you to provide secure transfer of the finished product, whether it is a hard copy (via registered mail) or digital (using encryption).  

Online examples & resources:  

For previous SME start-up ideas, look through the archive here 

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