Freelance Translators Have to Think About Their Own Market Research

onNovember 5, 2015

inGeneral, Translation Tips

Market Research

It is not uncommon to find the newbie freelance translator who hasn’t fully appreciated that they are a business and need to think quite clearly about their market – who they intend to provide translation work for – if their business is to succeed.

What most translators have in abundance is enthusiasm for their work and a willingness to work hard at whatever they do, but that is not enough, just as it is not enough for any new business to thoroughly understand their potential or actual market and how to best make use of the research they do about their market so that their business is more effective.

So what exactly is market research?

Market research is not the same thing as marketing translation services, even though quite a large portion of the translation work you might expect to get is of this type. One good way of explaining what market research is all about is to compare your business to a journey into the unknown. Do you know where you are going, why you are going there and do you have a map to show you how to get there? If you don’t it is quite likely you might get lost on the way!

Without doing effective market research, you don’t really know who your potential clients are, what their expectations are and where they are located. Part of market research is finding out as much information as you can about your clients but also how you can best let them know that you exist and what your translation services are and why they should seek you out to do their translation work for them.

Market research also means checking out the competition

Like it or not, you won’t be the only freelance translator out there. It is also part of market research to find out about your competitors. What are they translating? Who are they translating for? How much are they charging? What special services are they offering? How are they advertising themselves? How successful are they? What, if any, is a gap in the existing translation market which doesn’t seem at this point to be adequately filled, yet is within you capabilities? In many ways, you learn as much about your potential clients by analysing your fellow freelance translators or document translation service providers as you might by analysing your actual and potential clients themselves.

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