Start A Translator Business

A translator business and consulting service is an awesome 21st Century business.  According to the NAICS Association, the translation business has been growing by about 50% since 2007.  

. . . And in 2012, the Common Sense Advisory (a translation industry organization) estimated the size of the industry at $33.5 Billion Dollars a year with expected industry growth to $37 Billion by 2018.  

We're all aware of the global economy -- the world is shrinking!   Unfortunately, our ability to speak with our global neighbors hasn't gotten much better with the majority of the world population unable to speak two or more languages.   This is where you come in with your business!!!  :)

. . . And if you live in the United States (or other countries) and think, “Well, we are primarily and English speaking country”  While English is the official language, you may want to expand your views on the amount of different languages spoken In the U.S..

Just take a look at the U.S. Census Bureau 2011 Language Mapper.  This is a terrific tool showing the different languages spoken in specific geographic areas.   I found this to be absolutely fascinating – we know we’re a “melting pot”, but this map confirms our general understanding of how different languages may impact us every day.    

If you're interested in starting a translator business, I'd take a few minutes to study the Language Mapper!  I personally found it fascinating.  I've always (kind of) have known there were a variety of languages spoken where I live, but this map confirmed the facts for me.   There were far more non-English speaking individuals than I understood previously.  

So with this large demand globally, if you have an interest in serving your clients and helping people to understand one another, this could be the perfect business for you!

N2 - Niche Notes

Niche Notes!!

There are so many interesting ways to start your translator business.  This depends upon your  interests and expertise . . . what about the following specialties?

1)  Translate a website or blog for your clients -- or start your own?

2)  Newspapers or magazine articles

3)  Books, Literature

4)  Work with local/global Copywriters to translate their materials

5)  Interpret speeches and translate during speaking engagements

6)  Teach classes to local individuals or at child camps encouraging second language knowledge

7)  Help companies to translate their marketing materials and signs

8)  Become or work with a data researcher to translate statistical information

Translator Business - What's It Take?


  • In-depth knowledge of two or more language (reading/writing/comprehension skills)
  • Ability to translate written materials into quality, meaningful content
  • Skill in interpreting speech and translating quickly
  • Interest in writing and speaking
  • Computer skills
  • Understanding cultural customs may be beneficial

Resources:   A computer, printer, scanner. bi-lingual dictionary and resources

Time Required:   10-15 hrs/week; can work full-time 30-40+ hrs/week


Obviously, you'll need comprehensive training and/or understanding of multiple languages (this may come from growing up in a household that speaks one language and going to school where a second language was spoken).  It doesn't necessarily mean you have formal training as long as you know both languages fluently. Knowledge of cultural nuances which affect each language may be helpful depending upon which area of translation services you decided to pursue.   Marketing ideas and approach for identifying clients who need your expertise.  

Market:  Local, Regional, or International Companies

Home-Based:  Yes

Internet:  Yes

Location:   Local, Regional, National, International

You may choose to work from home, over the internet, or anywhere through out the world as long as you can communicate with your clients on a regular basis.

Start-Up Costs:  $500 - $2,000

Minimizing Start-Up Costs:  As you begin your translator business or consulting firm, utilize your home office along with your computer or tablet.  Utilize networking groups to get the word out about your services along with basic flyers and a website identifying the specific services you provide.   Make appointments with mid-size companies to discuss your services, but don’t have a large international presence with multi-lingual staff on-hand.

Business Ideas . . . 

Translator Business back to Service Business Ideas . . .