To bring home the bacon, translators and interpreters need clients to get work. You can get clients by marketing your services. How many clients you’ll need depends on the size of their orders and the type of clients you have. For one translator, half a dozen clients may be enough, where another has hundreds.

Before you start marketing your services, think about the following three things:

1. What you’re selling, i.e. your products and services.

2. Who you’re selling to, i.e. your target audience.

3. What your rate is, i.e. your pricing method.

Products and Services

In the language service business, your products are the services you offer. There’s a lot of variation in the service packages in the field: while one translator may offer their services in just one language pair, another may offer both translation and interpreting services in several language pairs plus different types of review and layout services. Some translation agencies buy project management services from entrepreneurs as well.

Examples of language services:

·       translation

·       certified translation

·       interpreting

·       localization

·       translation revision

·       language revision

·       proofreading

·       layout

·       project management

Possible Clients

There are many potential target groups for language service entrepreneurs. One option is to choose to offer your services primarily to translation agencies, since it’s simpler and more straightforward to aim your marketing towards them than direct clients. In addition to translation agencies and direct clients, the target audience may consist of private individuals (usually certified translations). Translation agencies have a lot of work, but the competition for their commissions is tough.

Another option is direct clients, who can belong to either public or private sectors. The clients may be companies in different areas of business, big or small, and they can reside either in your home country or abroad.

You should never underestimate the power of networks either. Although the client is a company, the person placing the order is a human. People buy from people. For this reason, it’s well worth the effort to create extensive beneficial networks.



Create a price list for yourself where you include the rates for each of your services. Here’s an example:

·       translation, language pair: x €/line, word or page

·       interpreting, language pair: x €/hour or day

·       hourly rate x €

·       minimum charge x €

In addition, create separate lists for different client groups, for example one list for direct clients and another one for translation agencies. You can also have client-specific price lists if you have agreed on certain prices with some of your clients. You should write these down carefully so that you remember to calculate the right price for each of your clients. However, it’s easier for you if you don’t have too many lists.