Recently, I attended a networking event where someone asked me an interesting question – they asked if language services, namely translations, would be categorized as an entrepreneurial endeavor.

While my simple answer is always “why not?” – every business gets its start somewhere, right? The truth is that starting a language services business is just the same as any other. It starts with a dream. Ours was and still is, that we believe there has never been a better time in history for a business to go global. Part of every entrepreneurial business plan going forward should address language as a part of sales, marketing and operations. Outsourcing, especially internationally, has become the norm. When a business has a global workforce and markets are all over the world, it needs to be prepared to take on language and cultural challenges.

Translations entrepreneurs must navigate the increasingly complex process of creating a successful business. First, you need to formulate a game plan and identify your target market. You have to ask the logical questions – who needs translation services? When do they need them? How does a client choose a provider?

As with any entrepreneur, you have to create your value statement. These are the answers to the questions and problems you can solve for your potential clients. “Why should I hire you?” Just knowing a language does not translate to being able to solve those complex problems for international markets. Much of what happens multiculturally cannot be found in a text book or class. It has to do with experience.

If you want to make money in this field, you have to be a shrewd marketer and be able to compete on digital media. That means making yourself findable and approachable on the internet. It’s a network or die world out there.

Who Needs Language Services?

The simplest answer is, in this expanding global economy, every business needs our services. Whether you are identifying emerging markets, or expanding your operations across international borders, you need to learn how to talk the talk.

When Does An Entrepreneurial Endeavor Need Translations?

Yesterday, Now, Tomorrow. Translations is among the fastest growing industries in the world for a reason. For example, did you know that than 70 percent of the global population does not do business in English? Businesses have to know the lost opportunity cost of not going global.

How Does Business Select A Language Services Provider?

This is by far the most critical question. A translation provider is as critical as a legal team and should be selected with precision. Translations is, after all, a business, so the consideration is what is ultimately conducive to the business brand. If you present your services in too tight of a niche, it may preclude you from opportunities. Think carefully about your alignments. Plain and simple – you need a translations team that are subject matter experts and able to provide tailored, strategic language solutions, no matter the market. Flexibility is key.

That’s a significant part of our philosophy at Global Speak. We understand that some of the most exciting and profitable opportunities exist outside our domestic borders. As a result, we have grown into a premier language resource that specializes in assisting with identifying new emerging markets and engaging new audiences, both at home and abroad for our client companies.

I leave you with these closing questions – aren’t we all, in some way, entrepreneurs who are looking to take our place on the global stage? Isn’t that, after all, a part of business? While profit and loss and market share might be universal business ideals, language is not. If you’re a Language Services Entrepreneur, be sure you have a plan in place and that you understand your client’s businesses goals.

The next great frontier for language is out there – are you prepared to conquer it?

Thomas LacombeWith more than 10 years of experience in business development and language translations, Thomas Lacombe, president of Global Speak Translations, stays on the pulse of what is happening in the global business arena. He enjoys exploring translation solutions so that he may turn language and cultural diversity into business opportunities for his clients. Learn more at www.globalspeaktranslations.com.

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