What Makes You Unique In The Translation Industry?

IndesignThere is something I have been willing to blog about in while now, and it’s about how to differentiate yourself in the translation industry.

We all know there is a lot of competition in this sector, particularly for the main European languages such as French, Spanish and Italian. In various countries, including Belgium, our profession is not protected, which means that you don’t necessarily need to have a translation degree to start freelancing as a translator. Why? I don’t know, but this leads people to think that provided you speak another language, you can become a translator. We all know this is not true, but anyway, this post is not about that.

So as we face a fierce competition, whether it is due to the number of linguists on the market or the low rates that some of them apply, it is important to find a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and by competitors I mean the linguists who have the same language pairs. I don’t really consider those who have different language combinations as competitors…

Having the relevant degrees and affiliations is vital, though not sufficient anymore. Being able to offer additional services that can be combined to translation can be the key.

So what do you enjoy doing besides translating? You don’t know? That’s not a problem, have a look around, get the programmes of a few local training centres and find out :-)

When I started working in the translation industry, I quickly realised that the number of reliable typesetters on the market was very low. Yes, you can easily outsource your DTP to Asia and the Middle East, but the time difference and, sometimes, lack of reliability, make your projects difficult to handle.

This made me think: maybe I should learn how to use InDesign and then offer this service? I saw two selling points in being a translator as well as a typesetter. First, I am based in Europe, so there is no issue with the time difference as most of my clients are Europe-based. Second, being able to provide both translation and typesetting makes life so much easier for my clients as they can send their projects to one single point of contact rather than contacting 1 translator who doesn’t understand how typesetting works and 1 typesetter who doesn’t understand what he or she is typesetting.

type-in-indesign1_6738Investing in the software and the training have already paid off and in just a few weeks I saw a good return on investment. As I also speak Arabic, I’d love to be able to offer Arabic typesetting. However, this alphabet is not supported by the Western Version of Indesign – which is the version I have. Right now, I can’t really invest in yet another software, but that is on my “To Get List” so I am hoping to get it within the year. Besides, as this version is not easy to find, this means that Arabic typesetters are not that many on the market, so I guess that’s also a good point to differentiate myself.

So guys, it’s time to act NOW! What are you gonna do to make yourself UNIQUE? I’d love to know :-)

Until next time,



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