Freelancer Tips

How to Expand Your Freelance Translation Business Through Localization

Freelancer Tips

As a translator, you may be looking into ways to upgrade or expand your business. Tapping into the growing field of localization might be your key to growth. Translation and localization go hand and hand. They both involve language and the changing of text or a message– except localization is more far-reaching. With that reach comes ample opportunity for freelance translators looking to expand their businesses.  

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s first address what exactly localization is, how it differs from translation, and how you can step into the role of a localization specialist.  

What is localization and how is it related to translation?  

For starters, localization and translation are not exactly the same. Instead, translation is a part of localization– it concerns translating text from one language to the next so that it retains its original meaning. The keyword here is language.  

Localization, on the other hand, concerns not only the translation of text (or language), but it also concerns capturing the cultural and non-textual nuances within a specific country or region– including the visual and technological aspects of the specific country or region.  

These nuances or aspects of consideration for a localization specialist can be as minute as: 

USA: Sally’s apple pie was delicious, even if its color was a little off.  

UK: Sally’s apple crumble was delicious, even if its colour was a little off.   

Or even further:  

USA (South): Nothing is better than peach cobbler and pop on a hot summer day.  

USA (Midwest): Nothing is better than a Mississippi mud pie and soda pop on a hot summer day.  

USA (New England): Nothing is better than apple pie and coke on a hot summer day.  

While these examples are about delicious summer desserts, they depict the nuances a localization specialist considers when localizing a piece of text. However, localization extends beyond text.  

Rather, it encompasses the entire experience a message creates as each message is translated specifically for its locale. A cold Mississippi mud pie and can of soda pop on a hot summer day means more to someone from the Midwest than it would to someone from New England.  

Be a localization specialist first and a translator second  

So, what does this mean for freelance translators looking to expand their business? Well, simple– you should think like a localization expert first and foremost, not as a translator. 

Again, translation is a part of localization. It’s a starting point. In working as a localization specialist, you must translate not only the text or message, but go a step further and adapt the message for the specific country, region, and culture. Consider the local idioms, spelling, grammar, slang, measurement units, date formats, cultural references, and so on. This is how you create that local experience instead of simply translating the message.  

This is only a fraction of localization. If you want to expand your business, take the time to study up on the field. There is a multitude of resources available online for you to brush up on your localization skills

Market yourself to gain traction 

With your localization skills brushed up, it’s about time to market yourself. The most immediate way you can begin expanding your business is through your current clientele.  

Extend your services and inform your clientele that you also offer localization services for all translation projects. A lot of the time, clients are looking to outsource to localization experts at some point during their project, so this is a chance for you to put yourself out there.  

You can then use this experience to add to your online portfolio or website to market yourself to a wider audience. It’s also worth updating any of the freelance and online marketplace sites you’re active on. Set your tags for the algorithm and make sure to update your bio and experience sections to include localization.  

And if you don’t have any current clients in need of localization, you’re in the right place. Businesses of all sizes and industries head to BLEND when they’re in search of localization services to help them connect with consumers all over the globe. 

Bottom Line  

If you think localization is for you, take it upon yourself to expand your freelance translation business to include the service! You’ll be surprised at the growth in demand for localization experts and talent as companies, brands, and apps alike are extending their products to new markets. 

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author post

Corinne Sharabi

Corinne is the Social Media and Content Lead at BLEND. She is dedicated to keeping global business professionals up to date on all things localization, translation, language and culture.


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