Do you think there’s enough demand for Portuguese to English translation work?
I have a degree in English from U.S. and Portuguese is my mother tongue.
I also speak Spanish, not as good as Portuguese, but I heard that there’s lots of competition for Spanish translators.
Right now I’m doing a job that I don’t like, but I can’t quit because that would have a negative impact on my finances.
Language translation is my passion.
Do you think I can make a good living offering Portuguese to English translation service? If so how do I get started? Thank you.
Ana Borrega U.S.
Thanks for your message. Unfortunately I don’t have a clear-cut answer to your question. I’m sorry that you don’t like your current job. Interestingly many people start their own business because they are tired of their regular jobs.
I’m glad that you keep your personal finances as a priority as most of us should. I wouldn’t recommend anyone in your situation to quit a regular job cold turkey. That’s just not being responsible.
As for the market demand for Portuguese to English translation, I believe this is a relatively small language group, depending on where you live, and what the market supply is, situations could vary significantly. To determine the feasibility of your business plan, you need to ask these questions:
– What’s the size of the Portuguese speaking community in your local area?
– Do you have pretty good connection with them – meaning can you get related information from them?
– Do you have any existing social network in place that would help promote your services?
– Do you still have ties with those Portuguese speaking countries such as Brazil and Portugal? Can you get work from them?
If you are serious about creating some viable income, you need to find the answers to the above questions.
You should also find out those who are already offering Portuguese to English translation services in your local area. If possible talk to them, see what their takes are on the market and clients.
Keep in mind that not everything they say would be the reality. It’s most likely a personal opinion, but that’s a great way to collect information you need to make a decision.
Don’t forget to talk to your potential clients. What sort of services do they need? Who are they hiring right now? What are their concerns and issues?
After you’ve done the homework, you’ll likely get a general idea whether doing Portuguese to English translation is going to be a viable income solution for you.
I don’t know about your Spanish level, but any additional language you speak is going to score you points in the labour market. But it’s unlikely for clients, with the intense competition out there, to choose you for their Spanish English projects as neither of these two languages are your mother tongue unless there’s an obvious price advantage.
Compare the information you get from various sources and make your own decision. If it works out, great! You can start with these low or no cost marketing strategies.
If the information you have indicates a lack of demand in the market, you may want to look at other options.
In that case I have another piece of advice for you, if I may. You should never get fixated on your initial idea. Yes, language translation may be your passion, but passion alone is not enough to pay your bills on the table. Many people may not realize this, but our interests do change over time.
I’m not saying this to discourage you from pursuing your dream. Rather I’m trying to present an objective picture to help you make that decision.
This is precisely the reason I talked about the difference between an entrepreneur and a freelancer. (more about how to think beyond freelance work and start running a thriving business)
An entrepreneur always keeps an open mind for business opportunities. You may come in with a passion and an idea, but you allow yourself to be flexible to adapt to the market. After all, if the market demand is not there, you may not generate the income you want.
Nurture your passion, but keep focused on your goal – not your idea. You may find some other businesses that allow you fully take advantage of your language skills.