Is it worth to start a translation agency in a small town?
Translation agencies in smaller towns
Big cities and their suburbs are undoubtedly the centers which bring together translators and translation companies. The demand for this type of service, however, occurs throughout the country. It doesn’t matter how big the city is. Usually it’s not that difficult to find a company or a person willing to translate. Earnings in small towns are generally lower than in the bigger cities, but it doesn’t mean that starting a translation business in a small town would be unprofitable.
Does the profitability of running a translation agency depend on the size of the city?
It seems that since there are a lot of translation companies in the metropolitan areas and somehow all of them survive on the market, that's the best place to do the business. Big city offers great opportunities, mainly connected with the functioning of numerous international companies and consortiums interested to locate their funds in this particular place. So it may appear that the majority of translation orders come from the biggest cities.
While this might generally be true, a translation agency situated in a big city also encounters a number of problems:
• constant struggle with competition, which in such an area is quite large
• higher costs resulting from the necessity to employ more translators and specialized linguists and provide them with adequate working conditions
• expenditure on advertising and marketing activities in order to attract a potential customer
• the necessity of having an extensive network of translators with different specializations and knowledge of a variety of languages - including some considered as ‘exotic’.
All of the abovementioned factors result from more diverse orders and local market competition. It makes the costs of running your own business grow significantly and you need to neatly balance between profitability and the desire to maintain the client.
Small towns are quieter - but nobody suffers from shortage of orders
Being aware of the fact that the largest urban centers are attracting business and investments, it can easily be assumed that the owners of translation agencies in small towns will complain about the lack of orders. That’s not entirely true. Of course, the clients themselves are not as numerous as in any big European city, but it is compensated for lower costs of running an agency and the lack of necessity to constantly struggle with various competitors.
In small towns, a social factor usually plays a key role: people know each other, exchange opinions about the professionalism of the services they experienced - and often prefer to “pay their own folk" than pay a foreign company from another, larger city.
Great caution in investing is also an important feature of such a market. Rarely does someone come up with an idea to open another translation agency in a place where a prosperous company providing the same services already exists.
Sometimes it is the location - not the population
In order to open a translation agency, it is worth to take into consideration not only the size of a city, but also a plethora of other factors - such as the location and the existing offer of such services on the market. It is also good to talk with the local authorities about the plans for the nearest future - if there is a plan of building a technology park underway, you can be sure that there will be considerable demand for translation services.