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6 Small Business Ideas for the Multilingual Entrepreneur

By: Jane Donovan


Young woman and man in headphones learning different languages communicating through simultaneous interpretation

Being multilingual expands your personal horizons and allows you to communicate with a larger portion of the global population. It also increases your career options.

If you are multilingual and want to become an entrepreneur, then you should consider starting a small business that capitalizes on your language abilities. Here are six small business ideas you would be foolish not to consider.

Become a Freelance Spanish Interpreter

Recent decades have seen a massive increase in the number of Spanish-speakers in the United States. If you speak English and Spanish, then you should take advantage of this demographic trend.

All sorts of situations require bilingual interpreters to help speakers of different languages effectively communicate. From schools to hospitals, tire factories to car dealerships, countless places need a skilled interpreter to build relationships, transmit instructions, or help seal a deal.

If you’re interested in becoming a freelance Spanish interpreter, one of the first steps you should take is to start learning Spanish. Even if you are already fluent in Spanish, it’s important to have a deep understanding of the language’s nuances and idiosyncrasies. There are many ways to learn Spanish, from formal classes and textbooks to immersion programs and language exchange partners.

Once you have a solid grasp of Spanish, you can begin to build your career as a freelance interpreter. One of the advantages of being a freelancer is the flexibility it provides. You can work from home or choose to travel to different locations for interpreting assignments. It’s important to establish a network of clients and maintain good relationships with them to ensure a steady stream of work.

As a freelancer, it’s also important to stay up to date with industry trends and technology. There are many online tools and resources available that can help you improve your interpreting skills, stay organized, and manage your business. By continuously learning and adapting to changes in the industry, you can establish yourself as a reliable and skilled freelance Spanish interpreter.

Being a freelancer is a great way to take advantage of your abilities without tying yourself to a single business or organization. You’ll be able to base your operation from your house, and you can learn from work from home tips to maximize your productivity.

Become a Freelance Translator 

While interpreters focus on face-to-face encounters, translators work on written documents. Between governments forms, media posts, and company-issued communications, there’s no limit to the documents out there that need to be translated. If you speak multiple languages, you’re sure to find translation work as a freelancer.

This lifestyle will give you unprecedented freedom. With modern technology making a physical office obsolete, you’ll be able to work from anywhere in the world. This means you could work from home, from a friend’s house, or even while traveling the globe.

Open a Neighborhood Market

If you live in a multilingual community, then you can put your language skills to use in a retail setting. Even after learning English, immigrants are often more comfortable carrying out transactions in their mother tongue. By speaking the languages of prominent immigrant communities, you’ll be able to make your local market into a neighborhood mainstay.

As the multilingual boss, you’ll have the opportunity to hire a diverse staff that will cater to the linguistic needs of a varied clientele. Thus multilingualism will give you a leg up on the competition.

Offer Website-Building Services

Tons of companies are realizing that they should market their goods and services in Spanish as well as English. Unfortunately for them, many managers and marketing teams don’t have the Spanish chops to pull this off themselves. This is where you come in.

If you speak Spanish and are at all decent with technology, you can provide a multilingual website-building service. While your competitors focus only on the technical sides of the job, your language abilities will set you apart from the pack. By offering to produce an appealing, functional website in two languages, you’ll attract deep-pocketed clients intent on broadening their appeal. 

Become a Multilingual Stock Broker 

Immigrants often find that their lack of English proficiency holds them back from fully participating in American life. This is certainly the case when it comes to engagement with the stock market. People who struggle with English might lack the confidence to dip their toes into the market. They might like the idea of investing, but they don’t trust themselves to properly understand earnings reports or effectively communicate with a broker.

This is where you can combine your language skills with market literacy to have a major impact. Above all else, clients want to be able to trust their broker. Speaking their language will give you the chance to build a rapport that most brokers could never dream of. Once your reputation builds and your name spreads around local immigrant communities, you’ll be well on your way toward a formidable career.

Start a Catering Business

Catering food for weddings, birthday parties, and other events is often an expensive proposition. People with limited English proficiency might hesitate to hire a caterer if they can’t effectively communicate. In any immigrant community, there are countless individuals who would love to cater an event but fear getting ripped off or wasting their money.

You could utilize your multilingual abilities to start a catering business that would take off among immigrants. This is an especially great option if you’re into cooking or have experience in the restaurant or catering industries. 

Published: March 30, 2020

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Jane Donovan

Jane Donovan is a copywriter and blogger from the Deep South. She grew up taking vacations to the Gulf of Mexico and the lakes of Georgia before growing up, leaving her hometown for college, and studying aboard in Madrid, Spain, Jane majored in English and start working in journalism and copywriting just after college since 2005. Her main interests when it comes to writing are local marketing for mom and pop stores, often highlighting how those hometown companies can use digital marketing.

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