Tuesday, 28 October 2014

How to save money on translation costs – 7 useful tips

Understandably, translation costs can be a concern for a lot of companies. You want to get the best possible results, but sometimes it can be hard with a limited budget. In order to help you make the most of your translation spend, here are some tips that will help you save on translation costs, without compromising the quality of the work.

1. Plan your project with translation in mind: Good planning can save a lot of money. Review your material and edit out any parts that are unnecessary or irrelevant; by cutting down the number of words you will reduce the translation costs. At the same time, take into account that some languages, like Spanish or French, are 20-30% longer than English, whereas others, like Chinese or Japanese, are considerably shorter, so plan accordingly when designing a layout and avoid costly rework later. Also, be wary of graphics, as any text in them will need to be translated; save editing time and money by only using easily-editable text in the graphics.

2. Involve your translation company early on: by getting in touch with your translation company early on in the process, they can advise you regarding the best course of action and warn you of any potential issues, whether linguistic or cultural, thus avoiding costly surprises later. Developing a relationship with your translation company will always ensure the best results.

3. Avoid unnecessary rework: make sure that the files are finalised before sending them for translation. Any changes to the source material during the translation process or after it can be expensive. If the original had been translated by the time you decide to make changes, you will have to pay for the work already carried out, plus the additional work to include the changes. It can also be messy and confusing if many changes are made throughout the process.

4. Mind the file formats: providing a format that’s easy to work with will save a lot of money. For instance, it can take hours to transcribe a handwritten or scanned text to a word processor or recreate the layout of a PDF file. By sending documents that can be worked on directly, you will save having to pay for this extra time, and the turnaround of your project will be quicker.

5. Avoid minimum charges: minimum charges are necessary due to the work that is involved in even the smallest of projects: downloading and reviewing the files, confirming availability, putting the resources in place, managing the project, checking the translations, delivering, invoicing, bank fees, etc. However, you can save by grouping small jobs together and sending them at the same time, therefore avoiding having to go through the whole process for each tiny individual project.

6. Avoid rush fees by setting reasonable deadlines: the average speed of a translator is 2000 words per day, whereas a proofread can check 8000 words a day. Anything higher than that will imply them having to work overtime or even through the night which, as you can surely understand, attracts higher fees. Avoid paying extra by, once again, planning your project accordingly and if possible adding a couple of extra days to the deadline for tasks such as file transfers, project management, etc.

7. Don’t go for the cheapest provider: as with everything else, in translation you get what you pay for. There are plenty of bad companies out there who will charge dirt cheap prices and deliver a shabby job. Of course, if don’t speak the language, you won’t notice how bad the quality is... but what you will notice is the lack of sales coming through. Instead, think of translation as an investment. Spend more money hiring a reliable company who care about your products and services and who will be able to truly speak to your customers in their own language, not only producing text that is free from mistakes, but also customising and adapting your content to the target culture’s preferences and expectations. The amount of long-term business you will get as a result will far outweigh any short-term costs. Also, by getting it right the first time, you won’t have to hire anyone else to fix the costly mistakes made by the cheap provider!

If you would like any more tips, or need any advice about translation and localisation and how to achieve the best results for your project, contact us at info@medialoc.net. We’ll be happy to help!