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5 Ways to Reduce Translation Costs

If you conduct business in the international market, communication with your foreign clients in their native language is part of your everyday activities. Professional translations are, in this case, inevitable to achieve streamlined and efficient processes. But professional translations mean additional costs, too. And that on a regular basis. So what can you do to reduce and optimize your translation costs so that they do not endanger cost-efficient business processes? Here are some tips on saving on translation costs and how not to.

  1. Send the Full Materials in Advance

Sending the complete documentation to be translated in advance for a quotation can positively affect the translation price. First of all, your preferred translator or translation company might be able to give you bulk discounts if the text amount exceeds a certain limit. Already beginning at around 10,000 words, most translation companies calculate with a discounted rate. They can only provide this bulk discount if you send the complete package in one go. The reason: your translation partner can streamline processes for you and offer a more customer-friendly price if their workload is reduced.

  1. Send the Final Version for Translation

This point is self-explanatory. You undoubtedly know it from your own business. If a client orders something from you and then changes his or her mind, it always means more work for you. Even if your efforts are compensated, this is an unnecessary workload that causes extra costs and time for you and your client. Needless to say that this is not different with professional translations. Apart from the fact that constant changes drive up the price and the time needed for the project to be completed, they bear the risk of quality issues. No matter how fail-safe quality management your translation partner uses, there will be a point when those functions produce an error, and constant, short-term changes lead to quality events. To avoid this, always try to send the final version of the texts for the translations.

Of course, there are business situations when this is not possible. In everyday business life, situations change frequently, and often, unforeseen events happen. Your business needs to adapt fast to cope with the challenges successfully. We understand. And we, alongside other language service providers, have tried and tested processes to provide you with optimal solutions even for spontaneous events or short-term changes. But all of these solutions will cause higher costs in the end. Whenever possible, always try to send final text versions for translation to get the best possible price for the project.

  1. Send Editable Formats

This point belongs to a group of measures, where you try to facilitate the work of your translation partner. In exchange, they will provide you with a better price. So, what is this point about?

Whenever you have a document in editable format, i.e., has a file type that can be edited directly, send those to the translator right at the beginning when you are asking for the price. Why? Editable file formats are easier to integrate into translation tools. Your translator will evaluate the exact text amount and time needed for the translation. With a translator at your side who uses modern technology, i.e., so-called CAT tools, and uses best business practices, you will always get a discounted price in which repetitions are considered. This discount type is called match discount and is, besides bulk discounts, the other type of price reduction your vendor can provide you with.

The term “match discount” covers the translator’s technical possibilities to check how many repetitions are there in your text. As your vendor works with translation technology, he or she will be able to automatize the translation of these repetitions. The reduced workload will be forwarded to you in the form of discounted prices.

A positive side effect of this approach will be enhanced quality. Why? The repetitive texts will be translated, thanks to automized processes, consistently keeping your wording uniform.

For the translator to offer you match discounts, he or she needs to have the editable text formats right from the beginning.

Of course, there are situations when editable formats are not available. For instance, when you work with hard copies, often the case with law offices, working with court documents. The next point is for them.

  1. Send Good Quality and Well-Legible Materials

As mentioned above, it is not always possible to send your translator editable documents. Law firms working with court documents are a typical example. Legal documents have a relatively simple graphic structure. Translation companies have several possibilities to convert these documents into handy formats to analyze the text amount and work with the texts conveniently, leading to more customer-friendly prices. One essential prerequisite for this “convertibility” is that you send the documents to your translator in good graphic quality. This can be achieved by, e.g., scanning instead of sending faxes and setting the scan quality to a higher dpi/PPI value. 300 dpi and above should do the work. With this text quality, OCR and other exporting techniques can do magic, and all parties can benefit from the reduced workload and reduced costs.

  1. Rule Of Thumb: Provide All Necessary Information

The more information you provide, the easier it will be for your translator to give you a better price. When the wheel is already rolling, it is much harder to make adjustments. So when you give your translator the go-ahead for a project, streamlined processes will be started. To halt these processes will cause disruptions that might lead to extra costs and even quality issues. Every piece of relevant information will help your translator work out a better price for you and prepare for quality-focused work.

After discussing some key points on how to build up successful cooperation with your translation partner to get an optimal price-value ratio, let us examine a few cases that many people think are excellent ways to reduce translation prices. In reality, these methods are often irrelevant for a professional translation project. In some cases, you even generate higher fees.

The most common misconception about translation services is that AI technology is in 2021 at a level where it could handle complex, specialized content. This is not the case. This statement automatically leads to the fact that translation engines will not produce results that you could use professionally. They cannot understand jokes, so they will not create professional marketing texts that are fun to read for a native speaker. They do not know a thing about law and legal circumstances, leading to the fact that you better not go into battle in international litigation with texts translated by a machine. The list goes on. Machine translations, such as the often-mentioned Google platform, are powerful tools if you need a rough picture about a foreign language content or using translation in non-professional circumstances. So if you think creating a machine translation will suffice for professional reasons, you should reconsider. In fact, such translations can cause immense harm to your business in the international market. Your damage will be a multiple of the potential translation costs. Using machine translations in a business context is an absolute faux pas.

Similarly, it makes no sense to create a machine translation that will be “polished up” by a translation company. In this case, the translator will have to work with three different texts instead of two, which is a more complex and accident-prone task. As the machine translations, as mentioned above, are often unacceptable in terms of linguistic quality, the effort the translator has to put in the work will be identical or even more than creating a simple translation from a source document.

A slightly better solution is if a human being, such as a colleague or “someone you know,” creates the first translation you send in for proofreading. This approach has the following pitfalls, though. If the person translating is not a professional, he or she might create a foreign language text that cannot be used for professional purposes. So the result is the same as with automatically generated texts; namely, the complete text will need to be rewritten. The second option is that the person can create a professional translation, but he or she would simply have other things to do. So this employee neglects the work you actually pay him or her for. In the end, your savings with the project will not cover the loss of the productive working time of your colleague. You will generate additional costs with all of these pointless efforts at the end of the day.

To sum up, there are genuine ways to reduce translation costs. Your professional translation provider will help you explore these options and give you further, project-specific advice. Turn to Teck Language Solutions if you are looking for professional translations at fair rates.

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