tips to reduce translation costs

1. Beware of translation companies offering ridiculously cheap rates!

When it comes to choosing a Chinese translation agency, many look first of all at the proposed price. They choose the most economical and is then surprised when the quality of work is a far cry from their expectations. But the truth is that it is worth taking time to compare the different language services companies. Translation is a type of service that does not require large investments and today tens of thousands of translation agencies are opened and closed each year. For a long-term partnership it is best to choose one that can provide quality services at the right price because poor quality always costs more.

2. Always tell them if you have more than one document to be translated.

We often receive contracts and user manuals to be translated, but these are only the first of a long series of documents, which we are not informed of. We just knew that we had to translate a document. We understand that companies want to first test us before sending large orders. But if we are informed first about the follow-up orders we can certainly offer a better rate. If you send us all the documents we can analyze them and find any repetitions that may lead to lower costs significantly.

3. Stop using different translation agencies across different departments

There are translation companies like ours who are specialized in business translations. We have an excellent team of translators that can cover all aspects and areas of the business. But often we realize that often different departments use different agencies, which significantly increases the cost of translation. A coordinated translation strategy and centrally organized contact can reduce your more than 50% of translation costs. It requires an effort on your part but in the long term you’ll be rewarded.

4. Do you know that your translation memory belongs to you and can save you money?

The technology today is present at all levels in a translation company. We use computers to help us translate and localize. This is not automatic translation. It is human translation at its best, but computers help us to memorize every single word translated saving it in a database. In this way, a translation memory is created that can be used again for similar texts. Thanks to the translation memory, we can offer valuable continuous price reduction. What may surprise you is that you can request your translation memory if your language service provider uses computer-assisted translation technologies. This way you can keep it for future use if you decide to use such a new firm. Translation memories are interchangeable and can be easily incorporated by the experts of language technology. So the next time you contact a translation provider, you can request your translation memory and you will see how much money you can save.

5. We can perform DTP work to give you excellent prices

If you need to translate your brochures, your catalogs or other documents in PDF, it is likely that such PDF files were originally created by a desktop publishing software, such as Adobe InDesign and Quark. These files legally belong to your company and you can get them by contacting your graphics. Usually they do not understand why you need these files but you do not need to explain to ask what is yours. If you send us these files, we can create a perfect copy of your material in any language. But if you only send PDF, you will pay twice: first for the translation, then the graphic layout. We can provide you both services for a considerably lower charge. The reason is that we can format the text as we proceed with the translation. We also take responsibility for the translated text and typesetting. All you have to do is send the documents ready for printing in InDesign, and we’ll do the rest.

spending too much on translation

6. Hire the right people

Although many major players have all dabbled in translation crowdsourcing, there’s considerably more hype than is warranted on the cost savings. As we wrote about in Smart Translation Crowdsourcing, a well-thought out project with enthusiastic translation volunteers may still demand expert (paid) leaders, reviewers, and project coordinators.

That is not to say that translation crowdsourcing is wrong for you. Rather, it is to say that there are cost savings to be had in whatever project you undertake by evaluating what translation staffing model is right for the job.

Are you creating an advertising campaign for this year’s World Cup games in Brazil? Recruit a native Brazilian translator in translation marketing (transcreation) for the job. Are you looking to translate the user comments for the Japanese players on your gaming site? Consider rallying your crowd of users. Reporting on the latest news from Iran? Well, we don’t have to tell you again how bad translations can mess up diplomacy. Don’t skimp on quality unless you really know the costs!

7. Invest in the right tools

If you aren’t already using tools for translation terminology management, you are missing out on the most obvious win of developments in translation technology. Translation memory tools, for example, mean that the help documentation that you have already translated can be updated without demanding that the entire content is translated again. You can focus your budget, then, on updated screenshots, for example, or on the final quality assurance checks. Terminology databases, content management systems, and even machine translation can all contribute to long-term cost savings for the savvy translation project manager.

8. Streamline your processes

Speaking of content management systems, if you haven’t taken the time to evaluate where process optimization and innovation could save on labor costs, consider undertaking one before the next round of budget talks! Where human and tech resources overlap can be points of either reduced stress or where there are the bottlenecks creating it.

  • When is centralization of tasks right for the job? When is decentralization?
  • How can content flow — out of sources on to translation resources and back again — be improved?
  • Where can technology be best applied to reduce manual, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks?
  • What assets need to be in place for any successful project and how do you ensure that, indeed, they are?

These are just some of the kinds of questions that you will want to raise. When in doubt, enlist the aid of your localization service provider on best practices, of course!

9. Prioritize for power

As much as we would like to believe otherwise, not every language market will be as important to your company as every other. Your translation priorities should show that.

For example, when undertaking your website translation project, let the search and site data drive your decision on what does and does not need to be translated for each language market. When deciding on multimedia projects you may determine that subtitling makes more sense than hiring voice talent. (Read more about that in our latest post on video localization.)

This kind of drilling down will not only show your bosses that you are clear on the details of your company’s translation investment, it will prove that you are an expert steward of every dollar spent.

10. Planning

You might wonder, how am I supposed to plan a translation project when I know nothing about translation? Well, the truth is, you don’t need to be an expert in Chinese translation to save your cost for a translation project.

With detailed planning, you’d be able to:

●    avoid indirect and hidden costs caused by poor quality translations;

●    save rush fees for urgent translation tasks;

●    determine by yourself the price of your translation project.

Good quality takes time, so next time before you demand a translation company to deliver the translations as soon as possible, ask yourself, ‘does quality matter in this case’, if yes, then please give the translators as much time as you can so that the whole quality assurance process would be feasible. As a professional translation services company, we fully understand that some texts do have a tight deadline for translation, in these cases, the time-sensitivity becomes a priority, and you, as the client, need to understand that the translation we deliver might not look as good as those with regular turnaround.

Many translation agencies charge rush fees from their clients for urgent translation tasks, which could go as high as 100% of their regular charge. This is in many cases understandable, given that they have to contact their translators, proofreaders and QAers in a short time frame and get the whole process set up and monitored. The whole translation team might work overtime in order to meet your tight deadline.

By getting your materials for translation ready early on and contacting YBD Translations in advance, you can avoid us charging your rush fees,

Another way to help us meet your deadline is have us translating concurrently while you’re preparing the source texts, so that precious time would be saved as our translation team wouldn’t have to wait for your finalized documents. The only problem with this approach is that if you have too many revisions afterwards, you might waste even more time than we translate it after you have the whole thing finalized.

In addition, you might get a discount from us if you have a large volume project that is not so time-sensitive, because we would be more flexible with such projects.