A Few Hard Facts About Localization and Translation Rates

Why Cutting Translation Corners Is Almost Never a Good Idea

Localization Translation RatesEveryone likes a bargain, right? The thrill of going to buy something, or paying for a service, and then finding out that the price is less than you thought it would be can be a great feeling. Even so, we have sayings warning of problems with bargains, such as “you get what you pay for,” or perhaps “it’s too good to be true.” And when looking at translation services with lower translation rates, these sayings often turn out to be the case. Here are a few hard facts about how translation rates affect quality, and the long-term goals of localization and translation projects in various industries.

Low-Cost Translation Rate Uncertainties

While there are some decent freelance translators and low-cost translation services out there, it’s always a gamble when you turn over a big translation project to an unknown entity. If you simply need to translate a few paragraphs on a flier for a party, for example, an inexpensive freelancer should do the trick. But if you need software user interface or manuals, technical websites, white papers, medical contracts, official application forms, detailed legal documents or other complicated materials translated, working with a seasoned professional translator is generally the way to go.

And just because someone can speak several languages, that doesn’t mean that someone is a qualified translator. How many people do you know who struggle with spelling and basic grammar in their native tongue? A qualified translator — with years of education and experience — knows the grammar of multiple languages in detail, can deal with complex terminology and concepts in specialized industries (medical, pharmaceutical, software, technology), and tackle nuanced translations while delivering quality work on a consistent basis. The same cannot be said about a translator (or less-than-professional service) who only dabbles now and then in the translation field.

Bargain Translations and Hidden Localization Costs

Even if your company is on a strict translation budget, and decides to go with a lower per-word translation, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll save money in the long term — especially when it comes to localization and in-depth translation projects.

For a one-off translation that no one is paying much attention to, a bargain basement translation service can probably deliver a workable product. But if a brand or a business’s reputation is on the line, cutting costs early can have grave consequences later on.

When it comes to a translation localization project, the software, accompanying documents and other materials will need to be updated with each new release, or change in marketing approach, which requires search-engine and database tools, and of course topnotch materials (the original translations) to work with. You’ll need to calculate the costs of updates and changes for your overall budget. A service with lower translation rates will often charge a pretty penny for changes and updates, as their initial project management setup, translation reuse processes and organizational parameters don’t customarily match the higher quality of a more professional service, like GlobalVision.

Services with lower translation rates often skip vital steps, like a proper review cycle (or the quality of the reviewers) in order to justify lower costs, which can hurt the quality of the final translations, and have a cumulative effect (expensive corrections and updates, higher customer support costs, general confusion and disorganization, damage to reputation, higher liabilities) down the line.

In the long run, if slightly higher translation rates means an improvement in quality and service (translation price-value ratio), from setting up your translation team to the final reviews, the results will typically translate into lower total costs overall — and save the client and the translation end user a lot of unnecessary grief.


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