Let’s face it: Translation services can be expensive. It can be difficult to determine a budget that works for your business, while still getting access to high-quality translation services. However, translation is an important part of connecting with your customers.
Ensuring that people who speak different languages can read your materials is important in making sure your business is accessible, especially when you have a diverse audience. Translation is something that businesses should plan to fund from the start, not as an afterthought. This ensures that you can make a plan for your translation budget and be prepared to pay for these services.
What do document translation services cost?
You may need a bigger budget than you think for translation; your industry, the languages you need materials translated to, and the complexity of your materials can impact the cost of translation. Further, it can be even more expensive if you don’t plan ahead. Last minute, unexpected expenses can really eat up a budget.
Keep reading for step-by-step information about how you can create a translation budget. You’ll learn about common mistakes to avoid and ways to get high-quality translation services for your business while building a budget that works for you.
Identify Your Needs
The first step in creating a practical translation budget is to identify your company’s needs, so you know what translation services are worth the investment. This will help you anticipate how much you’ll realistically need to spend. Some aspects of translation services you should consider include:
- How long are the documents that you need to translate? The amount of words that will need to be translated is one of the key determinants of translation pricing. The longer your materials, the more expensive your translation will be.
- Which languages do you need translation in? Different languages can vary in pricing, depending on demand and where native speakers are from. For instance, languages including English and Spanish have high supply and demand, which make them cheaper to translate.
- How many languages do you need your materials translated to? If you need your materials translated into more than one language, your translation will likely be more expensive.
- What industry is your company in? Content from some industries is more expensive to translate than others. For example, medical, technological, and legal translation are more expensive to translate, as the language in each industry is specific and complex.
- How complex are the materials you need to translate? Materials that are more complex will cost more to translate, as they take longer to interpret.
All of these factors play a role in determining how large your budget for translation services will be. You’ll want to consider these questions when planning your translation budget.
You will also want to take into account what your company’s needs are. If your company will need translation services for multiple different departments, consult with department leaders to determine what your needs are in different sectors of your company. This can help ensure that you can accurately plan your budget and ensure all requests are planned and can be made on time.
It’s important to be honest with yourself about your company’s needs. It’s better to invest in high quality translation services and plan out your costs ahead of time than cut corners and not get the services you need.
Make a Plan
One of the most important parts of creating a translation budget is to make a plan. Consider what you learned from taking stock of your company’s needs and determine what your biggest priorities are.
It’s crucial that you know your project timelines. Last-minute translation requests are much more expensive than translation projects that have been requested ahead of time. Knowing the deadlines for projects and when the translation will need to be completed can help limit fees for late requests.
To do this, compile the translation needs across different sectors in your company and map out a schedule of when each project needs to be completed. You should also include translation deadlines, for when you would need the translated materials. Be sure to set this date at least a few days if not weeks before the project rolls out, so your team can finalize formatting or address any questions regarding the translation.
Sometimes requesting different content all together can help to reduce translation costs. Further, if there are requests that are similar or repetitive, you can ensure that you maximize your budget by only requesting the materials once.
Partner with Trusted Translation Companies
The next step in creating your budget is to partner with a company that offers professional translation services. Google Translate may be free, but it is not going to help you here.
You’ll want to do some research to find the company that works best for you. Look for a translation agency who employs professional translators with a history of accurately translating the type of content you’re looking for. High quality translation companies will have this information readily available.
It’s best to find companies that offer human translation services, as opposed to translation from a machine. Human translation is more accurate than electronic translation and is the best option if you’re looking for high-quality, accurate translation.
Keep in mind that you can lower your translation budget by working with the same company for all your translation needs. Over time, they will get to know your company and your needs and be able to offer content that perfectly suits your needs.
Build Your Budget and Request Services
Now it’s time to build your budget so that you’re prepared to request translation services for your company. At this point, you should know which requests you need to make right away and when you plan on making future requests, in order to meet your deadlines and avoid any extra costs that could result from shorter turnaround times.
Consult with your translation agency to get a quote based on the services you need. Keep in mind the languages and number of words that your company needs.
Be strategic. If your quote is too expensive, there are a few ways that you can reduce the cost of your translation projects, while still getting high-quality services.
Reduce the Number of Languages You Are Translating To
The more languages your translated documents are in, the more expensive the translation will be. Zero in on the languages that are most used by your audience and which will translate to the most sales for your business.
To do this, you will need to know who your audience is. Use your prior knowledge about your audience or consult with someone on your team who can give you an idea of which languages would be most beneficial to your company.
Remember that some languages are more costly to translate than others. If people who speak these languages are a big part of your audience, you should still invest in translation services for those languages. However, if there are expensive languages that only a small part of your audience understands, you may want to consider focusing on more prominent languages among your audience to make your budget work for you.
Remember, about half the world is bilingual, so there is a good chance that you can catch some of those rarer language speakers within translations to the most common languages like Mandarin, English and Hindi.
Make Your Documents More Concise
A good way to reduce your translation costs is to shorten the materials that you’re translating. The fewer words you have, the cheaper your translation will be because there is less content to translate.
Similarly, you can simplify your documents. Using less technical wording where possible can lower your translation costs because the material is less complex. While complex wording is unavoidable in medical and technological fields, you can try to use similar terms across materials. Especially when you’re working with the same company over time, this can make it easier to translate materials.
Making documents more consistent and using similar terminology across materials can also help your company use translation memory to lower costs.
Translation memory is the collection of translated documents that a company has access to from previous projects. If you use similar terminology across materials or can reuse older translated documents as a launching point for translation, this could help reduce your translation budget.
Since translation memories are primarily used by translation companies to improve productivity and reduce costs for customers, keeping an updated translation memory could benefit you in the long run.
If you maintain an up-to-date translation memory that includes commonly used phrases, terminology, preferred translations in the target language, etc., you can send it to your translation company. This could help them get better acquainted with your preferences, improve delivery times, and maybe even reduce the cost of updating previously translated content.
Does this Content Need to Be Translated?
It’s important that you are smart about what materials you are translating. Before planning your budget, you should ask yourself: Does this content need to be translated in the first place?
Pick content that is important for people to be able to understand. You should also consider if the people who will need the translated materials are a part of your target audience for this particular content. If the content being translated doesn’t speak to the people who will be reading the translated material, you probably don’t need to spend money and time getting this content translated.
Avoid Common Mistakes
Throughout the process of creating your translation budget, there are common mistakes that people make which can increase costs. Here’s a reminder of some of the common mistakes that you should avoid while building your budget.
- Don’t make last-minute requests. Have a plan and maintain it. Once you have your initial schedule, make sure you are adding any new requests and their deadlines onto your calendar, to ensure you remember to submit translation requests on time.
- Don’t request repeat content. If you have already had similar materials translated, don’t re-request them. You can use translation memory to reuse phrases that have already been translated to avoid paying to have them translated again.
- Only translate what you need. If the materials you’re planning to translate don’t speak to the audience who will be using them, don’t translate them. Further, don’t spend money to translate materials into languages that aren’t represented in your audience.
- Know your audience. Spend the time researching and getting to know your audience before requesting translation services. This can help you focus on which languages and materials your business actually needs to get translated.
- Don’t make your content longer or more complex than it needs to be. The higher the word count on your project, the higher your price will be. Further, more complex wording can make translation take longer and drive up your price. Make your content as short and simple as possible to get high-quality translation for the best price.
- Don’t rely on machine translation. While technology for translation memory and support can be helpful, you shouldn’t rely on machine translation. It can be tempting to utilize this option because it is cheaper than working with translation agencies, but your translation will be less accurate and lower quality.
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