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Written by Traduality

Traduality helps organizations protect and get closer to its customers, employees, and partners in their native language.

September 30, 2023

How to Create a Practical Budget for Translation Services


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 integral part of connecting with your customers.

Ensuring that people who speak different languages can read your materials is essential 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 you can 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 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 like English and Spanish have high supply and demand, which makes them cheaper to translate.
  • How many languages do you need your materials translated to? If you need your materials translated into multiple languages, 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, as the language in each industry is specific and complex.
  • How complex are the materials you need to translate? More complex materials will cost more to translate as they take longer to interpret.

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 departments, consult with department leaders to determine your needs 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

Making a plan is one of the most important parts of creating a translation budget. Consider what you learned from taking stock of your company’s needs and determine your biggest priorities.

It’s crucial that you know your project timelines. Last-minute translation requests are much more expensive than translation projects requested beforehand. Knowing the deadlines for projects and when the translation must 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 together can help to reduce translation costs. Further, if you have similar requests, 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 research to find the company that works best for you. Look for a translation agency that 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 instead of 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.

Remember 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 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 to 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 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 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. This can make translating materials easier, especially when working with the same company over time.

Making documents more consistent and using similar terminology across materials can also help your company use translation memory to lower costs.

Translation Memory

Translation memory is the collection of translated documents that a company can access from previous projects. Using similar terminology across materials or reusing older translated documents as a launching point for translation could help reduce your translation budget.

Since translation companies primarily use translation memories to improve productivity and reduce customer costs, 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 vital 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 needing the translated materials are a part of your target audience for this particular content. If the translated content 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 can increase costs. Here’s a reminder of some common mistakes 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 add any new requests and their deadlines onto your calendar to ensure you 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 plan to translate don’t speak to the audience who will be using them, don’t translate them. Further, don’t spend money translating 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 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 increase your price. Make your content as short and straightforward as possible to get a 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 of lower quality.

Book a Consultation Call Today

Language is the foundation of our world and daily lives. At Traduality, we believe that language can help us connect and help companies get closer to their customers. 

We have years of experience helping various companies with translation projects and helping to make businesses accessible to their audience. We set ourselves apart from other top translation companies with peerless customer service and the ability to handle every detail of your translation project. Traduality offers a comprehensive range of language services, from translating and localizing to interpreting services and SEO.

We have the language solutions for you to improve your business. Learn more about our approach and book a call with one of our project managers to get started today.

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