translation costs

Is translation expensive? Here’s how to cut down translation costs

(Last Updated On: June 14, 2017)

The reason that companies sometimes decide not to do hire a business translation service is because they believe that this service is too expensive. Yes, unprofessional translation can really “cost a lot”, if due to inaccurate and inadequate translation your business loses deals, and thus financial gain. However, there are ways to cut down translation costs without compromising on quality.

But whether the translation is expensive or not, is just a personal subjective conviction. If it is expensive, there are ways to save money on translation. Below are some ideas that will help you if you believe that translation is very expensive.

How to cut down translation costs

Reduce word count

One way to cut down translation costs is to lower the word count. In this case the fewer words you have in the text, the less you pay. For this purpose, in the original text use condensed sentences and paragraphs, discard any text that is unnecessary and remove any duplication of content.

Use plain English

It takes time, and therefore money to research specific words that you have used in the source text as jargon and technical vocabulary. Technical texts require more time to research for the appropriate translation, and therefore commands a more expensive charge. What you can do in this regard is to review and simplify the content and remove specific phrases and words.

Create a terminology list

Of technical and professional terms in your document, because of the time that is spent in researching their appropriate translation, is what increases the cost of your translation. To cut down translation costs, you can prepare a so-called dictionary of technical terms and whenever you need a translation of a professional text, provide the translator with this database that contains all of your technical jargon. This way by facilitating the work of the translator you simultaneously standardize your translation and save money.

Ask for CAT Tools

The advantages of computer assisted translation tools (CAT) tools are that they allow translation agencies to memorize translations that may be useful in the future. The next time they encounter a translation of similar content, this tool recognizes the same word, sentence or paragraph and will perform the translation based on this memory. This way, when translations are repeated, your translator will provide you with a discount.

Context is essential

One of the major problems that can occur when translating text and could create a big dilemma on your translator’s use of words is ambiguous context. These undefined, ambiguous words are commonly translated by the neighboring meaning of words, but what if the translator did not understand fully the meaning and significance? For example, for the phrase “green light”, there are so many varieties of translation, which justify the dilemma of the translator for in what context to translate this. One of the meanings can be translated in terms of light from a light or lamp, could it be light green, it can mean “yes” or perhaps “Start”? Or another example is the word “press”. Whether in a given context does it indicate newspaper or simply press a button?

Without understanding the context, the meaning of these words can be interpreted in different ways in two different translations. This way you get a mistranslation, and in some cases even a financial loss due to incorrect translation. The less complicated the words that can be understood in different contexts, the faster and cheaper your translation will be.

Accessible formats

The better the format of the original text you provide to your translator, the faster and better your translation will be. Always avoid sources in formats “read only” like scanned images or documents, manuscripts etc. The time required for inspection of documents or text can take longer for specific source formats. So always avoid such formats that require further decoding of content, which is time consuming and a tedious process for the translator, who, by the way will charge extra for this work. It is up to you how expensive the transfer can be. To keep costs to a minimum, provide the interpreter with the best format of your text and available files.

These guidelines could cut down translation costs of your documents while still maintaining high quality output. Mutual assistance and cooperation from and the translation agency is also crucial but by using a well known translation agency you can get high quality translations at affordable rates.

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