Are Your Translation Costs in Line with the Service You’re Getting from Your Translation Agency?
Observers often think that the hardest part of founding a startup is coming up with a groundbreaking idea. While that is certainly no easy task, once you’ve got your idea, building a company around it and finding a way to share it with the world can feel like you’re climbing up a mountain with no end in sight.
To survive and thrive as a startup, budgeting is key—you need to know what you’re spending and make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Once your startup is succeeding on your home turf, it’s only natural that you start to think about what’s next, world domination perhaps?
Getting your startup into global markets means you need to speak the language of the audience you’re targeting and you therefore need to translate your content. Below we’ve put together a quick guide to translation costs so you can check that you are getting value for your money.
What Level of Translation Are You Buying?
One of the obvious ways that people shop around for a good deal is by obtaining quotes from multiple translation companies, comparing them, and then choosing the cheapest, right?
Quotes from companies offering translation services can vary hugely, and this is due to the level of service you get. Two companies might charge similar prices, but with one you may be getting more for your money. It’s not always about the dollar value being as low as possible, it’s about the level of translation you get for your dollar.
What Affects Translation Costs?
- The number of translators available: Some languages are commonly spoken and often easy to find translators for, such as Spanish and English. Languages that are further apart, like English and Japanese, will be more difficult to find translators for and therefore cost will increase.
- Volume of work: If you pick an agency that can’t scale as your level of work increases, cost will go up as you bear the brunt of the fees that they take on from hiring freelancers.
- How close the languages are together: Some languages share a common history, such as Spanish and Italian, that are both Romance languages and therefore they have similar elements of grammar and spelling rules. Other languages are very far apart, e.g., English and Finnish, and therefore use different grammar and syntax, making translation more difficult and time-consuming, which leads to higher translation costs.
- Formatting requirements: As content is translated, it can change elements, such as tables, volume, and aspects of design. If your translations require specific formatting, then this will take additional time and increase costs.
What Should Your Translation Company Be Providing?
For assurance that the service you are getting is in line with your translation costs, there should be an established process in place for your translations.
Usually this will look something like this:
- Project Analysis
- Glossary & Style Guide Creation
- Translation, Editing & Proofreading
- Client Review
- Formatting & Layout
- Quality Control & Delivery
Something that not all translation companies ask for is a style guide, and this can often be represented in their translations cost. This is a huge oversight as 90 percent of marketers agree that brand consistency is vital to content and helps drive revenue.
Why do you need a thorough review process and professional translators? The answer is simple—because the money it could cost you not to have them far outweighs the price they cost.
Take HSBC as an example. Their “Assume Nothing” campaign was translated and miscommunicated in many countries to be interpreted as “Do Nothing.” This was a disaster for the brand and they spent $10 million on rebranding to clean up the mess caused by the improper translation of just two words.
Translation costs will vary from project to project and from agency to agency. As a general rule of thumb, you get what you pay for—cheap translations will lead to cheap results that may even cost you more in the long run due to the mess that they can cause and the damage they may inflict on your reputation.
With that being said, you can get an expensive agency that does not deliver you your money’s worth. Understanding the translation process and how it integrates into your business and brand is vital knowledge that can help you get a much better eye for what is a good-value translation. Work through processes with your translation agency and make sure you know what deliverables are expected to ensure your translation costs are reasonable for what you’re getting.