Find Out If Your Translation Prices Are Yielding Proper ROI
When a company looks to cut costs, the translation department is one of the first to take a hit. While companies may be doing this out of pure economic sensibility, going for the cheapest translation prices can have serious, more egregious costs down the line.
Why Cut Down on Human Translators Anyway?
Pretty much, machine translation sets unrealistic expectations for uneducated customers when it comes to translation prices.
This isn’t to say that people are dumb if they want to cut down on human translators to save money. But the desire to cut down on translation costs typically comes from overconfidence in translation technology without understanding its limitations.
People think that with the rise of machine translation services, the process can be automated and thus save money.
The idea is based on truth. Machine translations save time and money and can be infused with AI to get smarter and more linguistically savvy the more the program is used.
According to Forbes, the CEO of One Hour Translation, Ofer Shoshan, says that 10 percent of machine translated documents must be adjusted by humans. That’s a 70 percent increase in just two years.
Such advanced translation technology is expected to handle 50 percent of the work in the translation field in the next few years as companies outsource their work.
While cost-efficient in the long run, automation cannot come without sacrificing the quality of the translation. That 10 percent needed to translate can make a huge difference.
Cutting Costs May Make Your Business Less Efficient
A smart translation program can easily regurgitate a text into another language, but machine translations rarely capture the context, nuance, and inference that human translated materials have, according to the American Translator Association.
What you have is a (possibly) technically correct translation that looks wrong to native readers, because humans aren’t machines.
It appears as if cost-efficient businesspeople do not consider this when making decisions about translation prices. However, a translation mistake, especially in marketing, can make either cataclysmic harms or smaller, ever building problems in your business.
How Big and Small Translation Mistakes Hurt Your Business
We’ve all seen a cataclysmic translation mistake. This would include KFC’s English slogan “Finger-lickin’ good” being translated into “Eat your fingers off” in Chinese.
There’s also HSBC Bank’s forced rebranding in 2009 after its catch-phrase “Assume Nothing” was translated into “Do Nothing” in multiple countries. The translation blunder cost the company $10 million as it changed its tagline to “The world’s private bank,” according to Business News Daily.
The cataclysmic translation mistake is obvious, and will of course leave you wishing you had properly checked the translation before it went viral. It’s like a water-tank exploding in your basement, destroying the foundation of your brand.
However, poor in-house translation is like a leaky faucet that’s easy to ignore, but it’s still costing your company.
Charles Duncombe, an online entrepreneur, found that spelling mistakes cost his company millions, according to BBC. In fact, a single spelling mistake can cut profits in half.
Duncombe says that spelling errors hurt a customer’s view of the company’s reputation. If you sell or communicate on the internet, it will most likely be done through writing, which means that the integrity of your writing is of the utmost importance.
This is important with your in-house writing team in your native language but is even more important when your documents are translated into different languages. If no one in your company speaks that language, it’s unlikely you’ll ever find spelling or semantic mistakes.
So while machine technology seems appealing, and while it’s tempting to go for the cheapest translation prices, never skimp on translation services. Good translation services mean good global business.
As a cost-efficient business, you’re likely adjusting the monetary amount you’ll allot to translation services. However, approaching translation cost from a fixed perspective may give rise to minor hurdles.
Why Most Agencies Won’t Give Translation Prices Outright
A high-quality translation agency will rarely post flat fees, prices, and rates on their company outright.
Why is this?
The company isn’t trying to be deceptive or secretive. It’s simply saying that it puts your company’s goals first.
As with semantic connotations, translation services are based in context and deeper nuance of the piece, according to NWI Global. A translation agency will see if their services match with the goal of the project.
The complexity of subject matter, number of words, turnaround time, and language demand (e.g., Spanish is more in demand than Marshallese) are only a few of the factors that affect the price of the translation.
If you want a neuroscience whitepaper translated from English into Spanish, it’s important that the translator understands the scientific terms in the text.
Because of these factors, agencies will structure their translation prices based on the word count or page count of your translation. Sometimes there are per hour and flat-fee pricing when the first two don’t make sense.
Different rates will vary across companies, so find the company that gives you the most efficient translation while keeping your company’s goal in mind. In this way, you’ll understand the best value from a translation agency.