Seven tips for reducing translation costs in 2017

Businesswoman's hands on laptop

Are your translation requirements growing year on year while your translation budget remains static?

Do you recognise the importance of your international business communication so you don't want to make sacrifices on quality or consistency? Here you'll find seven tips on how to lower your translation costs while still maintaining language quality.

  1. Use your company terminology

Does your company have guidelines or documentation for company terminology? Make this material available. Your language service provider will set up terminology databases for you containing all important and repeated terms and will make this information available to the translators. This will ensure consistent quality, shorter translation times and lower costs for follow-up projects. The more orders you place with your language service provider and the better the terminology is maintained, the larger the termbank and the cost benefit for you. Some language service providers work with comprehensive subject or industry-specific terminology databases, which will offer you enormous added value from the moment you start working with them.

  1. Build up a translation memory

The use of translation memories will also reduce your translation costs. If your company texts need updating, changing or amending to reflect new circumstances, these texts must also always be changed in all of your company languages. The translation memory created by your language service provider will guarantee that texts are not translated twice. This will save you time and money while maintaining translation quality and consistency. Translation memories are sustainable tools for the localisation industry. Here too, as with terminology databases, some language service providers have subject-specific memories, which will save costs for you right from the start of your business relationship. Ensure that the translation quote you receive is broken down into tiered per-word pricing. You will pay less for repetitions or pre-translated segments than for new words. For large volumes of translations, machine translation will also be used to save costs in the not so distant future. Currently, it is time rather than costs which can be saved with machine translation (MT).  

  1. Ensure high-quality source texts

Source texts containing inconsistent terminology, different number formats, inconsistencies in capitalisation or incorrect line spacing make the translation process slower and more expensive. Ensuring repeated texts are recognised as such requires well-structured and consistent source texts. For product descriptions, operating instructions, documentation and websites, uniform, high-quality formulations and consistent spelling, terminology and rules ensure better understanding and the optimal basis for rendering the text into another language. This will also reduce the strain on your budget.

  1. Provide style guides

Are there certain rules applied in your company, e.g. for the capitalisation of names, products or items? Rules on the composition, structure or tonality of your company texts? If so, please provide these documents. They will enable your language service provider to work faster and more cost-effectively. If you don't have a style guide, your language service provider can create one for you over the course of your business relationship and ensure that the source text is aligned with this style guide before being passed on to the translators.

  1. Set realistic deadlines

Tight deadlines always result in higher costs. You must pay express charges, especially if you don't want a reduction in quality. When placing an order for translation, calculate an appropriate time frame to keep costs down and ensure there is time to proofread and check the quality of the text.

  1. Compile several shorter texts into one order

If your timeline allows it, compile several shorter texts into one order. This will reduce costs because placing a text for translation into 10 languages involves the same amount of work for the service provider no matter if it's 20 or 2000 words long.

  1. Cultivate a long-term business relationship

If a language service provider handles all of your language needs, they can provide you with a better comprehensive package for your translation costs than if you spread your budget across several translators and agencies. You can also set up global translation memories with them. In establishing a long-term partnership with your language service provider, you will not only benefit from more favourable prices for future orders but also from optimal service thanks to synergies and the expertise they afford.   By implementing these steps continuously and consistently, you can reduce your translation costs while also ensuring a high standard of quality for your international texts.