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Should I translate in-house or outsource it?

Should your company translate in-house or outsource it? Many companies rely on their in-house staff, or independent distributors, to handle translations. Usually, the thinking goes something like this: “Outsourcing is expensive, so we’ll let our distributor in country X translate our product copy; they are fluent, and it will save us time and money.”

Unfortunately, too often the opposite result occurs; and companies end up spending more time and more money, for an inferior translation. They would have been better served by outsourcing to a full-service, professional translation provider. Why? The following are a few reasons:


While it is true that a distributor in Germany, for example, will have people who are fluent German speakers, this doesn’t mean that they can perform a quality translation from English.

What level of command do they have of the English language? What kind of linguistic background do they have? How will they handle tough idiomatic challenges or English words/phrases that simply do not make sense in German? Finally, who will review their work?


Handing translation work off to distributors can create a potential nightmare in terms of coordination and efficiency. For example, you have a product datasheet that needs translating into seven languages — how much time will pass before all seven distributors get around to doing the work?

Surprisingly enough, although the distributor is often the most interested party in getting sales materials translated, coordinating this process can take several weeks, or even months!


Naturally, if you spend a lot of time trying to chase down distributors for a translation project, you are not able to perform other responsibilities. You are, therefore, not concentrating on your core business. There is a huge opportunity cost associated with this approach.


The in-house, rather than outsource, approach has several potential risks:

  • Getting a poor translation that fails to accurately capture a marketing message or technical details
  • Ending up with different messages in different markets, therefore losing brand consistency and image
  • Most seriously, mis-translating product warnings and other legal content which is simply too important to hand over to non-professional translators.

If you entrust your translations to QuickSilver Translate, we guarantee that you will receive the highest quality of translation, and at an extremely competitive rate. Our use of integrated processes will also remove the hassle, which is all-to-often associated with translation!

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