How should I think of Translation COST and VALUE?
Translations are generally priced based on the number of words in the original text. So there are two ways of looking at translation cost vs. translation value. If you see translation as a commodity, comparing suppliers is as easy as comparing their prices. Why are you going to pay $0.24 per word when the next guy offers the same service for $0.23 per word? Aren’t they exactly the same?
One answer to this question is “Why pay anything at all? Google offers translation for free!” If all you are worried about is price, there are plenty of automatic translators on the internet. They won’t produce a top-quality translation, but they’ll get the job done and it won’t cost you a penny.
Find out more: Machine Translation: Tips And Tricks
Commodity vs. Service
There are two types of translation buyers and therefore two types of suppliers. Some think of translation as simply a commodity, whereas others have additional requirements. Those who regard translation as a commodity will always look for rockbottom prices. They will not care much about who does the translation, what tools are used or how they will deal with the rest of the documentation process, as long as the service is cheap. This approach is perfectly valid when neither quality nor style is of any importance.
Those who have other needs must be somewhat more discriminating when looking for a supplier. Not every translation agency can deliver large volumes in a short period of time, set up large translation teams, deliver in HTML or deal with 15 languages in parallel, and still guarantee an agreed level of quality.
Find out more: How to calculate Translation ROI
Language vs. Meaning
A good translation conveys the meaning of the original accurately and fluently in the target language. Keep in mind that often there is no “exact match” for concepts from one language to another. Despite what many people think, a literal, word-for-word translation does not guarantee accuracy.
Rather than forcing the original concepts (square pegs) into the target language (round holes), quality translations adapt the core message to the target audience. A free translation is not necessarily less accurate than a literal one.
The ultimate judges of quality are your readers, who should be able to read the translated text as effortlessly as those who read the original. Attaining that result is the ultimate benchmark of a successful translation.
What can I do internally to enhance the translation process?
Beyond being aware of your specific needs and communicating them to your translation provider, you can do several things to noticeably advance the translation process.
- Provide context, images and/or explanations of your preferred terminology and proprietary products or services.
- Share your internal style guides, glossaries and/or resources.
- Explain project details such as the purpose of the document and the target audience. For example, a marketing campaign directed to Spaniards in Madrid would be different from one aimed at Cuban-Americans in Miami.
- Design an Internal Review Process that works. Wherever possible, designate native language experts within your organisation who can review translations and provide feedback to your translation partner. Every minute spent on cultivating and enforcing this relationship will be well spent.
Quicksilver’s Cost and Value
At QuickSilver Translate we offer four pricing levels, and we make recommendations to customers based on their business goals and objectives.