How to Save Money When You Order a Translation

When it comes to purchasing products or contracting professional services, we are all interested in saving money. We want to get the most out of our investment. If there was a way to get top quality for free, we would, wouldn’t we? But unfortunately, “free” comes with a price. Even though there are free online translation services a click way, the truth is that the quality of those translations is markedly inferior than those produced by skilled human translators. However, paying for translations by the hour or by the word can also add up, so how do you keep your project within budget? Based on our experience, we can offer several tips on how to save money when you order a translation and also get the quality you desire.

Tip Number One:
Optimize your Final Content for Translation: A first step is to remove from the text for translation any portions that are irrelevant to your target audience due to cultural reasons or if they are unnecessary for practical purposes. This will improve readability and save money since there will be fewer words to translate.

For example, let´s say that a transnational company located in the United States is planning to deploy a training course on safety to new hires located in its Chilean branch, and it decides that a translation into Spanish is required. The complete training set includes the Instructor Manual, the Participant Guide, and surveys. Additionally, a chapter (20 pages in length) in the Participant Guide makes detailed references to how to use an online Back Office whose content is in English only. In order to save translation costs, this company could have just the Participant Guide translated and remove from the text the chapter on the Back Office as it would not make sense to translate instructions when the actual content will not be in Spanish in this case.

The second step is to review the content and delete unnecessary repetitions or duplications, thus shortening the text for translation. In addition to saving money, this could avoid potential layout issues on paper or online later. Keep in mind that some Romance language texts often expand about 20% when translated from English. Asian languages require larger fonts which take up space as well.

Another good practice is to double check that you have the final and correct files for translation. This might sound obvious but quite often the wrong set of files is sent to the translation vendor. Edits when a translation is in progress or has been completed will not only cause delays but will result in higher cost because another full round of editing and Quality Assurance will probably be necessary. In other words, this is in the best-case scenario when an outdated version was sent for translation. In the worse-case scenario, your vendor will have to start translation of a totally different new file which was not initially in the budget.

Finally, avoid micro translation requests (learn more about it here), and unnecessary edits to the original files between updates. Small and insignificant changes to the original text can prevent translation memories from reusing old translations in an automatic manner. For example, if your project involves localization into five languages, one minor, unnecessary change will have impact on the five translated files leading to a significant cost increase.

Tip Number Two, Provide detailed instructions, will be addressed in the next post.

Language Concepts Consulting is a boutique provider of multilingual translation services. Languages we translate from and into include: English, French, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese and many more. We partner with organizations looking to penetrate and/or serve the multicultural markets in the USA, and Latin America. We provide native-quality and culturally-sensitive translations that get our client’s message across and resonates with their target audience.

For more information, please give us a call at 480.626.2926 or visit us at

Kathy Paredes

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