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How to Lower Translation Costs in 2016

December 15, 2015

cut costsThe end of the year is always stressful, between the holidays and trying to beat Q4 targets. The last thing you want to worry about is additional, unanticipated translation costs.

In our “news you can use” series, here are 3 tips that can help you lower your translation costs in 2016:

1. Translate into the languages you really need – and skip the rest

A frequent mistake that companies make when they work to grow their international marketshare is not translating their website, product materials and marketing literature into the common languages of their target audience. If you want to go global, you need to speak your customers’ native language—even if they understand English. 74% of Internet users are non-native English speakers, and most strongly prefer websites in their native tongue. Translating your content makes good business sense. But some companies make the opposite mistake, translating their websites & materials into too many languages, trying to cover every single language and dialect that is native to a potential customer. This is both costly and oftentimes superfluous. A statistic we often cite is that you can reach 79% of global Internet users by having your English website translated into just 9 languages. (You can reach 67% by translating into only five languages.) This is also true for software and mobile apps. If you are targeting a global audience and don’t have a particular region in your sights, a great way to lower translation costs is to focus on the most widely used languages and skip the rest.

2. Choose a translation company that relies on translation memory & other CAT tools

Websites, technical manuals, product UI and marketing collateral are often highly repetitive and include phrases and paragraphs that you have used before. It is faster and less expensive to reuse previous translations where feasible and translate only the new or changed text, rather than paying to translate the whole document from scratch. Language service providers (LSP’s) that work with translation memory and other computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools are able to create a database that stores “segments” (sentences, paragraphs, etc.) that have been previously translated, allowing translators to automatically populate sections of text with previous translations. This can help lower costs, speed up translation times, and improve consistency and quality, since most projects will include the same target-language wording.

3. Give your LSP sufficient time to complete the translation project

Sometimes last-minute translations can’t be avoided, but whenever possible give your translation company enough time to complete your translation project at standard turnaround. Rush turnaround usually means rush fees, and the shorter the turnaround, the higher the rush surcharge. Try to plan ahead whenever possible, and include translation turnaround time in your project timeline. If you are expecting a last-minute translation, give your LSP a heads up to preempt any hurdles in the translation process.