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How to Lower Translation Costs in 2017

It has become a traditional part of our Holiday Newsletter to provide a “news you can use” item with tips on how to lower your translation costs in the New Year, without compromising quality. Here are 5 helpful tips for cutting costs in 2017:


1. More graphics, fewer words

The time-old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more true than in the digital era. Substituting text with diagrams, maps, animations and images will help you communicate more effectively with your target audience. And the good news is that a shift from words to graphics will also reduce word count, which means lower translation fees. Just remember to minimize the amount of text that you embed in your graphics to avoid additional formatting and DTP fees.


2. Optimal use of translation memory (TM) tools

Most LSPs use TM tools to streamline the translation process. Translation memory is a database of previous translations that can be stored for future use. When new documents are submitted, they can be checked against the translation memory and new text that is a full or 100% match can be reused. This helps lower costs and shorten the time frame of your translation project.


3. Leverage your previous translations

Why pay for content that has already been translated? Use a translation management system or implement your own methodology to make it easy to access your previous translations. Also, let your LSP know when a new document is largely identical to one that was previously translated and provide a redline version if possible. The LSP can then reuse identical sections to lower the word count. The math is compelling — if re-purposing previous translations helps you reduce the word content by a mere 10% and you are translating into 5 languages, the savings can be significant.


4. Create your source content with translation in mind

Simplicity is key. Avoid ambiguity or unnecessary use of hard-to-translate terminology. Clear, concise and grammatically correct source material will result in better quality translations in less time and at lower cost.


5. Provide source documents in Word or other editable formats

Most LSPs charge fees for extracting text from a PDF or other complex formats. Send your documents in Word, Excel, or other formats that are easy to edit whenever possible. Similarly, providing images as bitmaps (vs. the original vector files) makes it harder to localize text (which in any case should be kept to a minimum, as per Tip #1) and can reduce the quality of the images embedded in the target translation documents.