OK, so you have now realised that you have to budget for translating your business messages into at least 2 or 3 other languages which correspond to your initial business expansion phase, but are not yet willing to spend too much on translation.  How can you get the job done yet reduce translation cost? Here are some hints.

#1 The cheapest translation agency is not always economical in the long run

Of course, it is sensible practice to shop around for a translator or translation agency that seems to be economical, but be wary of the very cheapest.  They may not be native speakers of the languages you are interested in or they use machine translation or computer aided translation without discrimination. Don’t forget the whole point of you spending money on translating your business message is to gain a market, not just to reduce translation cost. If the people who are reading your message don’t understand it or find it confusing or even comical, it was probably money wasted.

#2 Plan you translation tasks in advance

The earlier you plan your translation needs the more likely you will avoid repetition, and unnecessary content. Which languages do you want to translate your text into? Are there any specific target groups that you want to reach with your translated content? If you are just starting out, just try 1 or 2 languages at first and see what effect the translated content has before spending more money on other languages.

#3 Make it easy for the translator to tackle your messages

The longer it takes for a translator to translate what you want achieved, the greater the bill will be. If the translator has to keep asking you to clarify what you want translated that will increase the translation time and make your bill bigger too. Remove anything which you don’t really need translating. Make sure that it doesn’t stress cultural references that have no meaning elsewhere, even things like times, units of measurement, currency, etc. The more you know about your intended target readers, the more likely you will be able to avoid cultural mistakes and confusion for the translator who may be more aware than you. The payoff will be reduced translation cost.

#4 Make sure there is sufficient “white space”

Languages vary widely in how much space they take up. English tends to be relatively short, for instance, compared to many other languages, but some languages are shorter still, for example Bahasa Malaysia. Make sure that web pages and apps in particular allow sufficient space to accommodate extra lengthy languages.

#5 Try and be consistent

When you get further into using translators and translation agencies you will find that a glossary and translation memory software can help speed up translation tasks and reduce translation cost by maintaining consistency and reducing the time spent on repeated words and phrases. This is something that takes time to work on and is also something that you can do with the help of the translator.

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