A Guide to Managing your Translation Budget

Managing budgets for translation services might feel like hard work, especially if you are unsure of what level of services you might require, or are unfamiliar with translation processes, how much they cost and what other budgeting factors are involved.

Don’t panic though – this blog has been created to help you successfully manage your translation budget by giving useful tips on which service might best suit your needs, how to make sure you get the best translation service for your money, and how to save money on regular translations.


1. Strategic Investment not Superfluous Expense

The first, and most important, point to make regarding any translation budget is that translation services should be viewed as a long-term investment, not as a superfluous expense that would be better avoided.

Professional translation can offer you unlimited access to potential customers around the globe, improve brand recognition and trust, adds perceived customer service value, and with patience, will give a good return on investment.


2. You Get What You Pay For

Machine translation (such as, Google Translate) is not a comparable alternative for a professional human translation and will likely give poor results, so if accuracy is essential for your translation then you should choose a professional human translation – every time.

As with most services, cheapest isn’t always the best option as there will generally be corners cut in order to offer a lower price and this may be reflected in accuracy, professional provision, or factors such as, proofreading, editing and technical content.

It is also worth asking any prospective translation services provider you are considering using for an example of their previous work so that you can gain an insight into the level of service they provide before finalising your budget.


3. Plan your Translation Project

Advance planning can help with keeping within budget for the following reasons:

• Rush-jobs often incur a penalty charge

• Careful selection of a translation service providers that offers specialism in your language pairs, or industry sector, can often mean a lower price as they already have the specialist linguists on-board that you’ll require for your translation and they have industry know-how. For instance, if you require a legal translation in Dubai, choose a provider that specialises in this field and language

• If you know which languages you’ll require in advance you can plan your original content and images on websites, brochures, and so on, to allow for easier translation. For example, if you have original content for an English website and require an Arabic version, by using images that are culturally acceptable in either location will mean fewer alterations within localization packages


4. Translation Memory Software Saves Time and Money

Although human translators are far superior to machine translations we still use machines to help us create and complete translation projects.

Translation memory software helps by remembering words commonly used and automatically translating them so that can cut down on time and cost per word of translation, particularly helpful with projects such as repetitive product descriptions for websites, labelling and so on.

Creating glossaries of frequently used words will help your translation services provider to offer an accurate, fast and competitive translation.


5. Centralise Translation Projects with Key Stakeholders

Having a translation budget that is split between marketing, HR, customer service, legal, or product management departments will often mean duplicate translation projects (which will invoke higher costs) and can also be a potential waste of time and money.

Try to centralise translation projects across departments, including the finance team, so that projects can be created which are able to fulfil the needs of multiple departments in one project.


6. Track your Translation and ROI

It’s all very good planning a translation project to the nth degree but if you aren’t sure how successful it is then you have no idea if it was good value for money.

Align your translation project with your ROI procedures so you can clearly track progress and success, and learn where to improve on future projects.


7. Budget for Unforeseen Translation Projects

In business we learn to expect the unexpected and this should also hold true for translation projects.

For instance, if you have translated all the products on your website but not accounted for a change in product ingredients, or you require a global recall on an individual item, you may find you need a rushed update on your translated site.

This will lead to increased translation costs and may lead to a budget overspend, so when planning budgets try to factor in an unforeseen project so you don’t get caught short.


Good communication with your translation services provider is essential in order to accurately plan translation budgets, so if you’d like to talk to the experts at Creative Word please contact us here, and we’ll be happy to assist you with any element of your translation project.

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