Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Development - Translation: How to save Time & Money on Translation Jobs
Translation: How to save Time & Money on Translation Jobs
Here are a few tips we like to share with our clients at my translation company.
By applying them you will make sure your translation assignments progress smoothly – while allowing you to spare time, money and stress.
- Only translate what needs to be – Before anything else, check if the foreign-language version you need doesn’t already exist.
- Write in a clear, concise style - Don’t oversimplify but don’t over-elaborate. Use plain English, avoid multiple metaphors, complicated colloquialisms, unnecessary jargon etc. If needed rewrite your text.
- Only send final versions – Tracking last-minute changes is not only a time-consuming (and costly) chore, it is also a source of errors.
- Always send the source documents when requesting a quote - It will allow the translation company to make an accurate estimate based on the amount of words. Vaguely mentioning "about 10 pages" on the phone puts you at risk to end up with a quote plummeting at twice the price you were told initially.
- Always request a detailed quote beforehand - And read it thoroughly. Look for hidden costs - normally there shouldn't be any! -, check the deadlines, make sure you will receive the right deliverables.
- Send lots of relevant documentation - Your corporate brochure, company-specific terminology, previously translated documents, glossaries, links to your website and industry-related resources – all will help.
- Be specific about what you want – Who is the target? What about the context? What is the final support? A trade fair, a corporate brochure, a website? Etc. The more details, the more chances there are that the end result will match your expectations.
- Be ready to answer questions – Even if the project team who is in charge of your document is comfortable with your specific industry, some questions will arise: should the function names be translated or not, what about specific in-house terminology etc. This is especially true for large corporations.
- Be ready to check & validate the translation - Good translation companies include a set of corrections in their prices.
- Be realistic about deadlines - Translators are skilled experts who love words and want to make sure you get value for your money. Making a good translation takes time, so don’t rush them without necessity! (And let’s not forget the additional 30% for rush jobs). The thumb rule for non-urgent assignments is about 2,500 words per day + 1 additional day for quality control.
- Think twice before you use Online Machine Translation tools – At least for texts that are intended for publication. At present these things mostly produce surrealist gibberish. And if you do – by all means have the result properly edited before you publish it if you don’t want to get yourself in the middle of a PR minefield.
- … And remember that the most expensive translation is the one with a mistake!