Often when organizations look for language services, price drives their decision, and they award translation projects to the lowest bidder. However, price should not be the only consideration when selecting a language service provider. Sometimes, the lowest cost can result in the worst results including: lack of control, delayed turnaround times, linguistic inconsistencies and prolonged absences.

Because the US translation industry is relatively young, there are literally hundreds of “mom and pop” shops offering an array of translation services each competing for translation projects and trying to undercut prices to get the work. This means that rates can differ as widely as the quality of services provided.

5 Considerations for Selecting Your Translation or Localization Provider

5 things to consider when selecting your translation or localization provider (which I will expand on in a later blog entry) are:

  1. company industry
  2. language needs
  3. desired service level
  4. product development cycles
  5. budget


Look for companies that provide specialization and that fit into your industry and business model through people, processes and technology.

Be wary of hidden costs that come from lack of quality or processes that can cause additional delays, including lost business, revenue and liability.

Sometimes organizations attempt to save money by using their own staff. This can be risky because although these employees may be bilingual, they are not translators. Speaking and writing require two very different skill sets. Just because someone is fluent in speaking a language does not mean that they write well in that language.

Some organizations try to save money by using Machine Translation (MT). This can be risky due to the huge potential for mistakes and embarrassment. If you have ever used an app like Google translate know the gamble you take with the translations. There are limits to machine translation, including that it works within strict language rules and clearly defined vocabularies. Variances in these can lead to poor translations and outright mistakes. Do you want your content to be translated when the translated output is a gamble? In the end, mistakes due to machine translation may end up costing you more in lost customers and liability due to mistranslations.

Ways to Cut Translation Costs

How can you cut unnecessary costs and still provide quality translations within a limited budget? Here are a few ideas, which I will elaborate on in a future blog post.

  • Bundle the work rather than breaking it up into multiple small projects.
  • Maximize predictability through established processes.
  • Write and design specifically for translation.
  • Eliminate idioms, jargon and acronyms
  • Only sign detailed quotes with clearly defined expectations, schedules and deliverables.
  • Avoid changing work once translation has begun.
  • Provide a glossary of key terms that can help translators stay consistent and know how to define important terms.
  • Translation Memories (TM) can increase savings.


What ways have you found to cut translation costs? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

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