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Be smart about your translation needs, save costs down the road!

These days, some of us might be looking for ways to cut some costs without this having any negative impact on our operations. In this article series, we’d like to share with you a few tips on translation savings, from our business to yours.

Generally speaking, what saves you money is foresight. If you think about your needs in advance, you are not running the risk of something going terribly wrong (and expensive) later. And what are some of the things you might want to think about? The magic words are quality, communication and time management. We will devote an article to each of them to explain in more detail, starting with quality.

Part One: Quality

We know this sounds a bit counter-productive. A top translator will surely charge a lot of money. Isn’t there a way around this? Maybe we should ask the office assistant to do the job instead?

Experience tells us this is might not be the best of ideas. Especially if your text is important to you and getting it wrong might involve a huge risk. There are so many cases where inexpert translation backfires and the consequences are catastrophic. Have you heard about the Mead Johnson case? The company had to recall approximately USD 10 million worth of baby formula just because of translation blunders in the instructions. And even if there is no such a “big” fiasco, one still doesn’t want to look silly when presenting their product to a potential business partner or when reaching out to their employees abroad.

So, how can I tell whether a translator is good?

There are a few indicators to look out for:

  • Does the translator you would like to use have some sort of background and experience in your field?
  • Can the translator provide relevant references?
  • Can they translate a short sample of your text before you get involved in any large project with them?
  • Do they work with a reviser?
  • And last, but not least: do you feel they are willing to communicate with you and listen to your concerns and wishes?

If you got five “yes” answers, you are on a good track. As a next step, our advice is to proceed with your sample project. Have a careful look at the translation, discuss with the translator anything you might not be sure about. If you have a good feeling, then congratulations, you have your translator.

We already mentioned communication several times in this article. It is indeed very important and it can save a lot of money too. We will be telling you more about this in the next part of this series. Stay tuned!