What Does Translation Cost?

What do you do when you are working on a project that requires materials to be translated into multiple languages?

When you don’t speak the language, how do you know the difference between getting the job done right versus just getting the job done?

Couldn’t you just use Google Translate?

All these and more are important questions to ask when searching for a vendor that can not only help you with the task at hand, but grow to be a partner that you can depend upon when it really counts; a partner that can speak to your company’s vision with the same level of quality and appreciation that you do.

Last group of questions:

When reviewing competitive quotations, are you comparing “apples to apples”? And if not, what are the differences? What questions should be asked? What can and should you expect from your translation partner?

In international business, as in any area where cost is a factor, a lot depends on being able to provide accurate cost and delivery estimates for each client. When our clients are ready to consider translation, they are usually interested in the translation cost and deliver time. The answer to both of these questions depends on a number of factors, a few of which include the number of words, pages, graphics, and languages we would be working with.

Let’s start with the basics

First we ask for the source files. Depending on what is being translated (software, web content, documentation, eLearning etc.), by having the source we can put together an accurate quote. We do this by:

  • Properly engineer and analyze the files
  • Taking into consideration the exact word count
  • Calculating repetitive segments
  • Extracting translatable content from graphics files
  • Estimating the desktop publishing (DTP) effort
  • Resizing dialogs
  • Validating the functionality of the target product

The translation memory tools that we use examine duplicated sentences or segments within the files being analyzed, helping to reduce the translation cost, delivery cycle time, and add consistency of terminology and style, resulting in a higher quality target language product.

Although it is possible to provide approximate estimates from PDF files, we do need the source files for the project itself. A source file is simply the file format as created by the original application program. For example, a source document authored in Microsoft Word would be a *.DOC file. A resource file containing the translatable content of a software user interface may be in the format of a .RESX file. HTML, ASP, XML or PHP files are needed, for example, in order to localize web-based content. If you have a need for localized computer user interfaces, we would advise discussing together your requirements in detail, as source files are contingent upon the application development environment.

How exactly is cost determined and, when a quote is submitted, how does the client or prospect know exactly which services are included? Depending on the type of project, cost is mostly driven by the total number of words (divided between unique and leveraged words), the number of graphics that need to be localized, the number of pages to be formatted, the complexity of the layout, the number of dialogs, the duration of product validation, and the amount of engineering and file preparation time to mention a few. Did the quote you receive take into consideration all of these components? Does the quotation assume deliverables to be the translation as an unformatted Plain Text file, paragraph for paragraph, or as a formatted document within the authoring application of the source file? These are some of the questions you should be asking when reviewing the quotation’s bottom line number. Consider both your tactical and strategic needs, and determine whether or not a final quality assurance process is necessary. Unless specifically requested otherwise by the client, Interpro’s quotations include all of the services which are required to deliver a complete, quality product within the delivery timeframe estimated. We will not compromise quality for cost, and we do not sacrifice service. Period.

Interpro Translation Solutions uses a global network of in-country, industry-specific translation teams comprised of physical companies, not just a loose collection of freelance translators working from remote locations. This is especially important when ensuring that everything is linguistically and culturally up to date when communicating in a particular geography’s target language. Language costs, as would be expected, vary based on the language being translated. Although complex multilingual desktop publishing and engineering services are generally determined on a time and materials basis, Interpro is experienced enough to be able to provide up-front fixed project budgets. Project management, probably the single most critical aspect of ensuring a project’s success, also somehow needs to be addressed within the quotation. Whether PM is rolled up into the translation costs, or is assessed as a percentage of the project cost, the cost of project management is as real and as necessary as translation and DTP are.

Finally, when a project has been completed and delivered, is the translation memory (TM) which was developed as a result of the translation process (assuming a translation memory tool was used) also included with the project deliverables? Does the client own this database which contains proprietary source and target segments, or is it something that needs to be purchased? More importantly, are you going to have to purchase the TM that contains your technical terms should you decide to use different resources, or perhaps to handle updates in-house? Interpro’s policy is, and always has been, that translation memories are the exclusive intellectual property of our clients. And finally, are you really willing to take the chance that project number forty-six being managed by the seventh project manager assigned to your account by the XYZ Translation Company is a viable option?

At Interpro Translation Solutions, we listen to you and speak with you to make sure you get answers to all of these – and other – questions, enabling you to make the most well-informed decisions concerning your particular project. We make sure that you know exactly what you are paying for before any work begins. Our mission consists entirely of providing multilingual services and solutions. Everything we do revolves around language. This is our business. This is our focus. Whether you are your organization’s CFO, Product Manager, Marketing Director, or IT Manager, our goal is to make it look like the strategic, long-term partnership between your company and Interpro Translation Solutions was your ingenious idea.

Entering the global marketplace? Let Interpro Translation Solutions earn the opportunity to be your partner in success.