Dos and Don’ts: Cutting the cost of translation

With quickly growing numbers of non-English Internet users everywhere from India to Nigeria, translating can help you reach a new audience of thousands, millions or even billions. Having some or all of your Web services translated into other languages can boost your search engine rankings, build trust with foreign communities and bolster sales. An overwhelming majority of people are more likely to shop and purchase in their native language, according to the Harvard Business Review.

“Translation can improve SEO, market exposure and sales.”

However, translating your Web presence and apps into other languages can be a major undertaking. Before you invest in a business localization service or translation app, here are a few dos and don’ts you should know, so that you can budget wisely and end up with a product you’re proud to call your own.

Do: Ask for volume discounts and establish long-term partnerships
Translating an app, localizing a website or adding a new language portal to your domain are all significant business decisions and should be treated as such. Problems can arise when companies think of translation as a one-off project where they’ll have text translated then end the relationship with the company.

The smartest and most cost-efficient move is to create a long-term business relationship with your translation company like you would with any other supplier. This trust will allow for easy translation going forward as you expand your website or develop a new app. You won’t have to negotiate a new fee structure each time or find the best quote, and you’ll already have a company that’s familiar with your business and ready to translate.

Additionally, ask about volume discounts. If you have a large amount of text to be translated and localized, the translation services business will likely be willing to give you a significant discount. While you’re saving money, volume discounts also benefit the translators by locking in a customer, beating their competitors and getting a guaranteed large order, according to the HBR.

Develop a strong relationship with your translation services company for mutual benefits. Develop a strong relationship with your translation services company for mutual benefits.

Don’t: Try to find the cheapest translation service
Cheap translation services are comparable to cheap wine. While the idea of a $3 bottle of merlot may be appealing in the store aisle, you may be less enticed when you think what must have gone into that bottle to make it so inexpensive. Translation is the same way.

If you go for the cheapest service, you may end up overpaying for an underqualified freelance translator whose work isn’t proofread or checked. To get your website presentable again, you may even have to hire another translator to clean up sloppy mistakes.

Instead, opt for a reliable, professional translation service that guarantees its work.

Do: Leverage translation memory
Translation memory allows programmers and translators to quickly and easily access words, phrases and anything else that has already been translated for you. Host this data in the cloud to guarantee it’s there and accessible when you need it, and allow translators to easily translate information in a simple format.

Leveraging translation memory can help cut costs either immediately or down the road for your business by eliminating the need to pay twice for the same translation, cutting down on errors and even improving the speed at which a project can be completed. Essentially, hosting translation memory in the cloud and giving your translators access will give you a more accurate result in less time for a smaller price.

Don’t: Use machine translation
According to The Economist, Google Translate has about 200 million users worldwide each month. While this service may be enticing, it’s not the best idea. Google and other machine translators may be cheap, but so are their results.

“Machine translation can be worse than no translation at all.”

Machine translators frequently make mistakes when translating nuance, idioms or many phrases that aren’t simply constructed sentences. When these translation errors end up on your website, it can actually be worse than not translating at all. It can hurt your SEO and – if customers ever see your poorly translated page – it could damage the relationship you want to build with your new audience before it starts.

Google Translate doesn’t completely guarantee accuracy in its results. Instead, turn to a company that uses human experts to translate your language completely.

Do: Eliminate the manual parts of translation 
You shouldn’t be spending your time or money copying and pasting translated text from emails and documents to your Web platform or vice versa. This ends up wasting your and your employees’ time and slows down the whole project.

Instead, use cloud-based services that will completely automate your workflow. This lets your translators simply translate the text you want in a easy-to-use format and then apply it wherever you need without adding unnecessary steps.

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