Hidden Costs of Choosing a Low Cost Translation Provider
March 28, 2013
Budgets are tight. We all feel the pressure to find the most cost effective services. Bottom line cost estimates are easy to compare across potential providers. Vendor quotes can be confusing if they bundle all of the services into a single price without providing sufficient detail. What if something goes wrong? What if there is even a small change to the content? What if the project is delayed or if the client reviewer is unavailable?
The old adage tends to ring true with localization services; you certainly get what you are willing to pay for. Because high-quality translation requires that you engage in a full formula of dependent variables. These important functions include a road-tested process, style guide and full glossary development, a detailed quote, and a commitment to high-quality results.
I can't overemphasize the importance of having a proven process for creating high-quality localized content. The process must be well-defined, controlled and repeatable. For a website project for example, GPI employs a 14-step process to ensure predictable, high-quality results.
1. Review & Analysis of source website assets
2. Best practice multilingual workflow based on CMS
3. Project Kick-Off
4. Subject Matter Training and Research
5. Content Cultural Correctness Assessment
6. Glossary and Style Guide Development
7. SEO - Keywords Research & Localization
8. Transcreation & Copywriting
9. Localization of any Graphics
10. Localization of any Documents
11. Localization of any Multimedia
12. Basic Online QA & Testing
13. Search Engine Marketing
14. Launch Language Versions
Some steps are performed in parallel and the exact sequence of these steps can be modified to coordinate with your specific project plans and resources. If your translation agency has not defined the process in a well documented manner, or is missing some of these important elements, STOP!
Risking the brand
Undoubtedly, significant investments have been made in cultivating your brand voice, tone, and promise. Beyond simply translating the content from source to target language, extra effort must be made to ensure continuity across the localization process to retain these important brand attributes. Through creation adherence to style guidelines and the development of a comprehensive glossary, important brand consideration will be less likely to be "lost in translation". The cost of getting this wrong is potential damage to the brand on the global market.
Nothing can increase frustration faster than learning from your chosen, low-cost translation provider that certain key elements were not included in the initial quote. Shortcuts can be taken by not using qualified linguists, eliminating important proofreading and editing cycles, or poor desktop-publishing. You might find that getting to an acceptable level of service and quality will incur the dreaded change order process. It does not take too many little changes or additional requests to quickly find your original quote to grow very large.
Doing it twice . . . or thrice
So you made the decision to go with the lowest bid. You have spent hours of internal resources managing the project and lining up reviewers. The localized content now sits in your inbox; freshly delivered from your low cost translation vendor. It is ready for final review.
The feedback is saddening, maddening. The original work took so long to get just right and the translated content looks and sounds well . . . completely foreign. Your reviewers refuse to sign off and for good reason. Your only choice is to start the process all over again. Now you're saddled with not only paying for the services again, but also an extended deadline and a reinvestment of everyone's time to get the project done. Wow!
You have a fiduciary responsibility to try to get the most for your money. And sometimes this means that the lowest bid will actually suffice. If the lowest bidder has a strong reputation, a solid process and has made an effort to include all of the necessary services to produce a high quality deliverable, you are in good shape. Heed the warnings I detailed above. Ask a lot of questions. Don't be fooled by a vague list of services nicely packaged up into a tidy price. Do a little research about best practices and the best questions to ask. Make the agency explain why the charge for certain services and why they are performed in a particular sequence.
Further Information on Localization Resources
Globalization Partners International (GPI) frequently assists customers with multilingual website, document and software localization projects. A suite of globalization tools developed by GPI can empower you to achieve your multilingual project goals. You can explore them under the translation tools. GPI also offers translation services and internationalization, and can evaluate your application. Consider partnering with GPI prior to localizing or translating your application as this will help you avoid many mistakes and save considerable time and money on your localization projects.
To further understand the entire Globalization and Localization process, you should download our PDFs Language Globalization Guides. You may also benefit from our previous blogs:
- Website Translation: 14 Steps to an effective worldwide website!
- Choosing a Translation Partner Instead of a Vendor
- 5 Tips for Managing Localization in your Organization
- How to Create a Quote for Document Translation Services
- Tools to Reduce Language Translation Services Costs
To discuss your next website translation project, please do not hesitate to contact us via e-mail at email@example.com, or by phone at (866) 272-5874, or by requesting a free translation quote on your next website translation project.
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Heba Nady - Global Client Services Manager
Hebatullah Mahmoud Nady (Heba) is a native Arabic speaker who lives in Cairo, Egypt. She has 11 years of experience in client relations and project management, working in different industries, such as publishing, oil and gas and foremost translation and localization. Heba holds a B.A. degree in English Language and Literature from Ain Shams University, and has a great passion for language and culture. She has been actively managing many localization and translation projects for major clients since 2008 and is well versed in a wide range of localization tools and practices. Heba enjoys working with teams from different cultures and bringing people together to achieve a common goal. For her translation is a mission that contributes to enriching Arabic and other cultures and languages. In her free time, Heba likes to read about literature and management, and go site-seeing.