ULG's Language Services Blog

Want To Cut Translation Costs? Here Are Three Ways To Do It


Everybody likes to save a buck.

In the corporate world, turnaround time and cost efficiency are a procurement manager’s best friend. Given the demanding pace of global business, everyone is looking to create lean, effective operations.

Those looking to secure translation services are at a disadvantage in the sense that the industry requires an understanding of processes and protocol that are, for the most part, only known to industry insiders.

However, aside from finding a provider that doesn’t charge exorbitant rates, there are ways to cut costs when seeking out localization services, even if you’re new to the industry.

Here are three things prospective localization buyers can do to spend less and streamline their workflows.

Write For Translation

If you’re creating content that you need translated, remember that simplicity is a translator’s best friend. Creating clear, understandable prose is your best defense against having to rework your copy, before or after its transferred to another language.

This means avoiding complicated phrases or sentence structure, and sticking with short and to-the-point text. Don’t include idioms or colloquial phrases that would be difficult for a linguist to understand.

By using this strategy, you’ll also be in a good position to write content for Machine Translation (MT). As we’ve touched on in a previous post, the “Recycle, Reuse and Repeat” strategy can help to produce an effective end product.

Use Technology To Your Advantage

When you’re looking for a Language Service Provider (LSP), it’s important to choose an LSP that has a strong grasp on technology and the ways in which it can make life easier (and less costly) for clients.

There are a couple of ways that effective technology can help you cut costs. The first, and maybe the most obvious, is using a Translation Memory (TM) and glossary, both of which are core components of a CAT tool.

TMs keep track of phrases or sentences that have already been translated in a document and store these segments in a database. Once the TM encounters them again, they will be recognized and translated accordingly. This helps with consistency, and most LSPs charge less than the standard rate for a segment if it’s already been translated.

A translation glossary is an index of specific terminology found in a translation document. The source and target language translations and definitions will be provided in a glossary along with the context in which these terms should be used, creating consistency and less chance for error.

While the option of having a TM and glossary is usually the norm with LSPs, a proprietary Translation Management System (TMS) doesn’t always come standard. But, using a TMS is a great way to increase efficiency and cut costs. It automates processes and allows you to submit projects and review reports at any time, from anywhere.

Machine Translation (MT) is another cost-saver, especially if you only need the “gist” of a translation and have reams of documents to transfer from language to another.

However, as we’ve said before, MT isn’t perfect and can lead to embarrassing errors. With that in mind, use it with discretion.

Centralize The Process

Centralizing your translation project, or using only one LSP instead of numerous providers, reduces inefficiencies and cost.

By centralizing your localization workflow, you’ll reduce rework and inefficiencies, and that lowers spend. Using one LSP you’ll have consolidated reporting, a single TM database to work from and will likely receive volume discounts that you wouldn’t otherwise.

Working with one LSP makes it easier to understand their workflows and processes, instead of having to grasp numerous modes of operations. It also means you’ll have less meetings to attend, again saving time and money.

Finding The Right Partner

By prepping content for translation, utilizing technology and centralizing workflows, clients can save a good chunk of money on their localization projects.

But, as we’ve discussed before, this isn’t possible without an LSP that has your best interests in mind. Find a provider that will help you decide what plan of action will work best given your specific needs, providing consultation when necessary.



Topics: Translation, Service