Translation is usually the last step in the content creation process. The costs can sometimes take people by surprise. In some cases, translation isn’t planned (or budgeted) for at all, so any costs come as a surprise. In other cases, translation is misunderstood as “just translation,” or believed that acceptable results will come from free online translation tools such as Google Translate.
Another frequent assumption is that a machine can replicate important nuances in meaning, that when missed, can render a translation meaningless, offensive or somehow degraded. Therefore, it’s important to understand what influences translation costs so you can plan accordingly.
The price of translation is primarily based on the number of English (source language) words you need to have translated and the target languages you are translating into. Translation projects vary widely in size, from just a few words to tens of millions. Doing even a rough word count can help you determine approximately how much the project will cost and enable you to budget accordingly. But don’t do this until you read further!
Different languages have different price points. Since it is preferred for translators to live in the market that is targeted, per-word rates can be influenced by the cost of living in different countries. Japanese, for instance, costs more to translate than Spanish, because there are
fewer Japanese translators than there are Spanish. And the cost of living differential between Japan and, say, Mexico or Peru is very high. If you aren’t sure about a language, you can give us a call and we can provide you with guidance about which language is most appropriate for which market.
Pricing may vary depending on the kind of text you are translating. Highly nuanced content may require additional thought and consideration by the translator to create translations that convey the same meaning and intent, while highly specific technical content may require a translator with a specific education and experience, such as pharmacology or law, to ensure the translation meets regulatory guidelines. In both cases, the cost of the translation may be higher than that for the translation of basic business correspondence.
If you are on a tight budget, Gateway Globalization can help you prioritize the content you need translated to minimize the initial cost or help you determine where you will get the greatest return on your translation investment. When the initial project is successful, this may help you obtain the funding you need for future projects.
While a professional translation company may seem more expensive initially, they will likely save you money in the not-too-distant future. Professional translation companies use technology such as translation memory tools that “remember” and can reuse previously translated text. Over time, translation memories can save you a great deal, especially for product updates or text that is reused over and over again, such as legal disclaimers. Translation memory also saves money by ensuring consistent use of important terminology and concepts, enabling the human translator to work more efficiently. Since time is money, the time savings derived from translation memory can help you get your website translated faster, or even get your product to market quicker.
These are just a few ways you can plan ahead and budget for translation. Please don’t hesitate contact Gateway Globalization if you need advice or feel constrained by your translation budget. We are always looking for ways to help you save money, while getting the most value from your translation investment.
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