Engaging the services of a professional translation agency may not sound like a money saving idea, but it can be.
It might seem like a more cost effective solution to get a bilingual member of staff to translate content for your organisation, but in our experience this can end up as an expensive mistake.
Why? We’re often called in at the eleventh hour to resolve translation problems as a result of ‘cost saving’ measures. A typical scenario is that an employee has been tasked with the translation job and simply runs out of time. They’re desperately trying to balance their day-to-day responsibilities with the extra translation job, and being inexperienced in translation the job takes much longer than anticipated.
The cost to the company or organisation can be measured in loss of productivity because the employee was taken away from their normal role, and then the time and cost of completing the translation. If a professional translation agency is needed to complete the project because of pressing deadlines, those fees are likely to be higher for a rush job than if they were involved at the offset.
Cost of translation mistakes
Another cost factor that’s often overlooked is the cost of a poor translation, both monetarily and to reputation. A poor translation could result in content being ineffective, which if it’s sales or marketing collateral could mean it doesn’t convert prospects into customers. Translation mistakes may create miscommunication issues that take time to resolve, for example a poorly translated email may misinform the recipient and it can take time to clear up the misunderstanding. Time is money as we all know.
Brand or company reputation can also be harmed and this may affect revenue. The worse case scenario of a bad translation might even be litigation…
While this may seem like scaremongering, it does highlight some of the potential issues. Using a bilingual employee can be effective in certain situations, but sometimes it can be more costly than you thought.
Can you afford not to use a professional translation agency?
I think that’s the question you should ask to ascertain the importance of a translation project, and how critical accuracy and time constraints are. Fortunately, it isn’t an inexpensive service and there are ways to drive down costs further.
One of the key ways to do this is to engage a professional translation agency early in the project, so you don’t incur those ‘rush job’ additional costs.
However, the most important way that costs can be driven down is by reducing the time translations take. Professional translators will work much faster than your bilingual employees, and they also have access to translation tools, such as Machine Translation and Translation Memory, that can also speed up the process.
You can find more details on this in our guide to outsourcing translations here.