Quality translation costs money
Think about the person who will translate your document. This person should have a working knowledge of the subject matter being translated. It is not uncommon for engineers to be assigned as translators for technical document translations and MDs to be assigned for medical translations. How much do you think professionals of this caliber cost?
The usual wrong choices
Some translation buyers assume from the beginning that translation is cheap. When this happens some buyers will desperately try to find a cheap translator provider to justify their guessed budget.
Cheap translation is mainly provided by:
- mom and pop shops: some times representing operations being run from a basement, these providers do not have access to basic tools to support project management and quality control. Quality may be fine some times but if one of the owners become sick or busy with personal matters you will quickly realize you chose the wrong provider
- companies abroad: providers in low-cost labor countries don't have the same approach to quality and timeliness that providers in the US have. Quality may suffer so a low price may be possible and a deadline doesn't mean as much as you would like it to mean
- machine translation: it is not uncommon for us to hear from a client that a translation they bought cheap was actually a poor-quality machine translation. This is not so common in the states, although it happens quite often when buyers try to save money buying from providers abroad
The illusion of "hiring a translation company to improve an in-house translation"
Translations are not binary procedures. Although technical terms tend to be translated the same, each translator will have a different choice of words in general. When a company try to translate in house and ask for a professional translator provider to polish this translation afterwards, the final cost is usually much higher than the single translation cost.
This happens because the editor translator usually need to change large chunks of the translated text besides updating the translation glossary and other documents that may exist related to the document being edited.
Translation providers will hardly accept a proposal to revise the work done by someone else. And, many times when they accept such assignments they will be charging as much as they would to translate the entire project from scratch - since this is actually what they may end up doing!
Costs associated with a translation project that goes wrong
When you get a low quality translation that you need to send to the trash, it is not the money waster you will be losing. Other costs associated with the need of redoing translation are:
- Extra time required for the translation to be redone; this could take more time than the original assignment, particularly if you asked for a rush translation the first time (which may have collaborated for the first project to go wrong)
- your time cost for sourcing a new provider, placing a new order, interacting with your vendor through the life cycle of the new project, etc.