5 tips to keep your translations in time and within budget


These are the five mistakes you should avoid if you don't want your translation projects exceed in costs and deadlines.

Translations and localizations, like almost every other job in the world, can range from the rather simple and straightforward that may be done in a few hours, to the lengthy and complex that can take weeks or even months.  If you’re in the market for one of the latter, here are a few tips that can save your company a few headaches, and in turn also save you a bit of time and money.

Keep everything in order

When providing all the documents that have to be translated, make sure that they are all in the same file format to avoid the need for multiple different software apps in order to open them. Having to find and install some obscure software to merely open a file can prove to be a barrier when sticking to deadlines.  Organize all the files in a comprehensive manner so your translator can see the big picture, as context can be very important on certain occasions, and it will help to speed up the translation and perhaps even save you a bit of money.

Clean up

It’s pretty common to see documents containing paragraphs, or even full pages that weren’t intended to be translated. If these bits are glaringly obvious, your translator will probably be able to figure them out, but that’s not always the case. Try your best to remove any text that doesn’t need to be translated beforehand, as these rogue words can quickly add up and potentially inflate the final cost.

Repetition is also a common offender here. If there is a repeated text that makes an appearance very regularly, let your translator know so you can both decide how to address it appropriately. Some agencies charge a percentage of the cost for each repetition, so that is something worth keeping in mind.

Brevity is clarity

It’s hard to not get carried away when describing a product or service one is passionate about, but when it comes to translating, all the extra words can add a layer of confusion and also increase the total cost. Lengthy descriptions are a double edged sword, so try to use them when there is a real need for them, and make sure to keep the rest as clear and straightforward as possible. It will help both your customers, and your pockets.

Plan your updates

Some translations can be done in one batch with no need for further updates, but some translation jobs are ongoing and need to be modified regularly. Websites would be a good example, as they constantly add new information and features that need to be translated. When these updates are needed, make sure to send the files when you’re certain the text is final and where will be no more changes. Sending a large quantity of small updates will always prove more costly down the line.

Time is of the essence

While deadlines are always mutually agreed upon, and incorporate ample time for the translators to do their job, there are instances when an “urgent” translation is needed. Granted, these scenarios have the bad habit of popping out of the blue unexpectedly, but it’s always a good approach to plan ahead within the realms of possibility. Translations labeled as “urgent” can sometimes come at an extra cost, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. This also applies to unexpected changes or amendments when the translation is already underway, as they could very well cause the need for extensive rewriting and letting your translator know in advance will always be appreciated and will help to keep the deadlines strong.  

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