Budgets are tighter than ever and it’s a natural response to try to look for cheaper options. But this could be a false economy. If you buy a really cheap t-shirt, you can guarantee that after half a dozen washes it will have lost its shape and will look like a really cheap t-shirt. So do you buy another cheap t-shirt or do you buy quality and wear a good-looking t-shirt for much longer?
Many translation agencies, to reduce costs but to maintain their profit, simply choose cheaper freelance translators or squeeze their translators to accept less money. Both are bad.
Cheaper freelance translators usually produce poorer quality work: they rush their work, don’t follow the client’s terminology, or, let’s be honest, just aren’t very good.
Squeezing good translators creates resentment and only forces these people to work quicker, under stress, and thereby produce more human errors. Making the proof-readers job bigger than it was, so, in effect, you’ve saved on the translator but lost on the proof-reader.
The option that we recommend is that you and your translation agency work together to optimise the process: how can things be changed to reduce cost? Could the source text be shortened? Rather than a “word-for-word” translation, would a “summarised” translation be acceptable (rendering 5,000 English words to 1,000 French)?
In addition, we have many partnerships with companies where, upon reaching a certain threshold, either a discount is applied, or certain credits are made available. If you’re someone who regularly needs short phrases translated, we have an extremely simple workflow with fast turnaround and very, very competitive prices. In short, we believe that the translation agency should start acting like your partner and should start providing free “consultancy” (for want of a better term) to help you get more for less.
You can choose an overweight, sloppy, lazy, unfit translation agency. Or you could choose an efficient, alert, finely-tuned one.