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How Do You Budget Translation Services?

Companies, government agencies, universities or non governmental organizations are all asking the same question. How do you draw up a budget for translation services? You need to budget translations so you are curious as to how to do it and using what criteria? A professional translation agency like ours can assist you in estimating the cost of your language needs.

Our 6 budgeting tips for translation services costs

You need a budget strategy for your translation and subtitling projects, just as you do for other things in your business.

Do you need advice on how to budget for translation? Cultures Connection gives you 6 tips to make the best budget for all your language needs:

Use your past translation history. This is a good start, however if you are suddenly expanding your translation needs to other languages or areas of expertise, you need a larger budget. Think about your new target market from a linguistic angle! For some languages speakers are more or less rare worldwide: few people speak Swedish, Khmer or Malagasy, and even fewer of them are professional translators. Budgeting is also about planning for adjustments, therefore you need to plan for the unexpected. A strategic business area may change or grow. It’s also useful to anticipate that you may need to translate content into an additional language, as the economic and political context may lead to changes in target markets. Or that your video content will increase and you may place more subtitling orders.

Refine your calculations with CAT tools. Translation tools used by translation companies and their translators reduce costs among other things. In addition to the terminology memory of words and sentences –with a glossary that builds up as orders are placed and promotes the consistency of translated content– these tools can help shorten deadlines. Yet the biggest advantage for your translation budget is cost savings! With CAT tools you benefit from a discount on repetitions and can perform an automatic quality control of dates, figures, references. For documents that often contain the same words, this really is a plus. When you first write your documents, keep in mind that a translation will be done later on. It is better to repeat the same words than to use many synonyms and idioms, which can not only add confusion during translation, but also reduce the benefits of CAT tools.

Select the type of service. Whether your company has a comfortable budget or a limited budget is not the issue. A translation agency is able to provide you with services that fit your budget, such as a machine translation that is proofread by a human translator, a simple translation by a human translator, a translation by a first human translator followed by a revision by a second human translator, reverse translation, and so on. There are different options or packages for translation services, suited for commercial and marketing translation, or for the publication of scientific or financial content.

Think about the level of quality. There are indeed several levels of quality control. An issue you want to include in your budget considerations is what quality level you want for translations. The financial issues related to the translated documents obviously touch on the same subject. If you are betting on a multilingual e-commerce website to develop or boost your sales, you need to budget for a good localization of your web content.

Anticipate and schedule. Scheduling with a fixed deadline can be helpful in planning a budget, refining the definition of translation service needs, and ensuring that the translation budget is respected. Setting a volume of words –or minutes for subtitles– with a deadline on a regular basis allows all parties involved to plan the amount of expenses in advance. We advise you to provide the documents to be translated early enough because urgent translations are more expensive.

Review your budget. Determine ahead of time when you review your budget. If you work in the private sector or for an NGO, the budget review may be quarterly or semi-annually. For government agencies, typically the review is yearly. A comparison from one period to the next is an asset to refine the budget, and therefore avoid surprises. Close collaboration with your department or entity copywriters is needed in order to improve visibility of future translation needs.

Here’s our final recommendation: take advantage of the resources that a professional translation agency can provide, such as sourcing meetings and even customized support. This is what we do at Cultures Connection! We can define together the type of translation needs –including SEO translation–, the appropriate level of quality, discuss the target languages or the complexity of the field to be translated. Besides, a client portal –like the one our professional agency uses– is a budget management tool. Our client portal allows you to track your expenses and download detailed activity reports. Preparing a budget forecast is also an optimization process. Your translation company project managers can help you implement best practices for your translation orders and make the most of your budget.

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This article has been written by Marilène Haroux

Marilène was previously an Academic and a Translator. At Cultures Connection she used to be the Vendor Manager as well as Bid Manager. Now Marilène is the Bid and Communications Manager.