Because you are making the choice to use a language service provider (LSP) rather than relying on a machine translation, you are already aware that your project requires a careful and educated human touch. That touch, however, comes with a price tag that many clients wish to reduce. The following are some easy methods for doing just that.

Choose your translation languages wisely and sparingly.

If, for instance, you are trying to make your website accessible to as many people worldwide as possible, it might seem logical to have it translated into as many languages as you can. After all, most people are most comfortable reading information in their native language, and your goal is to make your company sound as welcoming and inclusive as possible. However, the higher the number of translations, the higher the cost. Fortunately, studies show that the top ten languages used on the internet are spoken by more than 75% of internet users around the globe. That means that with just a few translations, you can reach the majority of the world’s population.

For more about Apex’s website translations, click here.

Make sure your translation company of choice uses computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools.

What do patents, marketing materials, user manuals, and websites have in common? They all tend to contain highly repetitive terminology and phrasing that need to be translated consistently every time they are used. Double-check that your document translation services provider uses CAT tools in order to guard against human error and standardize the terminology used throughout your project. CAT tools are not the same as machine translation tools; rather, they are multifunctional software programs designed to assist a human translator. For example, CAT tools can detect repetitions of words or phrases in a text, which, if present, can reduce the cost of your project, as LSPs charge just a fraction of the original per-word price for duplicate sentences. After those words, phrases, or sentences have been translated once, the program suggests those same words and phrases to the translator the next time they appear in the text, helping maintain consistency. Moreover, CAT tools are capable of creating translation memories (TMs) containing all the translations your LSP has already done for you. These can be preserved for use on your next project.

While we’re on the subject of CAT tools…

Provide your materials to the LSP in Microsoft Word or other editable formats.

A CAT tool only works on editable documents; the program can’t “read” words in PDFs or image files. If you have decided that you wish to have CAT tools used on your project for the sake of quality and cost, provide your files in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, InDesign, or another text format if possible.

Another advantage to using a CAT tool is that once the translation is complete, the program automatically exports the translation into exactly the format of the original document. If a client wishes to have a PDF or image file translated, this formatting has to be done by hand, which is both time consuming and costly.

Have your documents proofread and finalized before sending them for translation.

In an effort to save time, especially when there are tight deadlines involved for the simultaneous publication of a text in more than one language, a client will sometimes send a draft document to their LSP for translation before it is finalized in its original language. Unfortunately, this is usually counterproductive and often slows production rather than speeding it up. Errors in the original text can lead to several problems, which may be expensive as well as time consuming. Moderate cases of incorrect punctuation or grammar (which may be found in any unrevised document) can cause a translator to misunderstand the author’s intention, leading to mistranslation of key information, which in turn may bring about user error or client dissatisfaction. In more severe instances, a document that has not been proofread may contain sections that are completely incomprehensible to the translator, which necessitates sending the entire document back to the client for a rewrite. Finally, if the client realizes that additions need to be made to the text after it is sent for translation, it generally takes longer for a translator to find all the modifications and add them in properly than it would take to translate that text in its correct location the first time around.

Give your LSP as much time as possible to finish your project.

Of course, sometimes last-minute projects are inevitable, but when possible, a little planning ahead can save you a lot of money! The more lead time your LSP has to do your project, the less likely you are to incur rush fees. Depending on the volume of a rush job, more than one translator may have to take on your project simultaneously, and project managers might have to work through the night to ensure that your project is finished on time. As this amounts to overtime for more than one person, the fees can be quite steep, and increase as a function of how close your deadline is. Therefore, any extra time you can give to your document translation service will result in savings for you. If you can’t prevent your project from being a rush job, try to provide your LSP with advance notice that you will be sending in a translation request soon. This will help ensure that there are translators available right when you need them.

Whether you have one day or 50 for a translation, click here for a free quote from Apex.