Localization is an integral part of the success of many businesses today. By overcoming geographic and linguist boundaries, you create immense opportunities for growth and reap the benefits of our modern global economy. But that doesn’t mean you or those in your C-suite aren’t eager to keep localization costs down. There are numerous ways to reduce localization costs.
Don’t just look for ways to cut corners, though. Localization is too important. Look for ways to do it better and to avoid pitfalls. The earlier you start on the smart path, the better.
Uncovering the Real Cost of Localization
It is entirely possible that, when you see the price of localization services, you and other stakeholders will be suppressing a gasp. But we want to put that price into perspective before we go any further.
The real cost of localization does not boil down to the vendors’ price tags. If you sign a contract with a localization service provider (LSP) but you also have to devote extensive time to manage workflows and quality, the cost of your time and resources compounds. If your vendor is less reliable and you end up having to fix major issues down the road, you encounter brand damage thanks to poor translations, or your product launch is seriously delayed—you might not even be able to estimate those costs at this point. But these are exactly the kinds of costs you can avoid.
Another cost-saving factor is the speed of implementation. The sooner you get your workflows set up, the fewer retroactive changes have to be made in content and procedures. This particularly applies to internationalization, the process of creating variable formats where necessary, such as dates, times, addresses, and local payment methods so that these forms correspond to usage in the target locales.
The bottom line is that partnering with an experienced vendor from the start will save you big money and headaches. Tight budgeting is one thing, but if you’re looking only at the upfront price tag and ignoring the inevitable demands on your resources, your approach is backward.
What to Do to Reduce Localization Costs
In addition to understanding how localization costs really break down and getting involved with the right vendor as early as possible, here are some forward-looking measures you can take to reduce localization costs.
1. Shop around
You should have an idea of the price range for the services you are looking for before you find a translation vendor. Armed with that knowledge, you can spot the price outliers, and you should be prepared to dig deeper.
Too often, vendors cut corners with their translators—whether they hire the translators themselves or farm out to another vendor and have no real accountability for the work being done. But, of course, translators are people who have to eat, pay their bills, support their children, and everything else familiar. When translators don’t receive wages commensurate with good work, things won’t level out in your favor either. Translation prices can go only so low. A vendor offering its services at a very low price should be treated with suspicion.
It’s a good sign when the vendor has its prices spelled out for any prospective client to see. Otherwise, some vendors may ask for whatever price they think they can get, which doesn’t directly reflect the quality of their product and service.
Find out more about the benefits of having a truly transparent translation company at your side.
2. Beware of “gotcha” pricing
Tiered pricing is another ethically questionable practice that quality translation services avoid. If you agree to a plan that covers a limited number of words, with the proviso that your rates will rise dramatically if you exceed your limit by a single word, expect trouble ahead. You don’t know how many words you will have to translate in the year to come. This scheme punishes you for success, and it is intended to be a trap—the 10,001st word costs the vendor no more to translate than the 9,999th did.
Put LSPs on the spot so they can tell you about all of the fine print up front. If they shy away from the details, then move on to the next.
3. Look out for layers of vendors
If your vendor is sending your translations to its vendor or vendors, which may be doing the same thing, there is a markup every time those translations change hands, and you’re the one paying for it. And, of course, in this scenario, you’re further and further away from real accountability and quality management.
Find out how common localization strategies break down.
Your vendor should be able to tell you who your translators are, what their qualifications are, and where they work. In a centralized, open environment, communication is encouraged among translators and other stakeholders. This collaboration greatly contributes to the quality of the work by holding everyone accountable and by making the necessary resources, questions, and answers readily available. When the workflow is visible, you have the data at hand to identify bottlenecks and other issues and troubleshoot before real problems develop.
4. Know what you want
Have a well-reasoned plan put together before you start looking for a vendor. Know your content, your localization players, and your company’s goals. You should have target markets and languages selected with appropriate strategies for what you will localize and how you will do it.
Yes, it is a tall order. Don’t get too overwhelmed. The right and reliable localization partner can help you to fine-tune these goals and plans with the benefit of their extensive experience. But the more examples and expectations you have to work with, the sooner you’ll be able to start a real conversation about concrete actions, integrations, and collaborators’ responsibilities.
Find a Vendor You Can Work with to Minimize Localization Costs
The right partner can help you shave off many of the avoidable costs associated with localization. When you’ve found your reliable LSP, look forward to:
- Integrations — Use APIs or a command line interface to exchange files between systems effortlessly and eliminate unnecessary busywork.
- Automated workflow — In an automated platform, the work goes where it needs to without anyone going through tedious, time-consuming mechanical steps like emailing, uploading, downloading, and reformatting. There is less waiting, and there are fewer administrative errors.
- Effective assets management — With a centralized platform, translators can find your translation memories, term bases, and style guides quickly. These assets can be updated easily, avoiding costly corrections and the embarrassment of translation errors.
- Smart systems — Gather data and analyze workflows to ensure accountability and efficiency. Feel confident in your investments because you know exactly where the money is going and why.
Finding the right vendor, one that will treat you fairly and be responsive to your needs, is crucial to your localization success. Your vendor can help you reduce localization costs throughout your partnership by working with you to maintain optimal workflows, formulate appropriate localization strategies, and maintain unfailingly high standards. That’s why getting to know your vendor before you even commit to working with them is essential.
Bureau Works’ centralized, automated localization platform provides economy through high efficiency and responsiveness to the needs of our clients. We work closely with you throughout the localization process, as well as with qualified translators and other linguistic professionals. Contact our team to see what we can do for your organization.
April 23, 2020