Saving money on translations

Requesting a Translation Quote

Here is how to request a translation quote in the most effective way possible:

First of all, you have to know what languages you want the document translated into, but that is not all. Make sure to specify any language variants. By language variant, I mean what country the language is spoken in. US or UK English for example. Not only are idioms and sayings almost a world apart, but spelling is quite different as well.

Portuguese from Brazil or Portuguese from Portugal: I remember once when this had gotten mixed up. My customer required an entirely new translation as the translation from Portugal was useless to his company in Brazil.

The Spanish language can be quite different depending on if it is continental Spanish, Central or South American. It can vary quite a bit from country to country within South America, so take heed which variant you want, especially with regard to marketing texts!

When sending your quote, make sure to specify what the translation is going to be used for. This is paramount if you want to ensure the quality you desire. Giving this information to the translator and proofreader of your document will also ensure that not only stylistic considerations are made before throughout the entire translation and proofreading process, but also is sometimes fun and challenging for the translator as well. This can lead to a bit more creativity than usual flowing into the finished product. Hey, and don’t forget, the project manager uses the information you give him about the document to make sure that the appropriate translator carries out the work.

When you send your document, make sure that there are no right-protections on it. This is just going to lose time. It is not possible to calculate how many words and lines are in a document if it is locked.

If you want to be sneaky, send the request letter to the recipient over CC. This will make them think that you are asking several offices at a time and do the best to give you the best price possible on your quote.

When making your request, specify that you would like “clean and unclean” files as a delivery. I will discuss this in more detail in a further blog post, but by saying this, as it is language service provider (LSP) jargon. Whether you understand it right now or not, just put it in the request. It will make the language vendor think that you know about translation technology (translation memory in this case) and are expecting discounts if there is repetition in the document. This will lead you saving money. The language vendor is also going to tend to be quite honest when counting the lines or words in your document because he will think that you have and understand the technology to do the same.

In light of point 5, please look at the document. If you see a lot of sentences or phrases that keep repeating, point this out to the language service provider (LSP)  Any LSP will analyze the document you send to them and get a percentage of repetition from the analysis. This percentage of repetition generally leads to a discount as many agencies will not pay translators in full for obvious repetition in a document.

If there are a lot of numbers in your document, make sure to ask for a discount. Numbers are generally automatic in translation tools, but they still have to be reworked to some extent depending on the language.  (i.e. formats of times, dates, currencies can vary from language to language). Despite this, numbers are usually taken care of by translation tools and are the correctness of numbers is always verified using electronic quality assurance software before manual human proofreading. Therefore, if you have a financial document that has a large percentage of number for instance, I would most certainly ask if the LSP would be willing to give you a rebate.

If a translation is not urgent, don’t make it urgent. This will not only ensure the quality of your translation because the translator and proofreader are not rushing, but will also reduce the price you have to pay.

Think logically and answer the following question:

When would you get a better quote?

  • When the LSP calculates as quickly as possible and finds any translator     that is available?
  • If he/she has time to calculate the document well, give you a fair and reasonable price and ensure that the best translator for the job is working on your document?<—— CORRECT ANSWER!

If you want to save time, just set reasonable deadlines. Make sure to tell the LSP you are requesting translation from when you need the quote and when you would like to receive the finished translation.

Be sure to mention that you have a tight budget! That will get you a better price for sure!

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