The ABC of Cost-Effective Translation Workflows: Part I

This time in our blog series on translation and cost efficiency, we’re taking a closer look at different technologies and workflows that can help companies to save money.

The modern translator is no longer seen as a humble wordsmith who sits alone in their solitary chamber, poring over piles of dictionaries. These days, they’re considered “linguistic engineers” – and they play a key role in increasingly complex translation projects in which they rely on cutting-edge technologies. But which tools and work methods are considered state of the art in this rapidly developing, high tech sector? And how exactly do they help companies to cut down on excessively high translation costs? For the next two weeks we'll be publishing four best practices for cost-effective translation workflows. Here are the first two.


The sliding scale that is translation quality


In the same way that you would spend much more time composing an important press release than writing an e-mail to a fellow team member, the amount of work that goes into a translation should always be proportional to its purpose.

For example, if you were to print out stacks of glossy company brochures for an upcoming trade fair, you would want the content to impress and win over potential customers and partners. That’s why you would be best off having your content translated by an experienced translator in this case and then having it revised. On the other hand, if you needed the text quality to be good – but not highly polished – then a translation and review (such as for a blog post on your website) may well be the right choice.

However, if you really wanted to free up your budget, then machine translation (MT) would be right up your alley, as this can be up to 60 percent cheaper than conventional translation. This workflow is used when it’s important for a text to be comprehensible and its terminology accurate. Even if MT is not typically applied to marketing content, there are a few situations in which it makes sense to use it. One such case could be if you had product data sheets that featured highly formalized language and enjoyed less visibility than other marketing content.

If all else fails, you also have the option of temporarily doing without translations that are not essential. We’ve illustrated what you need to bear in mind when it comes cutting costs for specific content types and target markets in our previous blog posts in this series – check them out to maximize your marketing translation budget!


Define flexible quality levels for your translations – these will help you to avert additional costs due to superfluous workflows.



Automate and integrate


The more seamless your marketing campaign translation processes are, the less time and mental space you’ll need to dedicate to administrative tasks.

That’s why companies are moving towards middleware applications that are able to connect a range of otherwise incompatible content authoring, content management, and translation management systems involved in the translation process with one another.

The advantage of this approach becomes most apparent when marketing material is being reviewed. At present, communication between client-side reviewers and translators in coordinating final text versions tends to be complicated and time-intensive – files in the respective language version have to be sent back and forth, reams of e-mails exchanged, and feedback manually collected and edited.

It’s no surprise, then, that companies prefer “in-context reviews” where their regional marketing team examines the translation in its final layout – such as on a website or in a whitepaper – and can synchronize any changes directly with the integrated translation tools.


Get rid of manual workflows to reduce overhead costs.


In the second part we'll cover how using translation memory and turning your gaze towards outsourcing can help you free up your translation budget.