Understanding Translation Quotes

Time and time again Translation clients are left baffled by the translation quote process. The fact that there is no formal method for translation quotes means that quotes can be interpreted in many different ways. A client may think he is choosing the cheapest quote while in fact this may be the opposite.

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The following article describes some of the headaches and remedies to confront the quoting process. Normally, someone looking for translation services will shop around and receive at least three quotes. Firstly the needs of the client must be taken into consideration tranaslator.

Is the client is only looking for a single language to be translated with no additional translation services such as software localization, desk top publishing or software localization? In this case it is often recommended to go straight to the translator and avoid the middle man, the translation services company, as they of course take a percentage of the translation which in some cases can be up to 50% of the translation quote. This is justified by the additional value they add to a translation.

Does the client need multiple languages translated? In this case the client may have the in-house resources and knowledge to deal with a multiple translation language project however this is often not the case as a lot of projects tend to be one off or a lot of the multilingual projects require a lot of specific translation expertise and skills which are only available within a translation services company. For instance, the use of translation memories, the availability of a large database of specialized translators, Desktop publishing specialists or software localization engineers. For many companies this expertise and resources would be a sizeable investment and not worth it in the long run so they tend to outsource their translation needs.

On the plus side a lot of translation tasks are very measurable, for instance word counts to measure the cost of translation, page counts to measure the costs of desktop publishing, string counts to measure the costs of software localization. Even though all these tasks within the translation process are very measurable translation quotes can differ to the extent that clients may even wonder if they are looking at the quote for the same project.

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