Sunday, 10 November 2013
For some clients, cost becomes the number-one factor when deciding on a translation service provider. But in most circumstances, this is a sure path to disaster, ultimately costing the client more in the long run, both in money and in time, to restore their reputation and repair the shoddy work.
The translation services we provide range from one-page birth certificates to 150+ page manuals. Our translation work this past month has included two nonfiction books, a sewage system manual, a health/exercise industry website and related marketing materials, and a business contract. Each of these projects was unique, and many different factors were taken into consideration in their pricing.
When requesting a quote from a translation service, always ask, “What does that price include?” Here are some factors to consider, using a simple birth certificate translation as an example. We receive many requests daily from clients immigrating to Australia or enrolling in Australian universities. Both the government and the universities always require certified translations. When we provide a quote on a birth certificate translation, the price we quote is the actual price, with no additional charges added—simple. We include GST, proofreading, and postage, and we provide stamped certification.
All too often, our competitors fail to include these charges in their quotes, but will add them on later as “extras.” Similar to travel industry practices, extras (such as postage and GST) may not be included in the initial quote. After adding in all these extras, you may find that certain translation services are like that flight on the discounted airline to the Gold Coast—not so cost effective, after all!
Apples to Apples Comparison
It is important to understand the basis of the price you are quoted. Get clarification on any unfamiliar terms, such as “character count,” “word count,” or “cost per page.” Avoid being confused or intimidated, and be sure to ask for the final, total price. Does your quote include proofreading or postage or GST? How will the document be presented—by mail, a scan, or in a graphics program? We find word count to be the most consistent and transparent basis for quotes. So, for example, if your document contains 10,000 words, we will provide a cost based on that word count. Having a precise basis for comparison will help you to better understand pricing.
Is Your Translator Committed to Quality?
Many translators and agencies provide low-cost translation services, with some quoting insanely low rates. But when something looks too good to be true, it usually is. Such low rates suggest there is cost-cutting occurring elsewhere, often in the quality department. To keep costs low, either much less time will be spent on the translation, or proofreading will be omitted completely, or both. In addition, there often may be no guarantee of the quality of the work.
We are committed to (you could even say obsessed with) consistently producing high-quality translations. We know how important a quality product is to our clients. We are competitive in our pricing, but likely will not be the lowest price on the block. We do not want to be, either, because we know that cutting costs almost always cuts down on quality as well. Low costs often cut out the extra set of eyes that are so crucial for double-checking, or prohibit the extra time and care taken with the initial translation.
If a translation service provider is offering unbelievably low rates, it is likely that they are piling on more projects (higher volume) in order to compensate. As a result, these agencies will be obligated to really churn out the translation work. That means that the extra time needed to contemplate and select the best word possible, or to complete word reference checks, or to review with colleagues just won’t happen. Poorly translated documents will inevitably come back to bite!
We opt to take a slower approach. We believe in checking and double-checking, and in completing projects correctly the first time. We want our clients to return to us time and time again for additional work. And they do! Repeat business is at the forefront of everyone’s mind here at Translationz.
We are a much different company today than we were over seven years ago. We have grown and evolved since those early years, and have learned from every project. We are now experienced at identifying potential pitfalls when analysing and managing translation projects. We can manage large-scale projects with ease, and we have systems in place to head off any potential problems.
We love this quote. We admit to making a few mistakes in the past, but instead of repeating those mistakes, we have learned from them!
We strongly recommend background checks on translation service providers. Check out how long they have been in business; the length of time a translation service provider has been active in the industry can be a good indicator of whether a company has been consistently providing quality work and treating staff and clients with integrity. Review their social media pages, such as Facebook pages and blogs, and search on Google for reviews from individuals who have done business with the company as well as from clients and staff.
Finally, be extremely cautious when considering hiring a service provider based primarily on cost—you might get exactly what you pay for. While cost is a consideration, when deciding with whom to entrust your important translation project, the highest priorities should always be quality and experience.
Karen Hodgson, CEO of Translationz
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