The EU report on the translation industry underlines the problems caused by the link between price and quality.in the translation business.

Its 426 pages cover lots of technical issues relevant only for the translation service providers, but paragraphs 4.3.1.4 and 4.3.1.5 underline the potentially deadly cost of skimping on translations.

This is a direct result of the specificities of the translation market. There are virtually no entry barriers to the translation business other than the ability to market oneself. This results in an ever-increasing quantity of individuals and agencies cluttering the market. The number of qualified linguists, however, is remaining quite stable, as outstanding translators, discouraged by the dwindling rates are moving to more rewarding professions as fast as new qualified translators are entering the market.

The ever-increasing number of suppliers implies that qualified linguists are facing unfair competition in terms of rates, as they have to compete with unqualified translators ready to work for peanuts. Unfortunately for them, end clients, spoiled by the ubiquity of free on-line translations, tend to assume that they should not pay too much for a mere upgrade of a free service. They seem to forget that, when you pay peanuts, you get monkeys…

These cheap translators are providing a service of a quality only marginally better than that provided by on-line translation program, which you can get for free. Sometimes, they actually simply use these on-line free programs and charge you for it, without performing even the slightest editing.

The EU report on the translation industry blames failure of companies to successfully expand on foreign markets to the savings performed on translating the relevant material and specifies that these failures are unfairly blamed on the local management services. In other words, they imply that local management, in order to succeed with the translated material they are provided with, are in fact require to rely on monkey’s work to get results.

 There are ways to intelligently save on translations though. Between choosing the lowest bidder among free-lancers and paying prohibitive rates to a major translation provider, there is another option.

Let’s imagine that you need to translate your material into Hebrew for example, assuming you do not know that language nor even it’s alphabet. As a responsible manager, you do want a perfect translation and know that you cannot verify it yourself. The safest bet is to choose an ISO certified translation company with branches in multiple countries. It also happens to be by far the most expensive one, as they charge you not only for the translation and editing, but for their in-house Project Managers and they are making a hefty benefit on their own service providers. In many cases, they outsource the translations and/or editing to local translation companies and simply pass on to you the work performed by the local translation company without modifying it at all. As a result, you, the end client, in addition to paying the translator and the editor, are charged both for the local company Project Manager and profit and then for the major company Project Manager and profit. Since the major company’s work in that case is hardly more than simply passing on the source material to the local translation company and then passing you the resulting edited translation, the 30-50% profit they are cashing in is not at all justified.

As an end client, you might save this 30 to 50 % of the translation cost by cutting of the middleman and going straight to the local translation company.

To do so, the best way to ensure that the local company is providing a good service is to give them a small translation project, say a page or two, and then verify its quality.

Now that you have successfully done so, you have gained a reliable supplier at a reasonable cost and can provide your local management team with decent material to work with. It’s definitely best to leave the monkeys in the wild and work with professionals!

 

 

 

 

We offer translation services for Hebrew in combination with most European languages. All translations are performed by professional linguists working in their mother tongue and in their field of specialization. All translations are reviewed and edited by linguists other than the translators. We cater for translation projects of all size and are able to provide notarization for certain translations. Milatova is affiliated with ATA, ATC, EUATC, the Israeli Export Institute, the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce and the Israel-France Chamber of Commerce and is recognized by the French Consulate in Tel Aviv.

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