Growing your business abroad means that you need to attract a completely new group of customers, who often don’t speak your language. While it is possible to progress thanks to a great marketing campaign in English, the best approach to the new market is to translate and localize your business. Translation entails costs and therefore you need to consider what to translate and how to translate it.
Below, you will find a basic review of translation costs and ideas on how to manage them. You can also use the list of items to draw up a strategy and set your translation priorities, thus manage your translation costs more efficiently.
What Needs to be Translated?
When you consider a foreign country for your product or service expansion, you need to be prepared to offer everything in the target language of the selected market. Your communication with customers, providers, partners, vendors, etc. needs to be in a language that they are fluent in so to avoid any misunderstandings. It is very important to choose a reliable translation and localization partner, who would be with you through the entire process. In addition to building trust, you will also save on costs, since the translation company will start a translation memory (TM) for your company and it will be easier and quicker to update older documents or to add more languages.
In terms of translation the main things you need to include are:
- Website translation – it is one of the most important projects if expanding abroad;
- Document translation – here you shall include contracts with employees and partners, product or service descriptions, manuals, guides, etc.;
- Internal policies – make sure that all your new employees or partners are familiar with the internal policy of your company and brand;
- Corporate training – if you want your employees abroad to provide the same high level of service, make sure to train them properly in their own language with the relevant examples;
- Advertising materials – marketing is very important so make sure to do it the right way. If you have brochure or advertising videos make sure that they are also properly translated and localized.
These are the main groups of materials that need to be translated. It is up to you to decide, which ones are the most important and how to proceed with their translations. You may need to start with a few documents first and narrow down your marketing campaigns just to test the new market before you embark on a larger translation project.
Always look into the long-term goals and benefits from translation of elements such as websites, company trainings or product manuals. Keep in mind that in this business, higher initial costs equal higher quality of service. Take into account some intangible assets from a long-term relationship with the same service provider as well. A company that you can trust to back you with professional support while you grow is a priceless bonus.
How is Translation Priced?
Another very important question that you need answered is how the price of a translation is determined. Quotes can be based on the number of words, symbols, or pages, and in most of the cases the pricing is not that simple.
It depends on the complexity of the text and how much research will be needed in order to complete it. There is no comparison between a simple document welcoming a new employee and a legal contract concluded between partners that reflects the local legislation. In general, specialized translations are more expensive than ordinary ones and are usually provided by translators who have significant experience and education in the given field.
Sometimes, freelance translators also give a price that is calculated based on the time they have spent translating the document.
Price can also depend on the volume of the work or on the frequency of the services. Often, repeat customers get discounted prices and an overall better service in terms of deadlines, etc.
Another way to determine price is depending on how urgently you need the text translated. The sooner you need it, the more you should be prepared to pay.
As a whole, pricing translation is not that easy, so do not be surprised if a service provider takes some time before coming out with an offer for the job that they will do. Take into account some other factors as well, when you think of the price like reliability of the language provider, experience in your particular industry, presence of contact person, good feedback by customers, professional attitude, etc. Quite often these important assets come with a higher price.
Can you Manage with In-House Translation?
Another option to manage translation costs is to opt for in-house translation. This option is more suitable for medium to large corporations, which have offices abroad but if properly implemented it can turn out to be a good solution for smaller businesses as well.
Before you choose this option, however, it is advisable to consider all the obvious and hidden costs the move will entail. Basically, there is a right way to manage in-house translation and a wrong way and here is the difference:
- The wrong approach to in-house translation
You have offices in several locations with native speakers working in them and you decide to use the staff you already have to do the translations. This can backfire. The fact that someone speaks a language doesn’t mean that they can translate from or into it or that they can write well. Also, these people are professionals in their own field and not in the sphere of translation and localization. This also will mean more work for them to do. As this is not their primary job, most of them will do their main tasks first and leave the translation for whenever there is some free time. This will lead to delays in the process on top of the low quality of translation.
- The right approach to in-house translation
The right approach to in-house translation is to hire a qualified translator and other related professionals to work for you. You need to establish a specific translations department in your company that can manage the entire process. In addition to the translators, you will need QA experts, proofreaders, desktop publishers, a translation manager, and the respective translation tools and software. Do consider these initial costs as well as the salaries and all other benefits and bonuses you need to pay prior to taking this step.
Why Website Translation Matters?
The website is your brand representation in the online environment and therefore if you want to enter a new foreign market, you need to present yourself in an appropriate way. If you deliver your marketing messages in the mother tongue of your clients, it will be much easier to win them over. Therefore, you need to make sure that your website translation is a success.
In order to achieve that, you need to make sure that you have accounted for the necessary costs. The translation of each site is different, so do not assume that if you have two sites dedicated to two different branches of your company their translation will cost the same. It all depends on the approach you will adopt to the site and whether you will choose to use predominantly machine translation or human translation.
Regardless of the differences, there are five factors that you should take into account, when planning a website translation. These are:
- Infrastructure – this includes issues and costs related to domains, hosting and the like. If you choose to develop a separate site for each language or country you are growing into, take into account the additional costs for buying the domain and supporting it. On the other hand, if you choose to use subdomains to cover the different languages for your site, you may need to change your hosting provider in order to get more memory or database space;
- Maintenance – in order for your site to be successful, you do not want it to be static. Therefore, the maintenance costs will continue in time, so make sure to budget them. You might need to translate just new content, or maybe new development or engineering will be necessary;
- Technology – you need specific translation technology in terms of platforms and tools, that can support your new website or sites. This is a one-off cost that quickly pays for itself in time, since it will allow you to easily manage the entire process, add new languages and much more;
- Staff – you will need people dedicated to the website support in terms of translation. This means employees, who are in charge of determining what is to be translated and in which language, to communicate with the translation provider, etc. In other words, you need to add more salaries to the budget you are planning;
- The translation process itself – last but not least is the cost for the translation itself. Take into account that this is a continuous process and even though you might have negotiated a price in advance, some additional costs may appear. Make sure to opt for the best website translation services on the market. They might be a bit more expensive but you will receive high quality and a consistent job throughout the process of your cooperation.
Once you are aware of these costs and you have chosen the best approach to your website translation, all that is left is to give the professionals the necessary time so that they can complete their work in the best possible way.
In conclusion, it can be pointed out that the process of translation can be cost more if provided by experienced professionals who are experts in the specific field of your company services or products. But, will actually save time, money, and headaches over time. Do spend some time to select the best service provider and do not rely solely on the price for that. Consider in-house translation as well, if it gives you a better management of the costs. Do not forget, however, that immaculate translation of your company website and various documentation will pave your wave to a successful entry in a new market.