Want cheaper translations? Here’s how to get ’em (it’s not what you think).

Cheaper translations? A possibility… if you know how to get them!

Anyone purchasing translation services can see that the work of serious agencies doesn’t come cheap. But that doesn’t mean that translations need to cost an arm and a leg! Cheaper translations are possible if you know how to get them.

Here’s how you can save money and get impeccable translation services. Take it from us–we’re experts. As a translation agency with 15 years of collective experience, we know all the industry tips and tricks to help clients save money without sacrificing on quality.

Want cheaper translations? Here is how to get them without sacrificing on quality.

Does it really need to be translated?

Did you know that rather than blindly translating every bit of text you have, you can pick and choose the most relevant content to translate? Work with your client (or sales department) to sift out the important text. You can generally axe the padding like lists of in-house departments and country-specific information not relevant to your target audience.

Key Takeaway: translate only relevant sections of existing documents or produce shorter original texts for your foreign audience.

We helped a client in Italy trim a 337 page manual to 124 pages with the help of an expert translator who flagged content not relevant to foreign clients before ever starting the job.

A picture is worth a thousand words

One smart way to save on translations is to take the burden off words! A judicious use of pictograms, maps, and diagrams can be far more effective with an international audience (not to mention easy on your wallet).

Key Takeaway: let your pictures do the talking. Only use words when you have to.

→ Each year, London’s Heathrow Airport moves over 65 million travelers from around the world through its terminals using intelligently-designed pictograms.

→ Swedish furniture giant Ikea has over 300 stores in more than 35 countries representing 25 different languages. It uses largely word-free diagrams to guide customers through assembly. Eighty percent of its instructions are pictures only, with the remaining 20% saved for text communicating safety information.

Know your audience from the start

Savvy translation clients avoid culture-bound clichés in their original texts. References to your national parks, cities, and other locales will probably fall flat. Ditto with specific cultural or literary metaphors. Tread carefully when talking about topics viewed differently in other cultures.

Key Takeaway: for written materials, broader is better. Keep some local flavor if you like, but check to make sure international adaptation is possible. And don’t forget country codes for telephone and fax numbers!

→ Former Dutch prime minister Joop den Uyl once remarked that “the Dutch are a nation of undertakers” when what he really meant was that they are entrepreneurial! 

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