What’s in the Cost of a Website Translation?

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So you’ve realized that the next big step needed to take your business to the next level is translating your website. You’ve asked several translation agencies to give you an estimate of how much it will cost, but the proposals are all so different! You must be wondering where all the money is going with the most expensive ones and you are probably afraid of finding out what the end product will look like with the cheapests.

You are a realistic person, you know you have a nuanced project on your hands, but it’s also important to know what the localization process looks like! That way you’ll be able to budget properly and know which agencies are offering the service you need.

A translation agency doing high quality work will only assign the project to translators based in the target country or a country where the target language is mainly spoken. This is not the case for agencies that offer lower rates, their translators live elsewhere, lack experience and familiarity with the language, which explains why their translations may sound unnatural.

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Since the translator must live in the target country, the translation cost will be affected by the cost of living there. So calculations are made, a translator can translate around 2,000 words per day (if they overwork, the quality of their translations will be at risk), and if they work 20 days a month, that’s 40,000 words a month. So translating this amount of words per month should allow them to live comfortably. If the translator is based in Europe, this means about 10 cents per word, depending on the country. And now we have to add the review and project management costs, so the final price per word would be about 20 cents. Very reasonable!

However there are some agencies offering half that price. And they are able to do that because they are cutting costs, for example:

  • The translator is not a native speaker nor a resident of the target country.
  • The person assigned to do the translation does not have a degree in translation.
  • No one is proofreading the translation.
  • A nightmare: all of the above.

And there are many other steps as important as translation. A lot of money can go into the creation of the source material, and if the customers are to receive an accurate adaptation, one shouldn’t cut corners when it comes to investing in localization, it’s risky and the mistakes are costly to fix. Let’s take a look at all the steps the process entails:

  1. Source website study: A very important step that will save you money by showing you where errors can show up. It consists of an analysis of the website and the context for the translation, a fake translation may be used to test features.
  2. Glossary and style guide creation: Glossaries hold the preferred translations and definitions of the most widely used terms in your website. Style guides hold instructions regarding the appropriate addressing of product names, text formatting and writing style. You can keep the glossary and the style guide and reuse them for other projects! It’s very useful for guaranteeing consistent and correct translations. It’s essential that your company reviews them and gives its approval before the translator can start working.
  3. Translation: A translation is done by a professional translator with certifications located in the target country. This step may be also called adaptation.
  4. Proofreading: The translation is reviewed by a second pair of eyes. This step may be also called editing.
  5. QA: It stands for Quality Assurance, this step similar to proofreading, but it’s done in context. The translation now looks like a finished version of the website (or software). The text is checked in context and all problems and bugs related to text length, formatting, embedded content are fixed.
  6. Second QA: To check if no bugs or problems were accidentally overlooked the first time.
  7. Client review: The company notifies of any bugs (in case they find them) and they are promptly fixed. Once the results are satisfactory, the company approves the translation.
  8. Website launch: The work is done and the client now has their localized website.

It is highly recommended that the translation agency is regularly contacted afterwards in order to keep the website updated when new content is released or when a design change is going to be implemented. Before choosing a localization agency ask them what their process looks like and check with this list. You should also ask what will the cost be for website updates. You will need to develop a work relationship with the company you choose since the project will not have a final version and will need updates. 

You need a translation partner that will not only take care of the translation but that you can also count on for future updates once the website is up and running. At ConveyThis we can take care of your website translation, we guarantee high-quality and thorough work done with translation management systems and techniques that will reduce the cost of the service and will keep the website updated so all language versions look the same and your customers don’t miss out on anything. 



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